In the many panics during the Bar Readers’ Course when I was expected to adventure incompetently into the criminal law, the criminal lawyers whom I made sure to be nice to referred me to ‘the Bible’, Ross on Crime. Leafing through it disconsolately one day, I noticed the chapter entitled ‘Jazz’. What a revelation. After that, I knew he was a character, but not until I read his obituary in The Age did I realise how much of a character the Bar has lost. I wonder whether the very English form of academic eccentricity which has always been a halmark of the Bar, and the qualities of true professionalism which it sounds like Ross personified, are on the wane, whether any of my contemparies will be David Rosses of the future.
I never met the man who passed away recently having succumbed to motor neurone disease. I did read his book on advocacy, Advocacy. It is beautifully written, short.