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Episode 4 – Jamie Benizri

 

Daniel sits down with Me Jamie Benziri, founder of Legal Logik, a multi-practice firm with a deep online marketing presence. Jamie is clearly telegenic and brimming with energy and charisma, but he and Daniel both bring out vulnerable sides of themselves, in-between jokey banter. Jamie tells his career story, how he learned from his failures and the pressure of being both a lawyer and entrepreneur. Image management, client and community engagement and career realities are key themes here. Daniel and Jamie both give each other some "business therapy".

Full Episode Transcript

Daniel: Hello and welcome to this episode of Viva Voce. I'm your host, Daniel Goldwater. I'm greeted today by my guest, Jamie Benizri, the founder and managing partner of Legal Logik. Hi Jamie.

Jamie: Hey man.

Daniel: How are you doing?

Jamie: I feel great.

Daniel: You always look like you feel great.

Jamie: You know what? I'm having fun. I walk in here ... First of all, the energy in here is amazing and I honestly was ... Not that I didn't think that you could pull it off, but I wasn't expecting the level of professionalism and the amazing staff that I was greeted by. I'm really happy to be here, and I'm really proud of you.

Daniel: Oh well, thanks, pops. I'm proud of me. I wanted to have you on the show, because this show is about lawyers in Montreal and our ecosystem, trying to plead the law, serve their clients, maybe make some money.

Jamie: Try to make some money, yeah.

Daniel: I find that you kind of put yourself out there a lot. I see you all the time on social.

Jamie: Yeah. A lot of people are even surprised that I still practice law. They think I'm like a made-for-TV lawyer or a made-for-social media lawyer, and that I'm just the figurehead of this thing that I've created, but it's really come full-circle. I've invested so much in branding, and marketing, and making sure that I was relevant. I think I was really scared of becoming irrelevant, or becoming obscure, and that people would forget about me, or people would kind of ... I would lose opportunities, that I kind of accelerated, and really 10x'ed all my networking activities and all of my business-

Daniel: But wait, where would that fear come from? I find you so telegenic and outgoing. You come in here and you're charming all my staff...

Jamie: Yeah. Some of them are coming to work for me tomorrow, by the way.

Daniel: Oh, okay. You're poaching. I see.

Jamie: I think it's just, you know, I think it's when I did this, and I think a lot of it stems from, people, when you start your firm, they automatically say, "You know, you shouldn't do it." Or, "It's not the right time. You don't have any clients." I heard that so much when I started my firm that I think that the fear of failure and proving them right scared the shit out of me so much that I just basically tripled down on everything that I was doing. To prove that, you know, I'm a smart guy, I can do this, and I can be the next, you know, the law thing.

Daniel: You know, it's funny. You make me think of me. I'm hard-headed and there's nothing like a player-hater to bring out the monster in me.

Jamie: Yeah. I noticed that about you.

Daniel: Yeah.

Jamie: I think we share that in common. The fact that you're doing this, and you're trying to verbalize law, and trying to get to real stories of law of real lawyers, because I am still a real lawyer. People can go on the Barreau website and actually confirm.

Daniel: You're there.

Jamie: I'm there.

Daniel: Okay.

Jamie: I pay my dues.

Daniel: Good.

Jamie: I think.

Daniel: Well, I'm going to call the Barreau right now.

JamieBenizri_1600x2000

Jamie: I have some training hours to do, but I'm still there. I actually practice more now than I probably ever have, because I still really like law. I was never ... I never really wanted to be a lawyer, it happened by accident.

Daniel: Go into that a bit.

Jamie: Let me tell you about me, a little bit. I was somebody who was never really academic. My mom worked in her father's schmatta business for a while.

Daniel: Wait, schmatta. Yiddish alert. What is schmatta?

Jamie: We should have a little thing on the bottom here. But schmatta is, basically, the needle trade. More specifically, in Montreal.

Daniel: Textiles, clothes, the Chabanel boys.

Jamie: The Chabanel crew. Shout out to my Chabanel homies. She got into banking, eventually, and my dad has always been an entrepreneur. Education was important, but it was never ... You know, my parents were just happy that I kind of wasn't on drugs and I was just kind of a happy kid. It gave me too much flexibility, and too much time, to experiment with different things. You know, I was, from high school, you know, I wanted to get into the sciences, leave my options open. Then, I ended up in McGill, eventually, and I followed my now, wife, who is much smarter than me, and she ended up in physiology McGill, so I did science.

Daniel: Well, yeah. You know, I did some research on you. I have a card here.

Jamie: Yeah, is there anything actually written on the back of that card?

Daniel: There's all your secrets, and your measurements in fact, and there's a photo of you in a compromising position. But, it also says you have a Bachelor of Science in Physiology?

Jamie: I do. I do.

Daniel: And Management?

Jamie: And Management.

Daniel: At McGill University.

Jamie: True story.

Daniel: True story?

Jamie: I did that. I followed my wife to physiology. I didn't know what else to do. Again, leaving my options open. Loved McGill, loved the faculty, but couldn't identify with the research and with the lab setting.

Jamie: From there, I pivoted. I got into law school, just by doing random applications. My mom calls me one day, she's like, "I just opened this letter for you." Because I had given her authorization to open my mail. And she says, "You got into law school at Sherbrooke."

Daniel: That's true.

Jamie: Sherbrooke, your cue card will confirm that. I thought about it and I said, "Sure, I could be a lawyer." Me and my mom went to Sherbrooke, we cleaned a little studio apartment, and I spent three years in Sherbrooke. I think that's really a testament to me and how the course of my life and career is chartered. Because, I was always interested in so many things, that I could have been anything. I think I could have been a florist and I would have been happy. I think I could have been a franchisee and been happy. At this point, I happen to be a lawyer. I think I'm an entrepreneur first. I'm a business guy first. I really think I'm a people person first. I really love being around people.

Daniel: Yeah, we haven't had any files together, but I've interacted with you, and I've gotten a scope of you on the internet. What I see is, you do have a certain electricity. You seem to have a busy mind.

Jamie: Thanks.

Daniel: That could be a bad thing, but-

Jamie: It hasn't served me well, all the time.

Daniel: No, but-

Jamie: So, you're right.

Daniel: And maybe I'm projecting onto you, but sometimes I wonder, even for myself, am I a lawyer first, am I a businessperson first?

Jamie: Yes.

Daniel: My story, just to try to find the intersection here, is that I went into history first. I wanted to be a nerd.

Jamie: I wish I had my cue cards of you, because I researched that, and I can confirm, that is true.

Daniel: Yes, you have your people, they do research.

Jamie: I do, yes.

Daniel: You have minions, yeah?

Jamie: Yeah.

Daniel: Anyways, and I went into history, and I wanted to be a policy wonk. I wanted to be a bow tie wearing professor, maybe work for some government or think tank, of sorts. Then, all of a sudden, I was like the family business. I mean, I think a lot of people know. My mother is something of a lawyer.

Jamie: Oh, that's your mom?

Daniel: My mother.

Jamie: Oh, the Arbitre?

Daniel: The Arbitre is my mom.

Jamie: That's your mom. I didn't make the connection. Okay.

Daniel: No, she gave birth to me, I fell out of her. She's a glorious woman. This is not all about me. The point is, finally, I said, hey family business, and maybe I might have a gift for this. But I went into the academy and I was lost, I was so naive.

Jamie: You couldn't identify with it, right?

Daniel: No, I couldn't. Even though I come from this sort of background, it was not part of my plan. So I want to ask you now, when you were at Sherbrooke, what did you discover about yourself when you were there? What was the-

Jamie: I despised law school. I really did. I wish I had ... I loved Sherbrooke. I loved being there. Actually, I used to train a lot. I was running in the mountains. I mean, I loved being away from Montreal. I think it gave me a great opportunity to discover things about myself, and kind of be alone, have that space alone, to figure out if this is what I wanted to do. I stuck with it, and I grinded it out, and I did common law over two summers, and I couldn't identify with the program.

Daniel: Why not? What's-

Jamie: I just, you know, like, it's not like, you know, constitutional law, and the criminal law, and it's just like it wasn't sticking. I couldn't identify with it.

Daniel: Okay. Even criminal law? That could be fun.

Jamie: There were some fun stores.

Daniel: Right. Academic, sterile ...

Jamie: I was tired. It was my second bachelor's. I'm tired. I'm like, trying to move on. I did. I stuck with it. I came back, did a stage at a small firm, in Laval. I was a prosecutor for the City of Montreal, when they still had private contracts. I was a prosecutor, while I was doing family law, and corporations, contracts, transactions, immigration. I was doing everything. By the time I had a kid, and told my wife, like, "I'm out. I can't do this anymore. I need to do my own thing." I was ready for anything, society could walk into my office, I was ready.

"I find that people have such a hard time finding balance. I have a hard time finding balance, because as you know, there is, you could work 150 hours a week and it'll still will not be enough. You can answer the phone 24 hours a day. You absolutely need to set boundaries. I'm not that good at setting boundaries."

Daniel: Wait, you have a wife and one child?

Jamie: Yeah. I have a wife, I have a beautiful wife, and I have two young kids, eight and five.

Daniel: What, but you ... Okay, I'm a little confused. I know, this...

Jamie: Yeah. I'm the Lord of the Rings. I've got my ring on.

Daniel: Yeah. No, I got nothing. I found this pinky ring, outside the Palais de justice. I swear to God. I thought it might be special.

Jamie: It's cute. I love it.

Daniel: But wait, so how old are you?

Jamie: I'm 36.

Daniel: You're 36?

Jamie: Yeah, I'm 36.

Daniel: And you already have children that are ...

Jamie: Eight and five. Yeah, they're like autonomous. They're like, they do their own thing.

Daniel: Wow, okay.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah. They do their own thing.

Daniel: We're about the same age, but you seem farther along in that stuff.

Jamie: You know, okay. So, the secret is that I married my high school sweetheart.

Daniel: Ah.

Jamie: I married somebody from high school, kind of, you know, locked it in, in McGill, and we kind of did a long-distance relationship. She was studying in Université de Laval, in Quebec City. It was kind of, you know, things happened, accelerated for me, just because I had found the woman of my dreams, who I knew I was going to marry. Right? With that in the bag, I had ... I have an amazing ecosystem. I have an amazing family, who kind of ... I'm in Dollard, but the ecosystem is in Roxboro, and everyone's in Dollard, everyone's around me. It gave me the ability to not stay home when a kid was sick. I was able to rely on my mom, my dad, my mother-in-law, so that's huge. If you don't have that ecosystem, it's really hard to do things at an accelerated level. Right?

Daniel: But do you think that acceleration, maybe was because you had kids, maybe younger than some other guys?

Jamie: Yeah.

Daniel: Actually, not that young, but having the wife, and having those family responsibilities. I mean I don't have a wife, I have no kids, as far as I know, so sometimes, I have to accelerate myself. I'm like, "Who am I doing this for?"

Jamie: Yeah.

Daniel: And I see that, sometimes, in my clients of family law-

Jamie: That's great. That's great.

Daniel: That some men, some women, they come alive, when those responsibilities are there. Did you find that that helped accelerate your entrepreneurial ...

Jamie: That's a great question. I find that people have such a hard time finding balance. I have a hard time finding balance, because as you know, there is, you could work 150 hours a week and it'll still will not be enough. You can answer the phone 24 hours a day. You absolutely need to set boundaries. I'm not that good at setting boundaries. I'm still learning how to set boundaries. But like, on the weekend, it's funny, because I try to set boundaries on the weekend, not go into the office anymore. I'm kind of off the grid. I'm not networking. From Shabbos to Sunday, I'm off the grid. That's the Sabbath, in Yiddish.

Daniel: Right. Right. For all you gentiles, yes.

Jamie: It's so important for me to have that weekend off and not be connected. When people see me outside of a suit, they do a double-take. They're like, "Are you okay? Are you sick?" I'm in a baseball cap a track suit. People are just like, "Is there a twin brother that we don't know about?" I find that it puts everything into perspective. There's really no better feeling than having a stressful day, or even a non-stressful day, and getting home, and getting rushed at by two kids. It puts everything into perspective and you forget about anything that happened that day.

Daniel: Sometimes, I wonder about what darkness or pain you must have. We all do. It's not to put you in the hot seat. But I think to myself, sometimes, you have a very good profile. Like, a lot of my friends, like people I know, who aren't even lawyers, they know about you. They've seen you. People have done business with you, some people that I know. I wonder, with all that social content that I see out there, you're killing it on LinkedIn, you have some posts, that's life-affirming and upbeat, with some emoji. You're getting hundreds of likes and shares. I see it on Facebook, and I think to myself, and you have a wife and kids?

Jamie: Yeah. Yeah.

Daniel: Just for me, I'm thinking like, man, I only got-

Jamie: When is he going to burn out.

Daniel: I get six likes. And I don't want to compare. It's not the size that matters.

Jamie: That's pretty good.

Daniel: But I just wonder how does this guy have time to breathe?

Jamie: It's a good question. I think that I really try to be as fluid as possible. I was in court this morning, which is why I'm late. I'm like five hours late for the taping. I feel terrible. Yeah, no kidding, I feel terrible. But, you know, I'm still a lawyer. It's really hard to be an entrepreneur lawyer, because you're at the mercy of the system, you're at the mercy of your clients, you're at the mercy of emergencies. I mean, I don't have to tell you about this, but I try to be as fluid as possible. That means when I'm writing content, I don't sit down and create the content in this sense. I mean, I do this, and this is so important, but I do this, and my other content that gets more engagement, that I think that humanizes me, is really the stuff of things that happen to me on the cuff. Like, a story about somebody told me about the FedEx logo. That there's an arrow embedded in the FedEx logo, and there's a spoon, you know, for like a way to ... There's all kinds of built-in messages. Somebody told me this over a lunch that I had, in the gay village, eating Portuguese chicken. My mind was blown, over this story. I shared that story. Sitting with my buddy, we're having Portuguese chicken, he's telling me this story, and I'm telling the story of how I learned about the FedEx, and the symbolism of the FedEx things. People were just like ... It got like, you know, 75,000 views on a post like that. I think today, and getting into kind of the marketing aspect of Jamie Benizri Legal Logik, and the law profession now, is putting the lawyer, putting the people behind the brand, in front of the logo, in front of the brand. People want to know who's behind the brand and people want to know what I stand for. If I can humanize that, that's where you start connecting with people.

Daniel: Yeah, you know, you're kind of on my tip, or maybe I'm on your tip a bit, in that this is the purpose, in part, of this show.

Jamie: Yep.

Daniel: Is to humanize.

Jamie: People got to get to know you too. Man, that's it.

Daniel: Yeah. It's not just about me. I'm a curious fellow and I'm curious about my colleagues. I am. One thing that I've noticed is that every person that comes in that chair, they're all individuals, even though they're lawyers, and they come from different walks of life.

Jamie: You got it.

Daniel: They have different interests, different personalities. Some are a bit more academic, some are a bit more outgoing.

Jamie: Yeah. Yeah.

Daniel: In fact, speaking of logos, what do you think of that one?

Jamie: I think this is awesome. I told you, when I walked in, I'm shocked that this name is so perfect. I think you nailed the branding. Why don't you tell me? I'd like to know, from you, the impetus behind this? Is this your marketing? Is this for the community? Is this both? Where does it fit into your profile, as a lawyer, in Quebec?

Daniel: Oh. You're like a business therapist.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah, I want to know. I want to know.

Daniel: I'll tell you.

Jamie: I'm going to flip it.

Daniel: Okay, you're flipping it.

Jamie: I want my name down there.

Daniel: Yeah.

Jamie: Daniel Goldwater and Jamie-

Daniel: Yeah, yeah. You're going to get a credit. Okay, I'll get some royalties for you. Well, this is actually supposed to be an adapted fleur-de-lys.

Jamie: Génial.

Daniel: Okay, because I'm trying to speak to ma peuple. I love Quebec. I love Montreal.

Jamie: Absolutely.

Daniel: I'm third generation. I'm a homey.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Daniel: That's part of it. At the same time, you have the scales of justice. I wanted to make sure that they're balanced, to show that there's a symmetry between the parties. No one is better, or worse, than another. Viva Voce, for those who don't know, but I presume most do, it means "in live voice", in Latin. It's a Latin expression we use in the practice and we're talking.

Jamie: Love it.

Daniel: I'm trying to resurrect the art of conversation.

Jamie: You nailed it.

Daniel: All these people today, tweeting, and emoji-ing, and no one's talking face-to-face. I'm looking in your eyes, right now.

Jamie: Okay, good. How does it make you feel when you look at me?

Daniel: It makes me think about my past. It makes me think about my childhood. It makes me think-

Jamie: I want to hug you, right now, you know that?

Daniel: I feel like I'm going to cry.

Jamie: I want to hug you, right now?

Daniel: Yeah, do you want to hug?

Jamie: At the end, maybe-

Daniel: At the end. We have mics. Yeah, we'll hug.

Jamie: But I think this is great. I think that, you know, I try to usher this in. I didn't want to be the agent Of change for the industry, I just really wanted to be Jamie Benizri. I said, if I'm going to practice in this career, that's so ... I mean, there's a lot of, there's a lot of negative connotations around the industry, right?

Daniel: Oh, lawyer jokes. Yeah.

Jamie: You must have heard a couple. If I was going to practice law, I needed to do it my own way. I needed to feel free and open in the space that I create, for myself, and for my staff, and for my clients. It's not uncommon for clients to come in and bring in 12 pizzas. You know, for the staff. They'll bring in a keg. They'll bring in ... You know, they'll come to my Christmas party. We have a Christmas party of like 100 people, and we're only 30-40 in the office.

Daniel: No Hanukkah party?

Jamie: Actually there was a Hanukkah party. If you look in Instagram you'll see me in my Hanukkah element. It's so hard to create culture, man. So hard to create culture. When I was doing my course aux stages, actually I didn't really do a course aux stages because I didn't really get any phone calls back, and that makes me feel sad. But I think a lot of people had a hard time figuring out what to do with this guy. Can we invest in this guy? Is he gonna be here long term? Is he gonna do his own thing? Is he too eclectic? Is he too off-the-beaten-path? I think you have to go through things like that. You gotta experiment. You gotta do the course aux stages, even if it's painful, even if your grades are shitty. Just put yourself through the process. I think it's important.

Daniel: It helps you grow. Look, I'll confess to you. First of all I appreciate the courage it takes to admit here that it made you sad not to get the call backs, because you're not alone obviously, so many people do-

Jamie: I have feelings.

Daniel: Yeah, you're not just a good suit and smiling guy. We all have feelings. We're all pink on the inside. I'll confess to you, I didn't even do the course aux stages. My marks were rather poor as well. I had a particular shame, because here I'm coming from this certain pedigree, I did not apply myself, I did not have the work ethic. I was going through my own weirdness at the time.

Jamie: Yeah, you had a mustache at the time.

Daniel: No, not at the time. I had a mustache afterwards, but I had hair in other places, and certain designs, but I won't get into that-

Jamie: Like Borat.

Daniel: Yeah, it was just mostly nipple hair on one side, but I've already said too much. I didn't do the course aux stages, all my colleagues were doing that stuff, getting into that suited and booted world, and I was a little ignorant. I just thought I'm a smart guy. I'll be fine. That's why I think sometimes your sadness, that you obviously are over, you're an upbeat guy, finding yourself in the law, and finding who you are is a big process. I tell this to the kids, you know, the kids, the young people, because now I'm on the other side of the table during the course aux stages, and I see these young, intelligent, ambitious people, and I ask them sometimes, I'm like, "Hey, you have these great marks, and I trust that you have ambition, and you're great, but you might be 19 or 20." I'm like, "You don't know who you are. There's no way that you do."

Jamie: That's right. I tell, kind of jokingly, I probably practice, when I'm in lawyer mode, I'm 10% lawyer and 90% therapist, 90% coach and 90% whatever, because it's really hard to manage expectations, and it's really hard to put yourself in the client's shoes. We have thousands of them. How can we be expected to be compassionate about every single person's story and what they're going through? I think that that takes a certain maturity, that takes a certain life experience. You need to go through things. You need to have failed in business. You need to have failed at the course aux stages. You need to have done things. If everything is just handed to you, it's really hard not to have that sense of entitlement and it's really hard to be compassionate with what people are going through.

Daniel: It can also go the other way. Given that I'm in family law, I mean you're in a more business-related practice, but in family law, naturally, it's very emotional, you're talking about family breakdown, talking about custody battles, there's spousal abuse, there's some heavy stuff. One thing I've noticed is sometimes you get this cohort of people who are attracted to this because, I'm gonna say this a little playfully, they wanna help people, and they feel like maybe they're social workers, or there's a social justice element. I try to tell them that this is gonna harden you. Coming in here and seeing this stuff day to day like a conveyor belt, don't think for a second that you're coming here and it's gonna be rainbows and you're gonna be hugging and they're gonna be grateful.

Jamie: That's amazing advice. I get the same feelings when people tell me ... I spoke at JMSB, has a law club, they invited me to speak to the kids a couple months ago, and I always like to ask, these are all aspiring law students, and I'm always like, "Why do you guys wanna do law? Why?"

Daniel: What do they say?

Jamie: Most of the answers are I wanna help people, I was really good at debating, I'm really good at arguing, I don't know why. It's all these ... You need to go through it. You need to do that stage for the summer. You need to shadow somebody like you to get that hardening thing, because I think a lot of us, including me, we get into the profession, no idea what it's all about. We get all kinds of bullshit from TV, and everyone thinks it's gonna be an episode of fucking Suits, and you're gonna be sleeping with him, and her, and you're gonna save the day, and you're gonna drink scotch peacefully at five o'clock.

Daniel: And you're gonna make six figures your first year out.

Jamie: And you're gonna get the Ferrari. It's like people's expectations and people's perception of the practice is so misguided. It's crazy.

Daniel: I like that, you even have the courage to say "bullshit", so I'll say it, even though this is for adults, that I try that when I mentor, and I'm at a point now I think I do feel comfortable mentoring, and I do cut through the bullshit. I say give it to me straight. You don't know what you wanna do. You're here because maybe you're trying to please your parents. You're here because you wanna have a white collar job and feel legitimate to your society and your community.

Jamie: Yeah, just say it.

Daniel: Just say it. You're afraid. You feel like an imposter. You don't know how to dress, but you read everything about how to dress, and so you're overthinking everything.

Jamie: You got the pocket square.

Daniel: You got the pocket square. You're concerned about how eccentric your socks might be.

Jamie: Yeah, that too, yeah.

Daniel: Your sock game is pretty hot.

Jamie: I'm like the most cliché walking lawyer ever, right?

Daniel: I wanna ask you something as well that's a little more piquant, even though we've been a bit piquant, is, I did reveal to you I ask myself sometimes "am I business man or am I a lawyer?" I actually have a portrait of our sovereign, our queen, in my office, I kid you not.

Jamie: Come on.

Daniel: I'm not messing with you.

"We're very shortsighted I find, now more than ever, I find that we're really quick to disrupt. Taxi industry doesn't exist anymore. Uber took over. The rental market is damaged, Airbnb took over. All these things that are happening, we forget about the foundation of where we came from, and the same thing happens with law."

Jamie: I gotta see it to believe it.

Daniel: I'll show you a picture on social. It's not because I'm a monarchist. It's not because I'm an Anglophile. I actually have it there because it reminds me that I am a lawyer. I'm here, because there is this profundity to what we're doing, there's this history. There are these laws, and I'm a member of an order. I'm an officer of justice.

Jamie: I love that. We forget. We're very shortsighted I find, now more than ever, I find that we're really quick to disrupt. Taxi industry doesn't exist anymore. Uber took over. The rental market is damaged, Airbnb took over. All these things that are happening, we forget about the foundation of where we came from, and the same thing happens with law. I was laughing, because I went to an assermentation, Robert, who's gonna be staying in our office, and I hadn't been to one in years, and I'm listening to her, and she's reminding the lawyers of their obligations, to be nice to your colleagues, to be a member of society, and what it means to be a lawyer, and I'm just sitting there, and I'm like, "Yeah, this is good."

Daniel: Oh yeah, right.

Jamie: I'm like, "I like that." I'm like, "Yeah, okay." Somebody from my office was sitting next to me being like, "You do remember this stuff, right?" I'm like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is great." But we forget. I think I wanna put up a picture of the queen also.

Daniel: You can actually call the governor general's office and get a portrait for free. I kid you not.

Jamie: Are you kidding?

Daniel: Our tax dollars go to this, or maybe, I don't know, the UK monarchy trust or something.

Jamie: Yeah, hook me up. I wanna do that too, man.

Daniel: I ask myself, to turn this back to you a little bit though, sometimes even in doing this, and obviously in my practice, I have ethical obligations, I'm a member of this order and I don't think I'm saying anything that's controversial, which is that our professional order, we have an obligation not to demonstrate any mercenary drive, or-

Jamie: Crude commercial-

Daniel: Filthy lucre.

Jamie: Filthy lucre, yeah.

Daniel: Yeah, fancy language.

Jamie: I was trying to find the English equivalent of, yeah.

Daniel: It means there is a certain discomfort our profession has, and I think that's a bit of a paradox, is that there's this perception that as lawyers we're suits, we're well paid, and it's ambitious, and we're driven to make money, though our professional order reminds us all the time-

Jamie: That it's not about that.

Daniel: It's not about that. I'm gonna turn that one you, because given that you are, I feel the business drive on you-

Jamie: Yeah. I mean I fit the stereotype. I mean I dress the part maybe, right? People assume I'm a millionaire and I have Ferraris and all kinds of stuff.

Daniel: You don't have Ferraris?

Jamie: I don't have Ferraris yet, no. I don't have a Ferrari. I have a 1986 Miata that I like to take out every now and then.

Daniel: That'll do.

Jamie: I have a good relationship with the Quebec Bar. A lot of people think they try to shut me down, or that I'm too loud and obnoxious, and I'm maybe too out there, but I actually had meetings with them. Early on in my career I wanted to sit down with them proactively to be like, this is what I wanna do, are you guys gonna stop me kind of thing? They were super cool. They did research for us. They helped us interpret some of the case law around people who did get in trouble. In fact the only case they found where a lawyer got into trouble for over commercializing himself was some lawyer en région who I think put a picture of his face on a dollar bill, and was distributing coupons for a consultation.

Daniel: That's a little low class.

Jamie: Yeah, Benjamin Franklin, right in the middle, and just making it rain. But they were super cool. I try to be respectful. Obviously I have a lot of respect for the profession, a lot of respect for my colleagues, so I don't wanna denigrate the profession, but I wanna push it to the next boundary where I think the market is. Now when you see me on LinkedIn as you mentioned, or when you see me on Facebook, or anywhere else, or here, yeah I'm always gonna be a lawyer. People know I'm a lawyer at this point. There's nothing else for me to say. Now it's about how do I bring value to my community? How do I bring value to my clients? That's not necessarily being a lawyer. This is about being a lawyer as part of a broader societal engagement, of being involved in non-profits, and helping people. We just distributed jackets and suits to La Maison du Père, that we just did a campaign for. For me this is as important, this is one element of being a lawyer for me, is reminding yourself that this isn't the heyday of being the gatekeepers of information. Now, if somebody wants a shareholders agreement, they type in "lawdepot.ca" and they get it for 30 bucks.

Daniel: Right, you have to be an ongoing counselour to them. Sometimes-

Jamie: Yeah, where's the value then?

Daniel: Yeah. I've said that sometimes to my clients. I've said, "I am a lawyer. I'm not your bartender, though I'd like to be your bartender, you can talk to me about these things, but understand that I have an hourly rate, and you can't ask me everything under the sun. I can't really be your friend. We can be friendly." It's funny because you're kind of bringing out for me, this has been therapeutic for me. You're bringing out to me all these social dynamics. Sometimes there's a certain misanthropy in me. Sometimes I feel that colleagues are your adversaries, sometimes. That's a very strange thing.

Jamie: Especially in family law.

Daniel: Especially in family law, and you're negotiating and going tête-à-tête on very intense questions. Your judges are obviously the judiciary, you look up to them, they're greater than us, but we're part of the same machinery. Then there's my clients who I have sympathy and empathy for, and sometimes just wanna shut it all out, and just say, "Hey, please. I'm just trying to live well. I just wanna-

Jamie: I just want get by.

Daniel: I just wanna get by. I wanna make a decent living. I wanna love my family. Make a family. And wake up in the morning and feel good.

Jamie: Such a good point. Sometimes we feel guilty about wanting to live well and wanting to make a living. We wanna give fair prices to our clients, and we don't wanna bill them for every five minute phone call, but you're right, sometimes for me I went on the extreme. I shattered all the barriers, let them into my life, them, let my clients in my life, and they become my friends. At this point in my life and my career, I think there's a well known American author who raises their hand and says there's five things in life, five facets in life, and you gotta choose three, and you gotta abandon two of them. That's sleep, social life, professional life, fitness, and-

Daniel: Marijuana.

Jamie: Maybe marijuana. Yeah, that's-

Daniel: I think that's the fifth one. It's legal now.

Jamie: It's gotta be marijuana.

Daniel: Probably. It helps take the edge off.

Jamie: Probably, yeah. But you gotta abandon two. For me obviously I've abandoned sleep. Sleep is gone, and my social life has been abandoned, but merged into my practice. Try to carve out as much family time as possible, try to stay fit, try to have the career, and-

Daniel: You gotta sleep Jamie.

Jamie: I gotta sleep. I know man.

Daniel: Jamie, it's gonna catch up to you.

Jamie: I know. I have a lot of things to do. I've got a bucket list, man.

Daniel: But you gotta recharge your batteries.

Jamie: I know, man. I know.

Daniel: You know? It's gonna disrupt ... Your sleep-

Jamie: It's Friday. I'm gonna get a couple of hours tonight.

Daniel: Just a couple?

Jamie: Get a couple of hours.

Daniel: Here's what I want you to do when we're done. I want you to go home, I want you to get eight hours of sleep, I want you to wake up, and I want you to write down on a piece of paper the dreams that you had, before you forget them.

Jamie: Okay.

Daniel: Okay?

Jamie: I can do that. Are you gonna invite me back on to hear what they were?

Daniel: Yeah, we'll have a little, a live-

Jamie: Season two?

Daniel: Yeah, a Periscope maybe, or I'll go over to your place. I'll do a journal of my own. We'll compare and contrast our dreams.

Jamie: I like that.

Daniel: Okay?

Jamie: Yeah, I like that.

Daniel: All right. This was a great pleasure, Jamie.

Jamie: Honestly. This was ... It's a lot of fun.

Daniel: Yeah. Thank you for being a part of it.

Jamie: This is my version of therapy too.

Daniel: Yeah.

Jamie: Sometimes I don't have anyone to talk to.

Daniel: I also know a good therapist. All right. Cheers.

Jamie: Cheers, brother. Keep on. I love this.

Daniel: All right.

Jamie Benizri

Me Benziri is a practicing attorney and founder of the firm Legal Logik.