A Family United A Family Divided In The Media

Lawyer Has Not-so-hidden Lyrical Talent

Thornhiller's songs can be heard on radio, tv

By Corey Lewis

Les Kotzer's Thornhill office contains all the trappings of a run-of-the-mill attorney’s stuffy workspace: a desk covered in papers, a bookshelf crammed with legal tomes, and walls adorned with degrees and laudations.

Only the tangerine-trimmed white Sony boom box on the carpet reveals the wills and estates lawyer’s less-than-academic pursuits.

The stereo is used to play for clients tunes he’s written in his spare time.

“What really gets me is when people come into my office to draft up a will for them and say to me, ‘I heard your song on the radio,’ ” Kotzer said.  “Clients will say, ‘I want to hear that song.’ ”

Such is the daily routine of an energetic man dubbed by some as “the songwriting lawyer”.

Kotzer has penned affecting easy rock that’s found its way onto the programming schedules of radio stations across North America. He works closely with a team composed of award-winning producer Greg Kavanagh, and Lewis Manne and Wendy Watson, songwriters for television shows such as the original Degrassi series.

Alan Frew, former Glass Tiger front man and five-time Juno Award winner, lent his voice to Kotzer’s “These are our Heroes.” The track appeared in a War Amps documentary that won a gold medal at the 2007 Houston Film Festival.

Kotzer also doles out legal advice on Breakfast Television and CNN’s Dollar Signs, and has been the focus of several features in Time Magazine, Newsweek, and the New York Times.

Somehow, Kotzer’s managed to find the time to co-author a pair of books on wills and estates. Each title expounds on the basic tenet of his practice: avoiding and resolving inheritance disputes before they rip families apart.

Clearly, Kotzer is an extremely busy man. But the workload doesn’t faze him, he says.

“When you love something, you’re inspired you do it,” Kotzer says of his multiple careers. “The words (in my songs) will come to me. ... It just hits me.”

Kotzer consciously keeps those words simple, easy to understand and rife with deeper meaning, he says.

“I don’t write from the point of view of making you have to think, ‘What’s he trying to say?’ ” he said. “I come out and say it.”

It’s been a recipe for success for the Thornhill lawyer, whose next move is a collaboration with Thornhill native Vivian Nicole.

“It means a lot to me when I get calls from (people) from all over telling me what my songs meant to them,” he said. “You start to realize that the words I wrote at this table on Yonge St. are touching people in San Francisco, New Orleans, Miami, and places like that.”

Information on the CD and the book is available at www.familyfight.com or by calling 905-881-1500, ext. 19.


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