Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario's Lawyers, 1797-1997

The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario's Lawyers, 1797-1997

Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 396
  • Book Info
    The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario's Lawyers, 1797-1997
    Book Description:

    It is an authoritative and lively history of the Law Society of Upper Canada and of Ontario's lawyers, from the founding of the Society by ten lawyers in 1797, to the crises which shook the society and the legal profession in the mid-1990s.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2337-8
    Subjects: Law, History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Preface
    (pp. 7-10)
  4. CHAPTER ONE Becoming Learned and Honourable, 1797–1822
    (pp. 11-64)

    At the beginning it was deceptively simple. At eleven in the morning on Monday, 17 July 1797, the first day of Trinity term in the legal calendar, ten lawyers gathered at Wilson’s Hotel in the town that is now Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and was then Newark, Upper Canada. The ten, two-thirds of all the lawyers then practising in the colony, had come together to found the Law Society of Upper Canada.

    They were a diverse group. John White, the attorney general of Upper Canada, was the only London-trained barrister among them. Robert Gray, the solicitor general, had at least studied some...

  5. CHAPTER TWO Lawyers for the Emerging Giant, 1822–1871
    (pp. 65-134)

    There was a new assertiveness to the Law Society of Upper Canada after 1822, In 1822, when the new act made the treasurer and benchers (not the membership at large) a body corporate with full power to run the Law Society, the benchers proudly commissioned a corporate seal for the society,‘incorporated 1822,’ to symbolize their new standing. Even before acquiring their new powers, the benchers had been moving away from the small numbers and limited mandate of the early years. By 1825, convocation was seeking to ensure that it had a representative from each district of the province, and by...

  6. CHAPTER THREE A New Profession, 1871–1914
    (pp. 135-186)

    Making convocation elective produced nothing like the cataclysm the benchers had feared. Adam Crooks and Matthew Crooks Cameron, who had boycotted the non-elective convocation, and Edward Blake, the most conspicuous non-appointee, were elected, but fifteen of the nineteen incumbents who sought election in 1871 (among almost sixty candidates) were also returned. The bar seemed to share Hillyard Cameron’s views on the kind of ‘merit and position’ that should be rewarded, for the elective bench was composed of recognized leaders of the bar much as the old self-appointed one had been. The result won the approval even of the conservativeCanada...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR The Last Patricians, 1914–1950
    (pp. 187-234)

    When the first world war began in August 1914, the Law Society reacted as English-speaking Canada did, with a ‘ready, aye, ready’ enthusiasm for the cause. Militia service had been fashionable in the peaceable Victorian years, and lawyers from socially prominent families – or seeking entry to that milieu – often held militia commissions. When war came, the amateur soldiers mobilized as speedily as their predecessors had done in 1812. The Law Society’s former secretary Duncan Donald, an officer of the 48th Highland Regiment since its formation in 1891, immediately took command of a battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Malcolm Mercer,...

  8. CHAPTER FIVE A New Agenda, 1950–1970
    (pp. 235-280)

    Near the end of the second world war, treasurer Lally McCarthy had formed a blue-ribbon panel to consider what might befall the legal profession when the war ended. Fear of a postwar depression was pushing the Canadian state into modern economic planning on Keynesian lines, and the government had asked professional bodies to assist by surveying their own future prospects. McCarthy headed the committee, assisted by fellow bencher James McRuer, a Liberal party activist soon to be named (on McCarthy’s recommendation) to the Court of Appeal, and by Clyde Auld, an Oxford-trained law professor at the University of Toronto.


  9. CHAPTER SIX Questions of Control, 1970–1997
    (pp. 281-340)

    The fifth law society act, the first full revision since 1912, became law in 1970. It had had a long gestation. Convocation had been discussing changes it wanted made in its constitution since 1963. Nevertheless, the draft act that convocation considered in February 1968 mainly reorganized existing legislation and removed redundant or obsolete clauses. The changes proposed were neither radical nor threatening. Then came McRuer. ‘We ... were almost ready to make our submissions to the legislature when the McRuer report was received’ lamented a Law Society delegation at a high-level meeting in the office of Premier John Robarts in...

    (pp. 343-344)
  11. Appendix 2 TREASURERS OF THE LAW SOCIETY, 1797–1997
    (pp. 345-346)
  12. Appendix 3 Tables: Law Society Annual Dues and Fees, 1887–1995
    (pp. 347-350)
  13. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 351-352)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 353-382)
  15. Index
    (pp. 383-395)