Author Archives: Nick Carmichael

2013 Summer Student Night Out

aa b    

Part of me would like to start off this blog post with the following: “For our 2013 Cassels Brock summer student event Leigh-Ann green-lighted an evening at the Backyard Axe Throwing League, which involved hurling 26-inch lumberjack axes across the width of a crowded bar in hopes of lodging the weapons deep into a target carved from wood.  The beer was plentiful and super cheap too”.  For some reason, the axe-wielding never ended up happening.  We also nearly descended on the Muskokas, and stacked mattresses all the way up to the rafters of one of the student’s cottages for a weekend.  The enthusiasm waned, and we opted for a more classic evening suitable for the budding lawyer – a chef’s tasting menu on the rooftop patio of Gusto 101, a swanky eatery in the clubbing district, followed by a few casual drinks at the local table-tennis joint, or as the kids  call it these days, “Spin”.

Gusto 101 is a 3 story restaurant, jam-packed with fashionable young people looking for a good time and scrumptious food after an exhausting day at the grind.  We seemed to fit the bill.  It is virtually impossible to find a table there on a date, let alone a table to accommodate 24 of us – so kudos to our event organizer, Kate Byers.  We were seated on the rooftop, which had some funky glass pyramids that you could peer into and see the floor below, and some overhead hanging Christmas lights.  Generally, it was just a very appealing ambience.  We sat at one long communal table at the side of the floor, and there was a giant “Goodyear Blimp” sign welded from sheet metal hovering above us.  Some jokes were told, and some wine was to be had, and before we knew it we were bogged down in plates of aranchini (deep-fried risotto balls covered in fresh marinara sauce and shreds of fresh basil), thin-crust pizza with a variety of vegetarian-friendly as well as carnivorous toppings, beautiful roasted whole chickens without a hint of dryness, and plates of homemade pasta glistening with a rich cream sauce infused with truffle-oil.  Everything was pitch-perfect, and the service was attentive and friendly.  We played musical chairs and discussed everything under the sun, other than the current state of the law.  It was refreshing.

Someone had the brilliant idea of ordering a few rounds of Fernet-Branca, an Italian amara digestive liqueur that is reminiscent of a minty flavour and cough medicine.  The medicinal properties did wonders for settling our post-gluttony stomachs.  One student though the appropriate move was to “shoot back” one of these potent glasses of Fernet.  Typically, the drink is sipped slowly.  That student is rumoured to still be recovering.  This was sort of the transitional moment of the evening.  Now we were off to Spin to see who was the best ping-pong competitor of the bunch.




Spin is a bar located in a back-alleyway jetting off of King Street West.  The business model of combining an endless sea of ping-pong tables with bars and drinking culture originated in the Big Apple.  New locations have sprouted across North America, and recently Toronto was added to the roster.  All the Spins are independently-operated with creative licence to do what they want with the environment.  In Toronto, the lighting is dim, and the calibre of play isn’t exactly intimidating.  Buckets of orange balls are propped up next to the tables and kids just start wailing on these things, littering the floors with dozens of them.  Attn: Ambulance Chasers.  At one moment I am pretty sure I witnessed somebody trying to deliberately snipe people across the bar with ping-pong balls.  A couple of employees roam the bar with something I can only describe as a vacuum/swifter mop device, combing the ground for balls that ricochet off the table.  It makes everything slightly more convenient for the players.



Our student night happened to coincide with the opening rounds of the All England Tennis Tournament, also known as Wimbledon 2013.  In an historic year that saw the shocking departures of Nadal and Federer in the first and second rounds, respectively, the feeling was in the air that there would be some upsets at Spin.  Some genuinely surprising lacklustre showings came from Daniel Shiff and Hilary Fender, who were both pegged for greatness.  Even David Kelman, a self-titled “3-time Fantasy NHL champion” put his chips on the wrong horses.  The sleeper of the event undeniably had to be Peter Reinitzer, and an honourable mention goes out to Jake Goldberg, who was not too shabby himself. 


This was a really incredible event.  This summer we have already had numerous opportunities to get to know each other and let our hair down.  This made the night more enjoyable because it wasn’t an ice-breaker or a pressured sort of “work event”  It was just an awesome way to spend time together outside of the office and do something a little out of the ordinary.  Everyone was in good spirits, and the night went off without a hitch.  If you ignore 1:30 A.M. and onwards that is.  Thank you again to Kate for organizing.

Comments Off on 2013 Summer Student Night Out

Filed under Misc.

Luncheon with the Governor of Kentucky


Written By: Nick Carmichael

Photography,General assistance and advising: Hilary Fender


Ten lucky summer students opened their outlook inboxes Monday  and received a special email.  They were selected from among their 22 peers to have lunch with Steve Beshear, the current Governor of the state of Kentucky, at the illustrious Empire Club.  Mr. Beshear  was elected to the top job in 2007, and effectively runs the Bluegrass State – where sweet ryes and bourbons run like water, and the jubilance of the Kentucky Derby is matched only by Mardi Gras. The elder statesman was heading a trade delegation from what is officially known as the Commonwealth of Kentucky (where the Appalachians meet the Bible Belt), looking to fortify the state’s economic ties with Canada.  Canada is Kentucky’s number one international trading partner, worth a staggering $11 billion in goods per year.  I was fortunate enough to clinch a spot at the luncheon and joined some of my colleagues to see what a field trip outside the hallowed halls of the law firm was all about

We met on the ground floor lobby of Scotia Tower, cloistered together by the doorway waiting for a student who was lagging behind.  Five minutes later we realized the missing student was with us all along.  The sense of excitement hit its crescendo when we realized what the other 12 students were doing.  Earlier that morning one student had deep bags the colour of charcoal under his eyes and was frantically pacing the hallways of the law firm trying to close a deal.  He didn’t seem to mind that he was missing out on the Empire Club to dine with political royalty.  The rest of the lot were scrambling to finish drafting legal memos and daydreaming of their lunch hour assembling build-your-own tuna sandwiches.  Meanwhile, the lucky ten were en route to a three-course meal served by butlers donned in bow-ties in a swanky private auditorium located in the Simpson Tower – hovering above the grandiose facade of Old City Hall.

We were greeted by a cheerful young woman from the Empire Club, who wore a red “Hello My name is Sam” sticker on her lapel.  She showed us to the elevators lining the granite corridor.  When we arrived to the auditorium we were seated at our own private table.  Eyes were panning around the room trying to make sense of the occasion, and where and how exactly we fit in.  Television cameras littered the room and many Southerners were spotted in elaborate costumes – such as floral-laced sun hats and purses made out of pop-tabs.  Perhaps these folks were still gearing down from The Derby ’13.  Deep Southern drawls could be overheard enviously chatting about the stable economic climate North of the 44th parallel.

Continue reading “Luncheon with the Governor of Kentucky” »

Comments Off on Luncheon with the Governor of Kentucky

Filed under Misc.