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Lawyers voted greater than creator

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Cite as: (2009) 83(06) LIJ, p.22

It’s official – God may be great, but he’s not as great as lawyers, according to the findings of this year’s Legal Comedy Debate.

By Jason Gregory

Out of a chaotic universe, according to the Bible’s Book of Genesis, God created the heavens and earth.

But, the 850-strong crowd for the annual Legal Comedy Debate was asked, who do you think created chaos in the first place?

That’s right, lawyers.

Six passionate members of the profession debated the topic “Lawyers or God: Who do you want on your side?” at the Athenaeum Theatre on 20 April.

Doing God’s work were LIV vice-president and Caroline Counsel Family Lawyers principal Caroline Counsel and barristers John Willis and Rohan Hoult.

For the “dogs of Satan”, as Mr Willis dubbed lawyers, stood barristers Darren Mort, Rachel Doyle and Philip Dunn QC.

Moderator was comedian and ex-lawyer Yianni Agisilaou, an event regular.

Mr Mort opened with the chaos line above before continuing his argument to the tune of Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire, and had some reaching for the rosary beads when joined by three brassiere-flashing back-up singers.

Next on the side of the lawyer was Ms Doyle, whose succinct argument began with the fact that “[lawyers] exist” and ended with “and lawyers are just as mysterious, wonderful and capable of performing miracles”.

Finally, it was Mr Dunn QC, who was even once called to the altar to represent God himself.

That “God” being former Geelong VFL/AFL champion Gary Ablett senior.

“It is a no-brainer. [When in trouble] do you say ‘please God, get me out of this and I’ll be good’?” he said.

“Or do you say, get me Robert Richter [QC]? [Besides], God has only taken on one case, it was 2000 years ago, it was for his son and he lost.”

Ms Counsel got the audience involved before stating that while Jesus fed the masses, you could not get a free meal out of a lawyer.

Similarly, Mr Willis said the gods were never boring with scripture, temples, miracles, sex and death and that no piece of legislation compared to the Bible or Koran.

Finally, while Mr Hoult left the audience in stitches, little of what he said could be reproduced in a family publication such as the LIJ.

In a close-ish call, God lost out as the crowd decided they would rather have lawyers than the Almighty on their side.

The debate, part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival, is a popular and well-anticipated LIV Young Lawyers’ Section annual event.

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