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Episode 0 – What is Viva Voce?


What is Viva Voce? It's a talk show about lawyers. Daniel explains why he started it and what he's learned from it so far. His producer, Robert Hiltz, asks the questions and takes the host seat.

Full Episode Transcript

Robert: Hi there, welcome to Viva Voce. I am not Daniel Goldwater. I am his producer, Robert Hiltz, but I am greeted today by Mr. Goldwater. Hi, Daniel.

Daniel: Hi, Robert.

Robert: How's it going?

Daniel I'm feeling really good.

Robert: Excellent. So what are we doing here? What is Viva Voce? What does that even mean?

Daniel: Viva Voce is Latin for "live voice". It's an expression we often use in the practice to distinguish different forms of communication, so it's a little bit of a mating call to my lawyer brothers and sisters.

Robert: All right, and live voice, I guess it's, you wanna have real conversations? This is sort of an authentic kind of call?

"Viva Voce is a mating call to all my lawyer brothers and sisters."


Daniel: I hope so, that is the intention. I think that, as lawyers and as people today, not to sound like an old person decrying the spirit of the times, but so much of what we do is behind a screen. We're typing, we're sending an email, we're sending a tweet, we're faxing sometimes as lawyers even, and I wanted to demonstrate the importance of conversation.

Robert: So we have a lot of conversations on this show. We've talked to a lot of people so far. What are some things you've learned talking to other lawyers?

Daniel: Well, one thing that I've really appreciated is getting to know them in a very specific context here, which is not in the courtroom, it's not where we're representing different interests, it's not at some professional training event. It's just sitting down, in a soft chair, looking at them in the eyes and asking about their story. I'm a sensitive guy. I like storytelling. I like where people come from, and I find it humanizes my colleagues.

Robert: When we talk about the show, about what we want to do with it, and what you want to do with it, you talk a lot about community, and building community, and sort of showing the community off. What sort of community do you want to show people that is within the legal community?

Daniel: Well, I've always been hurt by lawyer jokes and the perception that lawyers are dishonest, they're money-seeking, they're careerists, they're manipulative. And, look, are there some people like that that exist in our community? Yes, like any community. And I wanted to show that we're all doing this because we made this choice to do it, we serve our clients, we deal with questions that are often very compelling and that people, I would hope, would want to listen to and see the person behind it.

Robert: What do you think the viewers and the listeners will take away from all this? What should they get out of listening to the Montreal legal community?

Daniel: Well, some things that make us particular here in our legal community in Montreal and Quebec that I'm proud of, and this is not to slag on other places, like, ahem, Toronto or Ontario... they also, of course, have their own community that I'm not really a part of. We are intercultural here, that we are by bi-juridical, we are bilingual. We're also multicultural here in Montreal, just there's a lot of representation of different sorts of people. Our political discourse can be sometimes very open, and freewheeling, and playful, and so I hope that that is something that people take away, that we're all not these sort of stodgy, sterile desk jockeys. We have interests and eccentricities. We're people too, goddamnit.

Robert: So you don't just push paper?

Daniel: No, no. Sometimes we call a bailiff to file it in court. No, (laughs) sometimes we actually are writing people's stories, presenting it to learned people, our elders, you might say, the judges who make these decisions. And it's some pretty deep stuff, it's compelling. I want you to be entertained. I want you to be engaged.

Robert: All right, well one last thing. What's up with the logo?

Daniel: Oh yeah, the logo. Well, I don't know if it comes across. The logo is actually a modified fleur-de-lys, the Quebec national symbol, so again, it's to represent for my people. And it's, of course, the two scales of justice that are balanced because there's a duality to what we're doing, one person speaking to another person, and I wanted to make sure that they were even because I am trying to push back against what I sometimes see in our community as status and trying to win and best the other person, and so I want to show harmony.

Robert: All right, well, thanks for your time, Daniel. I think this is gonna be a lot of fun for people.

Daniel: I hope so.

Robert: All right.

"Our discourse can be open, freewheeling, and playful... I hope people take away that we're not all stodgy, sterile desk jockeys. We have interests and eccentricities, and we're people too, goddamnit.."

Daniel Goldwater

Daniel is the host, executive producer and creator of Viva Voce. He is a third-generation practicing lawyer and  the managing partner of Goldwater, Dubé law firm. He practices with his mom, Anne-France Goldwater. He loves her to pieces.