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The Promise and Perils of Law

The Promise and Perils of Law

Lawyers in Canadian history

Edited by Constance Backhouse and W Wesley Pue


The papers that make up this volume were produced on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the opening of Osgoode Hall, one of Toronto’s landmark buildings. This event presented a unique opportunity for reflection on the legal profession and its role in Canadian history. The “legal profession” is simultaneously a trade organization, a corporate ideology, an important cultural actor, and an aggregation of individuals known both for their zealous pursuit of their clients’ interests and for their assertive individualism. This book offers essays that seek to add to the understanding of Canada’s legal profession and to provide a background to inform conversation concerning its past, present, and future.


W Wesley Pue
An Introduction to Osgorde Hall on Its 175th Anniversary: More than Bricks and Mortar
Deidré Rowe Brown

Part 1 - Historical Perspectives on Legal Education

Slamming the Door on Brains: Two Early Twentieth-Century Law Schools and the Narrowing of Educational Opportunity
David G Bell
"Good Government, without Him, is Well-nigh Impossible": Training Future (Male) Lawyers for Politics in Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, 1920-1960
Mélanie Brunet

Part 2 - Historical Reflections on the Practice of Law

Stratification, Economic Adversity, and Diversity in an Urban Bar: Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1900-1950
Philip Girard and Jeffrey Haylock
Megafirm: A Chronology for the Large Law Firm in Canada
Christopher Moore

Part 3 - Quebec: A Distinct Legal History

Civil Law, Legal Practitioners, and Everyday Justice in the Decades following the Quebec Act of 1774
Jean-Philippe Garneau (translated by Steven Watt)
The Legal Profession and Penal Justice in Quebec City, 1856-1965: From Modernity to Anti-Modernity
Donald Fyson

Part 4 - The Rule of Law, Impeachment, and Bureaucratic Regulation

The Court and the Legal Profession: Loyalist Lawyers and the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in the 1780s
Jim Phillips
"Guardians of Liberty": R M W Chitty and the Wartime Idea of Constitutional Rights
Eric M Adams

Part 5 - Race Issues: Diversifying the Bar and Its Legal Strategies

Ethelbert Lionel Cross: Toronto's First Black Lawyer
Susan Lewthwaite
If Your Life is a Leaf: Arthur Eugene O'Meara's Campaign for Aboriginal Justice
Hamar Foster

Part 6 - Gender Issues: The Impact of Women on the Profession

"Into the Rough of Things": Women Lawyers in British Columbia, 1912-1930
Dorothy E Chunn and Joan Brockman
"A Revolution in Numbers": Ontario Feminist Lawyers in the Formative Years 1970s to the 1990s
Constance Backhouse

List of Contributors/ Index


Published March 2009
Publisher Irwin Law (Canada)
ISBN 9781552211663
Australian RRP $70.00
International Price $66.00
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Law - Legal History
Law - Legal Profession / Legal Practice
Law - Canadian Law

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