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What the legal sector could learn from anarchists

Posted by: Laurence Simons 14/12/15
The news that the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, is welcoming Mario Calabresi as its new editor has pleased many – but not Adriano Sofri. The journalist stepped down almost immediately after hearing the news, he claims because of his close relationship with the outgoing editor, but many assume it is because he was directly involved in Calabresi’s father’s murder.

Let me explain. Calabresi’s father, a policeman linked to the death of a notorious rebel in custody in 1969, was shot dead by a group of left-wing extremists in Milan in 1972. And who is alleged to be morally responsible for this? Adriano Sofri, who is now the ripe age of 72 but, during his younger years, was a member of the far-left group Lotta Continua and helped to rally a two-year hate campaign against Calabresi through the group’s newspaper.

He has faced jail for instigation of murder, but having returned to his journalist post, would have faced the far more personal punishment of working for Calabresi’s son had he not left. As Vittorio Feltri, a journalist, commented: “[Leaving is] a choice reflecting his embarrassment. You cannot work at the paper run by the son of someone whose death you are believed to be morally responsible for.” You might be wondering how this affects those working within the legal sector – well, other than those who were involved in his trial – but something can be taken from this story.

Although it is far more extreme, it may serve as a reminder that it is rarely advisable to burn bridges when you leave a practice, as you never know where people you left behind will end up. Leaving a firm with a sour taste in your mouth can be detrimental for the future if you come across people again further on in your career – as I’m sure Adriano Sofri would be happy to explain.