Friday, 13 March 2015

In Praise of IT Gurus - Highly Amusing post by Peter Fritze

It is my great pleasure to welcome friend and fellow author Peter Fritze to these pages.  Peter writes riveting crime novels featuring the high stakes world of lawyers.  This post made me smile and it and you'll see.  Haven't we all been there, in some way?

Back From the Void

by Peter Fritze

I’m recently out with my second book, False Guilt. Like my first, The Case for Killing, it uses a fictional Toronto law firm, Collins, Shaw LLP, as a loose backdrop.

The protagonists in both books are lawyers with, well, issues. I hope it goes without saying that the lawyers are fictional like the law firm. Being sued is not my idea of a good time.

Both protagonists are professionally very competent. Their issues are personal. And doozies. Without flawed characters, what would there be to write about?

In my first years as a lawyer, I didn’t always feel graced with competence. Like any profession, it took a while to get the requisite experience under my belt. And occasionally technology wasn’t my friend.

My most acute experience in this regard was when I joined a downtown Toronto firm from a government agency as a fifth year associate. It was a long time ago; here’s my recollection of events.

The firm was handling a lot of deals. After only a few weeks, at 4:00 p.m. on a Friday, I was brought in to junior on a large merger.

My first task was to draft a merger agreement for circulation to all the parties Monday morning at 10:00. Government work hadn’t taught me how to draft huge corporate documents and the partner-in-charge knew that. He pointed me to the precedent system and said I could call for help any time over the weekend.

After three cognacs at home that evening, I was ready for the challenge. I worked all weekend. By Sunday evening, I had a presentable documentof about 130 pagesfor the partner to review early Monday morning. If memory serves, I only called him once. Anything more, I figured, was a career-limiting move.

And then, about 8:00 Sunday evening, as I made finishing touches on my computer, the latest draft of the document disappeared from the IT system. I never learned why but I’m pretty sure it was my fault. Yup. Gone without a trace. Vanished. Lost in the void.

A little technological context here. The firm’s system was first rate, but this was the late 1980s. By today’s standards, everything was rudimentary. And locating a backup? That definitely was for the IT department.

Except, horror upon horror upon horror, it was Sunday evening. Who would be around? And the changes from earlier drafts of the document had been mammoth. There was no way I had the time or energy to start the revisions over. But there also was no way I was greeting the partner Monday morning with a stubbly face, dark rings under my eyes and a half-assed document. That would be a real career-limiting move.

For an hour, I searched and searched some more. Throughout, I groaned with panic. Eventually, a kind evenings-and-weekends assistant heard me. “Oh, call this pager number,” she said. “It’s for IT. If it’s important enough, they’ll come in.”

Come in? On a Sunday evening? Now that definitely wasn’t something I’d seen at the government. By 9:30, the document was back on my computer screen. And Monday morning, the partner had a hard copy on his desk. I acted as if drafting it had been a walk in the park. More like a walk into quicksand. For days after, I offered profuse thanks to the IT person for saving me. Eventually he told me to shut up.

My protagonists worry about murder, not lost documents. But for those sixty minutes on that Sunday, to me, the horror seemed just as real.  

What's your worst IT catastrophe, Readers?  Share with us here in the comments!

False Guilt

 Paul Tews, a rising Toronto mergers and acquisitions lawyer, is on a leave of absence for anxiety. An invitation to Rome from a woman with whom he’d once had a close encounter seems like a perfect remedy. Instead he finds that all things captivating have an ugly side. Friends confess baffling secrets. An art collector leads a double life. Passion deceives.

Paul must save himself from it all—and his past involvement with murder. 

Visit me at
And find my books at , and Sleuth of Baker Street in Toronto.


Peter Fritze practiced law as a solicitor in an Ontario government agency, partner in a major Toronto law firm and general counsel of a Canadian multinational. He’s now following his lifetime interest in storytelling by writing thrillers.

In April 2014, Peter self-published The Case for Killing. It’s the tale of two plans for murder colliding against the backdrop of a fictitious Toronto law firm, Collins, Shaw LLP.

False Guilt was self-published in February 2015. Taking place in Toronto and Rome, a Collins, Shaw lawyer battles his past involvement with murder.

Peter was born in Hamilton, Canada and raised in nearby Dundas. He now lives in Toronto.



  1. Peter, I smiled widely when reading this! I was a BBS sysop in the 1990s, before the internet was fully established. This made me rather smug about my computer abilities. Now, I curse every time I have to 'learn' a new Word version! IT people are like doctors. I need them for my health :)

    1. Thanks, Melodie! Other 2015 curses: too many app updates, replying from Wordpress to Blogger and, dare I say it, Word to eBook file conversions. Peter Fritze

  2. The worst thing that happened to me was losing a whole set of report cards to the great computer space, which I barely understood then and understand even less now. The really bad thing - I was the principal and I had bragged I could read all the teachers' reports online. I got saved by a darling IT guy too! I tried to marry him but he already had a wife and my husband said no too. So all I could do was say thanks. Love the sound of your books, Peter. I'm gonna git me one.

    1. Thanks Catherine! That IT guy must have been flattered! Peter

  3. Hey Peter, hey Melodie. Fun post and great material for me to Tweet.

  4. My biggest IT near disaster wasn't my fault - for once. The guy who would later become my husband... and later still my ex, was setting up my computer. We were flirting while he worked He must have got a bit distracted because I caught him, just in time, about to delete my hard drive.

    1. That must have been a mean flirt :) Obviously, it worked! You have two lovely kids.