Legal Humour Blog


February 2014

Law Firm Down

Feb 9, 2014 12:26 PM
Marcel Strigberger

The big legal news this week is the disintegration of mega law firm, Heenan Blaikie.  Dozens of their partners jumped ship and now the good ship has sunk.

This should make us smaller firms feel somewhat grateful for our lot.  I did a check on my firm’s status and found out that not a single partner has bolted.  This week I have as many partners as I had last week.  Nor have any of them threatened to leave if I do not give them a raise.

I also did a comparison check between Heenan Blaikie and Marcel Strigberger- Lawyer/Avocat to see how we matched up.  We have a fair bit in common:



            Heenan Blaikie                                                          Marcel Strigberger


            In business 40 years                                                      In business 40 years (come March)


            Had offices in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal                I grew up in Montreal


            Extended business overseas, opening                         I once had a delicious chocolate

            branch in Paris in 2011                                                croissant at a café on the Left



            Alumni partners included former Quebec                      Alumni partners include

            Premier Pierre-Marc Johnson and former                      Marcel Strigberger

            Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau and                            - I once voted for Pierre Trudeau.

            Jean Chrétien

I do feel for my colleagues and wish them all the best in the future. Times are tough for law firms. This has been a learning experience. For now I am holding off opening my new offices in London, New York and Sydney. You just never know.

I would add that as a gesture of good faith, I am prepared to take in any Heenan Blaikie lawyer refugees.  I am standing by my phone and watching my email. Please contact the office manager, Marcel Strigberger.  So far no one from Heenan Blaikie has approached me seeking a job.


Please also visit my practice site  www.striglaw.com for more info about my personal injury/insurance and family law practice. You never know whom you might meet in the waiting area.



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Bovines and Bieber

Feb 2, 2014 6:21 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    In Rasdorf, Germany, there was an explosion in a barn. The explosion resulted from methane gas released by 90 flatulent cows. A couple of the cows were injured. I understand the insurance company will be denying liability on the following basis.

    Firstly this was not an accident.  The cows deliberately created the gas.

    Secondly the insurer is alleging arson, saying the explosion was intentionally started by the farmer’s bull Dieter, who was jilted by one of the cows and who was seen that evening at a nearby convenience store purchasing a cigarette lighter.

    Thirdly the insurer is denying coverage to the cows for their injuries claiming they should be applying for Workers’ Compensation benefits. The insurance company insists they were employed by the farmer who was a Schedule 1 employer, and therefore any action against their boss is statute barred.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Meanwhile, Justin Bieber is getting into the legal news these days, in spades. Police recently investigated an incident wherein he allegedly threw eggs at neighbour’s house in California.  Authorities in Florida have charged him with driving under the influence and he just this past week attended court in Toronto to face assault charges. As well customs officials in New Jersey detained his private jet for hours looking for illegal drugs. Finally there is a petition circulating in the U.S. to have him deported back to his native Canada.

    Given the status of the celebrity as well as the volume of legal business he is generating, it only makes sense that the gentleman should have his own special court. I propose that all of Justin Bieber’s legal matters be handled by the International Court in the Hague.

    This is a win win situation for justice.  Bieber would not have to travel all over the place to umpteen courts, risking missing some attendances due to overload.  The Court in the Hague on the other hand would for a change have some exciting cases in front of it. I think Justin Bieber matters are a lot more interesting than a squabble between say Canada and Denmark over who has fishing rights within 12 kilometers of Hans Island.

    And during a trial  recess, Justin B can entertain the judges, singing a few favourites.  

    And if Justin Bieber goes to the Hague, how far behind can Toronto Mayor Rob Ford be?

   Please visit www.striglaw.com for more info about my persoanl injury and family law practice.  My client include a variety of characters, other than rock stars, mayors or cows.


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January 2014

$83,000.00-No Small Bananas

Jan 26, 2014 10:43 AM
Marcel Strigberger

Darwin, the IKEA monkey case is back in the news again.  Over a year ago Darwin, the pet monkey of Toronto lawyer Yasmin Nakhuda, was apprehended by authorities after she left him in her car at an IKEA parking lot and he exited the vehicle and wandered into the store. She lost her legal battle to get him back from the animal sanctuary where he appears to be living happily ever after.

     To boot the trial judge just ordered her to pay the sanctuary its legal costs in the whopping amount of $83,000.  This of course is in addition to what she has had to pay her own lawyer, which likely matches or exceeds this amount. That's no small bananas.

    My question is, was it worth it?  What can you get for about $165,000.00?

    I would never make it as a contestant on The Price is Right and so I Googled a bit.  I am not far off on these estimates:

    1.  $165,000.00 will get you three fully loaded Lexus ES 350s;

    2.  Or you can purchase a two story house in North Bay.  You can also opt for a one bedroom co-op in Burnaby, British Columbia.. Forget Toronto;   $83,000.00 will buy you only a tool shed.. Some folks though would call this a starter home.

    3  You can almost cover Mayor Rob Ford's annual salary of $172,803.  Then again, I know, who would want to do that? You can also cover the annual salary of the mayor of Montreal at $156,128, (whoever the mayor of the day is). And you can use the $9000.00 change to buy some good furniture at IKEA. If you do that, make sure you do not forget your pet monkey in the car.

    I don't know what the mayor of North Bay gets paid.

    What can't you do for $165,000.00? You cannot get Darwin the monkey back.

    I understand the trial decision is under appeal.  Maybe before this is all over, the dollar figure for legal costs will equal the cost of a decent house one can buy in Toronto.  

    When I do not spend time writing about monkeys, Montreal and mayors, I practice personal injury and family law.  Please also visit my website www.striglaw.com .


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Tops and Topless

Jan 19, 2014 7:03 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    Halifax is about to ban doorknobs saying they may be harmful to some people with disabilities.  Halifax is following the lead of Vancouver where a similar ban goes into effect in March.  I also hear that the province of Quebec will be banning doorknobs.  As of May 1, it will be illegal for anyone to wear a doorknob on their head..

    Speaking of wearing, one Allen Henson took cell phone photographs of a model who removed her top on the 86th floor observatory of the Empire State Building. The photos went viral. This did not sit too well with management of the building who are suing Henson for one million dollars. They allege that the observatory was full of tourists including children and that the photographs "damaged the landmark's reputation as a safe and secure family friendly tourist attraction.

    Before passing judgment on this one, I did my due diligence; I Googled the incident.  In my humble opinion, I  see no damage to the landmark's reputation. I'll certainly would visit the place again. What I saw on the Empire State Building beats watching King Kong.      

Please visit my website, www.striglaw.com. Our offices still have doorknobs.

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The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But...?

Jan 12, 2014 11:51 AM
Marcel Strigberger

            I recently promised to take my grandson Nathan to a hockey game.  Unfortunately something came up and I had to cancel. Nathan was very understanding.  He exclaimed, "Liar, liar, pants on fire."

            Nathan's comment got me thinking about the concept of honesty.  Perhaps adults should be as explicit as children when they feel that someone is not telling the truth. It would be refreshing for example for a judge to comment in his reasons, "I totally reject the accused's evidence. Liar, liar, pants on fire."

            It would certainly get the accused to look at his pants.

            People do not like to be told that they are liars. Hardly a Wild West movie goes by without that saloon poker scene where some Johnny Ringo pulls four aces. This does not sit well with The Colorado Kid, who happens to be holding an ace and when the Kid simply clears his throat, Ringo says, "You callin' me a liar?"  If the Kid then even blinks he'll be out on the street pronto just a quick draw away from a trip to Boot Hill.

            It is not surprising that people are uncomfortable with the concept of dishonesty and we accordingly use a myriad of expressions to fervently convince others that we are honest.

            One such expression is, "I swear on a stack of bibles".

            Swearing on one bible is a very solemn occasion.  If you don't tell the truth after swearing on even a single bible, then you are destined to be banished to a hotter climate in the netherworld.  But where can you possibly go if you lie after swearing on a stack of bibles?  Buffalo?         

            Then there is the guy who swears, "up and down".  When I hear this witness affirming his honesty, I imagine him in front of a judge and jury taking a bible into his hands and uttering the oath while doing five deep knee bends.  Now who can disbelieve this individual?

            Then we have the philosopher.  When challenged, he'll say, "Why would I lie?"  Former president Bill Clinton in fact once asked, "Why would I ask other people to lie?"  

            Now wasn't that comment convincing!     

            Let's not forget the people who are so convinced of their honesty that they invite disaster to be visited upon themselves if they're lying.  They say, "Cross my heart and hope to die."             

            Some are more specific: "May I be struck by a bolt of lightening."

            I believe that these latter people must be taken seriously as to date I have yet to be in a courtroom and see a bolt of lightening head straight for the witness box.

            These people are bolder than the chickens that direct the consequences of their dishonesty to others.  I am talking about the witness who says, "I swear on my children".

            Others are really bold and weird with someone else's children.  They say, "It's true or I'll be a monkey's uncle."

            Then we have the sports minded people: "I'm as straight as an arrow."

            This one sometimes makes me uneasy.   If arrows were as straight as some of these clowns, then if I were William Tell's son, there's no way I would stand there with that apple on my head.

            Speaking of little boys let us not forget the son of all little liars, Pinocchio.  I'd say the invention of the century would be a fairy that could stand near a party and ensure that his nose grows whenever he lies.  It would certainly speed up court trials.  It might even put many lawyers out of a job.  But that's OK.  I mean it. Scout's honour.

             Please also visit my law practice website  www.striglaw.com .  I cannot tell a lie.  The info, including the testimonials, is all 4 aces. 



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The Midwest Book Review has referred to Marcel Strigberger as "an irrepressible humorist with a story teller’s flair for spinning a yarn with true (and hysterically funny) insights into the basics of human nature".

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