Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Small World of the Ghomeshi Legal Saga

With the first Ghomeshi trial wrapping up today, I got to thinking what a small world the legal profession can be. Though I'm not involved in any way with the cases against Ghomeshi, at one time or another I've crossed paths with almost every lawyer involved.

I graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1989. My graduating class included Marie Henein, Ghomeshi's criminal defence lawyer, and Janice Rubin, the lawyer hired by the CBC to investigate Ghomeshi's behaviour while at the CBC, and the CBC's response to it. As Marie, Janet and I were preparing for our final exams & looking forward to graduation, across campus Jean Ghomeshi (he went by Jean back then) was gearing up his campaign to become President of the York University student government, the CYFS. He won, and served as President the year after we graduated.

My graduating class

Marie & I both had much longer hair back then
Hired by the CBC to investigate the Ghomeshi sexual harassment & abuse allegations
In the late 1990's, I joined the litigation department at a large Toronto law firm. Most days I would go out to lunch with a number of my partners there, including Neil Rabinovitch. Long after Neil & I had gone off to separate firms, Neil represented Ghomeshi during his dealings with the CBC. Neil also launched Ghomeshi's short-lived $55 million lawsuit against the CBC. That lawsuit never went anywhere, and was dropped with Ghomeshi agreeing to pay $18,000 in legal costs to the CBC.

Around 2003, I joined a smaller litigation firm. We hired a bright young lawyer, Peter Henein (Marie's younger brother). Peter had gone to law school after a brief stint as a stand up comedian. Peter is now a partner at Cassels Brock in Toronto. Peter is sometimes assisted by an associate at the firm, Christopher Horkins, the son of Justice William Horkins, who is presiding over the Ghomeshi trial.

I've since retired from practice. But even sitting here at home, I can usually connect to the legal news in Canada with much less than 6 degrees of separation. Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world by land mass, but in certain professions, like law, it can really seem to be a small town.