CTCW President's Column

WDC Journal Edition: September 2002
By: Pat Brennan - CTCW President

A number of years ago I argued a motion on a point about considering the admissibility of evidence. A short but well researched brief was put in on the issue and arguments were had before the court. Ours was an effort to prevent the introduction of this evidence, and it seemed that we had the better of the argument under the law.

To my surprise, opposing counsel's first statement to the judge was that the evidence ought to be admitted because it was the truth. What a startling proposition! Here I was, ready with all the evidence, rules and latest case law on point, and the other lawyer appeals to something so basic and fundamental that it caught me by surprise.

I realized later that one should not ever lose sight of the fact that the courts are there to do just that: search for the truth. Whether plaintiff or defense attorney, we advance our client's cause best when it is founded on just such basic propositions - that all the niceties of our legal structure are only a means to an end. Yes, sometimes the truth hurts, and there are safeguards designed to prevent even harmful truths from being heard in court, but overall the opposing lawyers approach has merit.

Judges' and lawyers' decisions are informed by this objective. So it is with the advocacy groups that provide structure, information and balance to this never ending and elusive search for truth. CTCW, as much as it exists to serve its members' interests, should never lose sight of what we are perceived to be doing in this larger context.

What do we do to serve the truth? Can we test our speeches, newsletter articles, and legislative positions against this standard? I think our organization admirably achieves this goal. We have taken positions on such things as tort reform which at the least do not help and arguably even hurt our members financial interest. Our newsletter, committee activity, and seminars spread the word on successful tactics that, if closely held, would serve only the provincial interest of an individual attorney or firm as opposed to the group as a whole.

Recently CTCW has instituted a method of communicating with its members via email. Anyone can access this system to make inquiries of other members or spread the word about successful outcomes in particular cases of interest to other CTCW members. This selfless activity serves not only our organization but the fundamental goal of uncovering, disseminating and preserving the truth.

Let's keep up the good work. Reach a committee member about writing an article, or contact the program director about a speech. Get involved with the CTCW speaker's bureau. Contact the press on notable causes that might be in the newspaper. We will all be better for it, and the truth will be served in the process.