Joe Borowski’s anti-abortion crusade is in dire financial straits. These were the opening words of a front-page story of the Winnipeg Free Press, August 24, 1988.
Mr. Borowski believes that if one is to be successful in seeking financial help, one had better be honest with the public. He had just received three legal bills totaling $79,000, he told the WFP. In order to pay the first $35,000, he had to dip into the funds of the Health Food store which he manages. The three legal bills came from the Regina law firm of Shumiatcher, Fox and Watson. They covered research, preparation and presentation to the Supreme Court in July of this year in opposition to the government’s request that the Borowski case be delayed.
Borowski himself was flabbergasted at these latest bills. He can’t see what “research” was needed for the July presentation, for example. The government had no case of precedents for its request at all, as mot media had reported.
In a September 29 telephone interview with The Interim, Mr. Borowski explained that his campaign for funds is going fairly well. All three bills have now been paid, although he has not recovered, as yet, the $35,000 from the store’s fund.
The best return so far has come from his full-page ad in The Interim (September 1988). This brought a return of over $20,000. Other advertisements and mailings are still coming in. However, other bills are yet to come, especially for the two-day presentation before the Supreme Court in October. Borowski estimates that in view of the billing so far, this may well come to $50.000.
Pro-lifers across the country who have heard of Joe Borowski’s legal bills have been unpleasantly surprised. The latest published information about lawyers in Ontario show their incomes to be the highest of all professions. Members of many large law firms easily make half a million dollars a year, as net income. Even brand new graduates from law school move into the $80,000 – $100,000 a year range within a few years, if they join prestigious firms.
So far, Mr. Morris Shumiatcher has billed Joe Borowski for over three-quarters of a million, to be precise, for $70,000, including the latest three bills. The account goes back to 1978.
In 1978, Borowski and Shumiatcher had agreed on $100,00 at most for the trial. But before the trial began in Regina in May 1983, Mr. Borowski was told by telephone that he better raise $350,000. After the trial was over and the bills paid, little did he think it would cost him another half million to see the paperwork pass from one court to another.
Where do these massive legal bills come from? Simply because this law firm, like others, charges for everything under the sun, from opening a file folder, answering a telephone call, going for lunch, to appearing in court. If the boss, for example, decides to talk to the media for 10 or 15 minutes, the client pays.
The Board of Directors of Mr. Borowski’s Alliance Against Abortion are none too happy about the charges. Some people feel that Joe Borowski is being milked dry.