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Lawyer’s a pretty level-headed guy… for a magician

[attach]7275[/attach]The ace of clubs is on the top of the deck.

Marc Linett splits the deck in two and shows the ace is still at the top of one half. He takes it from there and places it face down halfway into the other half, which is fanned out. He asks his sole spectator to push the card in. The spectator complies.

“Is it all the way in?” Linett asks in a muffled voice.

The spectator looks up to see the ace of clubs in Linett’s mouth, not only explaining the muffled voice, but bewildering the spectator.

Want to know how it’s done? Ask Linett if he’ll tell you.

“No, I’m not going to tell you,” he says afterward from behind the desk where he’s made his career as a personal injury lawyer. “Actually, yes I will: I did it well.

“How did I do it? I did it well.”

Linett, who lives near Avenue Road and Lawrence Avenue West, is a managing partner at Linett & Timmis, located at Yonge and Davisville, and has been a lawyer since 1975. The 66-year-old has also been into magic for 57 years.

In that time, Linett has discovered some similarities between law and magic.

That might sound crazy, but hear him out. You’ll realize he is, indeed, playing with a full deck.

“A lot of it is misdirection,” he said, referring to both performing magic and performing as a trial lawyer for a jury. “A lot of it is understanding the psychology of people and the way they relate to something.”

Linett says he believes magic to be an art form, both visual and as a performance art, and that really being a lawyer, really, is no different.

“If (a trick) goes on too long, or if it’s boring, you’re going to lose the interest of the person you’re trying to hold, and it’s the same thing with the jury, if you think about it,” he said. “I’m a litigator, I’m in court trying to convince (the jury) to a position, and if I’m boring I’m going to lose them.”

And there is another connection between Linett’s two paths.

He also does work on occasion for the Federation Internationale des Societes Magiques, where magicians congregate every three years — sort of like an Olympics for magicians, according to Linett. He said he came into that through being a magician, then FISM found out he was a lawyer and asked for his help.

“There are all sorts of proprietary issues in magic where people are ripping off other magicians, stealing their tricks and not paying them a royalty,” he said, likening it to how people steal music. “It’s a magic copyright, and some countries, since this is all
over the world, are a little more lax when it comes to enforcing this.”

Linett said one of the worst offenders is China, who he said had some “major rip-off artists”.

“So you might have developed a really brilliant trick, but they were selling it over there and never giving you the royalties for it,” he said.

Aside from theft of tricks, there is another side to magic that Linett is no fan of.

“A lot of mentalists are going around claiming they have super powers, the ability to create miracles,” he said. “These are tricks.”

He likens performing magicians to jugglers, who have learned a craft and know how to do it. While the magician’s feat might look like a miracle, he said, that doesn’t mean the performer has super powers.

And he wants no part of those who claim they do.

“I separate myself from them,” he said. “This is entertainment.”

Being entertainment, magic is something Linett enjoys being a spectator to as much as performing.

“When I see tricks, I don’t even want to know how they’re done,” he said. “The wonderment of the trick is better than knowing how the trick is done.”