We lawyers can sometimes adopt a herd mentality. A senior lawyer or judge says something. You go back and read the case. You may be reluctant to voice your difference. That’s how we, as a profession, can just get things wrong. The example here comes from insurance law, but you can apply it to your area of expertise.
Few subjects beguile new lawyers more than the interpretation of commercial general liability insurance policies (CGL). This includes many corporate-commercial lawyers contributing to complex agreements running into hundreds of pages. Show them a CGL form, and their eyes glaze over. But most CGL policies are only a few pages long, and the longest run a few dozen pages. Once you “get” the basic structure of the agreement, as described by Justice Rothstein at paragraphs 26-28 of the 2010 Supreme Court of Canada decision in Progressive Homes v. Lombard, you’ll wonder why you ever thought the subject so daunting: