We’re used to seeing lawyers showing off their legal skills in court on TV shows like Suits, but did you know that Ottawa lawyers have a musical side to them as well?
By day, Ottawa resident Albert Chang is corporate counsel for the Canadian Internet Registration Authority. By night, he plays music and organizes gigs as charitable events like Rockable Hours. This fundraiser for the Ottawa Food Bank happens on Friday, October 16 at Babylon, featuring four bands predominantly comprising lawyers and law students, all of whom have secret identities as rock musicians when they aren’t providing legal services. Albert’s employer has already shown support for the charity event with a generous donation, and the event will gladly accept more sponsors.
“They’re fun,” Albert tells me over the phone. “I like doing it. It’s for a good cause.” Albert has organized musical fundraisers for charities in the past, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Ontario, the Eldercare Foundation of Ottawa, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, usually in smaller venues featuring his own band of lawyers and other legal type bands. This year, Albert has envisioned a larger scale event.
This year’s bands include Perley Jam, featuring lawyer musicians from the Ottawa law firm Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall LLP; InteRockular Dysfunction, the Gowlings band that Albert used to play in when he was an associate there; Lex Rock, composed of federal civil servants; and the University of Ottawa law school band Reasonable Persons, made of up law students who clearly paid attention to at least some of their torts class.
We discuss how there are a surprising number of lawyers with musical talent in Canada, including Raymond Murray, who plays in the Ottawa band Souljazz Orchestra and is also a partner at Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP, or Paul Banwatt, drummer for the Rural Alberta Advantage and Woodhands and also COO and General Counsel for Matter and Form Inc. “It’s shocking,” Albert says, commenting on the musical talent of lawyers. “It’ll be interesting to see at this show. They’re really good musicians.”
I ask Albert if there’s a special link between legal skills and musical talent. “I think it’s lawyers and musicians in general. Lawyers are generally type A, high achievers, and a lot of lawyers are musicians. If they’re going to be musicians, they’re going to be hard-core musicians. It’s a lawyer thing.”
Rockable Hours will provide a unique opportunity to mingle with Ottawa’s legal community in a relaxing environment outside of the courtroom, and to see the fun side of lawyers, all while raising money for an important cause. Albert is hopeful for a big turnout.
Rockable Hours happens on Friday, October 16, 2015 at Babylon Nightclub (317 Bank Street). Tickets are $15 online or $20 at the door. All the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Ottawa Food Bank.