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SPILL: Which fictional character would you like to represent?

  • November 30, 2023
  • OBA Section Executives

The Office: An embarrassment of riches

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’d love to provide some legal advice to ‘corporate’ at … The Office! Aside from the obvious reasons, it’s a good reminder for in-house counsel (and external counsel!) to stay tapped into the businesses you represent and support, and to understand the unique needs of each corporate client!” – Barbara De Dios, CCCA – Ontario Chapter newsletter editor

“Dunder Mifflin Paper Company: Over the years, Dunder Mifflin has seen a discrimination claim (Oscar), potential constructive dismissal claim (Oscar), a car accident involving an employee pedestrian and management on company property using a company vehicle and resulting in serious injuries (Meredith and Michael Scott), product liability issues involving a combustible printer (that could have led to a class action), and an acquisition by Sabre then sold to Danny California. The point is, there’s lots of work to do here, and there’s potentially lots to be made by way of legal fees.” – Nancy Sarmento Barkhordari, YLD Central Section CPD liaison

The Truman Show: A better life beyond the fourth wall

“I would offer legal advice to Truman Burbank from The Truman Show. He is going to need representation on compensation for his life story, copyright, employment issues, the trauma of realizing that his entire life was broadcast – he is going to need a lot of help on many legal fronts!  And when he realizes that with this money, he can then decide how to make the world a better place, I will feel as if I have helped someone find their true self, which is what he has been ultimately searching for!” - Sudevi Mukherjee-Gothi, Insurance Law Section newsletter editor

Police Procedurals: A chorus of “Stop talking!”

“I’d give legal advice to the suspects in police procedurals who are brought into the police station for questioning and immediately start talking to the police without speaking to a lawyer. Inevitably whenever there’s a suspect who refrains from answering questions until speaking with a lawyer, the background music swells to cue the audience that this must be an individual with something to hide.” - Caroline Bedard, YLD East Section newsletter editor

“In Ontario, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is a civilian law enforcement agency, which is responsible for conducting independent criminal investigations into certain police interactions where death, serious injury, discharge of a firearm at a person, or allegations of sexual assault have occurred. Over the years, I have watched several television series set in Ontario featuring local police officials, e.g., Rookie Blue, Pretty Hard Cases. Typically, whenever a citizen is seriously injured, killed, or shot at by one of the main characters, there are dramatic scenes where they are compelled to submit to interviews with SIU investigators. As my children will attest, I usually attempt unsuccessfully to advise them that in Ontario an officer considered by the SIU to be the cause of an incident has no duty to comply with an interview request. In fact, once they become the focus of an investigation, they have the same rights as any citizen under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protect themselves from self-incrimination. It is their choice whether to cooperate in these situations. Alas, I have never been able to get through to the distraught fictional officers, and my kids always accuse me of ruining the tension of the plotline.” - Laura Pettigrew, Child and Youth Law Section newsletter editor

The Simpsons: Dollars to donuts, Homer will be calling

“Homer Simpson, because (1) I really like Doughnuts, (2) I would essentially have a client with 24/7 need for legal representation, and (3) he would then pay me exclusively in doughnuts. Win-win-win.” - Ian Amirthanathan, Trusts and Estates Law Section newsletter editor

The Shining: A novel negligence claim

“Wendy and Danny Torrance from The Shining. To jog your memory, Wendy is the spouse of Jack, hired to man the Overlook Hotel during the winter months.  Danny is their child. Then unbeknownst to Wendy, Jack and Danny, the hotel is haunted.  I would like to represent Wendy and Danny in a civil claim for negligence against the management of the Overlook Hotel, who appeared to have known that the hotel – situated on burial grounds – may have been haunted, and that there was a history of violent murders by the caretaker in the winter months. I think that this would be a novel but very interesting negligence claim.” - Nancy Sarmento Barkhordari, YLD Central Section CPD liaison

My Cousin Vinnie: The lawyer as scrappy underdog

Turning the tables, Lisa Laredo, Sole, Small Firm and General Practice Section newsletter editor, reminds us that, like the perfect client, perfect counsel does not exist. Often, it’s just perfect synergy that wins the day – a lesson, she took from, My Cousin Vinnie: “Sometimes it makes sense to take a chance on the underdog! They try harder.”