THE ADVOCATE 137
VOL. 79 PART 1 JANUARY 2021
our feet, was another innovation. I forget what other changes I claimed, but
the general idea was that the new courthouse was short-friendly.
Later, I invented a history for the organization. Every organization needs
its icons, and ours were Mickey Rooney and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Our history, I claimed, went back to the Middle Ages, when (I recounted) a
group of diminutive men, riding Shetland ponies, fought with distinction in
the Crusades. For this they received honours and rewards, morphing into
The names of practising lawyers, e.g., Les Little, Morley Short and Keith
Liddle, I utilized, referring to them as members (even though they were too
tall for our membership qualifications) and praising their (imaginary)
accomplishments on behalf of the Société.
Thereafter, there would be letters in the Advocate written by me and
replies written by other lawyers, lauding or vilifying s.m.a.l.l. For a period
of time, two issues could not go by without something about s.m.a.l.l. But
this died down, until the advent of Grant Burnyeat, a man of considerable
girth and humour. He entered the fray to inform the public that he had created
two new organizations: T.A.L.L. (The Association of Large Lawyers)
and L.A.R.G.E. (Lawyers Association of Really Great Endomorphs). These
two organizations, he claimed, would overshadow s.m.a.l.l. Thereafter a
running battle in the “Letters to the Editor” column ensued, with me fulminating
against Grant and his, and Grant criticizing me and mine. At one
point I called him “the Moriarty of mortgages”, referring to Sherlock
However, all good things come to an end, and Grant went to the bench.
In those days, new judges were welcomed by way of a reception in one of
the courtrooms, to which family and guests would be invited and where
senior members of the bar would make laudatory comments. When it came
time to talk about Grant, I raised up a sign I had smuggled in. One side of it
said, “Grant Burnyeat Unfair to Short Lawyers”. The other side was blank.
As soon as I raised it up, of course everyone in the courtroom started laughing.
Grant could only see the blank side of the sign and didn’t know why
people were laughing at him until later, when I turned the sign around to
let him in on the joke.
While I wanted to continue with our mutual diatribe, the powers that be
decided (and rightly so I am sure) that it was unseemly for a member of the
bar to savage a sitting judge and just as unseemly for the judge to do the
same to a practising lawyer. That brought an end to L.A.R.G.E. and T.A.L.L.
But s.m.a.l.l. did not fade away. There was still one last hurrah. This turned
out to be the retirement dinner given for Chief Justice Nemetz. He retired