JACK BATTEN candidly admits he entered law school in 1956 because he "lacked the wit and courage" to follow his instincts into journalism or literature. As his many readers know, he did return to writing after four years of practising law. That background makes him the perfect author of The Class of '75: Life after law School (Macmillan, 288 pages, $27.95 cloth).
The concept is simple but appealing: follow up on the members of what many consider an especially gifted group of University of Toronto law school graduates. The result is a generally entertaining and informative visit with a number of very interesting people, from those who predictably shot to the top of their profession to those who, like the author, chose other paths.
Batten, as always, displays his talents for storytelling, and he is also cognizant of when he has inserted just enough of himself into his story. Perhaps it's my own bias, but the most interesting subjects are those who strayed from the straight and narrow career track. Batten occasionally allows an air of lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-semi-famous to leak into his prose, and there is no profound examination of lawyers or the justice system in evidence here. The book succeeds nicely, though, as a readable, behind-the-scenes glimpse into some intriguing Canadian lives.