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Biographies By Year Called to the Bar, Part 1: 1797 to 1940

Biographies of Early and Exceptional Ontario Lawyers of Diverse Communities Arranged By Year Called to the Bar, Part 1: 1797 to 1940

 
For each lawyer, this document offers some or all of the following information:
  • name gender
  • year and place of birth, and year of death where applicable
  • year called to the bar in Ontario (and/or, until 1889, the year admitted to the courts as a solicitor; from 1889, all lawyers admitted to practice were admitted as both barristers and solicitors, and all were called to the bar)
  • whether appointed K.C. or Q.C.
  • name of diverse community or heritage biographical notes
  • name of nominating person or organization if relevant
  • sources used in preparing the biography (note: living lawyers provided or edited and approved their own biographies including the names of their community or heritage) suggestions for further reading
 
The biographies are ordered chronologically, by year called to the bar, then alphabetically by last name. To reach a particular period, click on the following links: 1797–1900, 1901-1910, 1911-1920, 1921-1930, 1931-1940.

For more information on the project, including the set of all biographies arranged by diverse community rather than by year of call, please click here for the Diversifying the Bar: Lawyers Make History home page.
 
 

1797 - 1900

 
Name: HAGERMAN, Nicholas
Male
Born 1761 in New York
Died 1819
Called to the Bar: 1797
Name of Heritage or CommunityDutch
Biographical Information:
Nicholas Hagerman was one of the first practising lawyers of Upper Canada, and one of the ten men who founded the Law Society on 17 July, 1797, at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Hagerman was of Dutch ancestry and born in the colony of New York. A loyalist, he eventually settled in Adolphustown on the Bay of Quinte in 1784 and practised there until his death. He was also a farmer, militia captain and a justice of the peace. Hagerman was elected a bencher of the Law Society. His son, Christopher, became a prominent politician, lawyer and judge.
 
Source: Robert L. Fraser, "Hagerman, Christopher Alexander," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 7. Web. On the founding of the Law Society of Upper Canada, see Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 13-7.
 

Name: MACDONELL, Angus
Male
Born ?
Died 1804
Called to the Bar: 1797
Name of Heritage or CommunityRoman Catholic
Biographical Information:
Angus Macdonell was a founding member of the bar of Upper Canada in 1797, so he cannot be credited with diversifying an institution that he helped to create. However, he was the first Catholic member of a bar that would be dominated for more than a century by Protestants. His loyalist Scottish credentials, ability to speak French, and ambitious, restless nature explain his prominence in the turbulent early days of Upper Canada. Macdonell was appointed the first speaker of its House of Assembly. With limited and varying success, he was also a chemist, inventor, poet, man of business, and politician, and from 1794, an attorney. He became the Law Society's third Treasurer in 1801. Along with more than two dozen other passengers, including other leaders of the colony’s legal profession, Macdonell died during a storm on Lake Ontario in the wreck of the HMS Speedy, on route to Newcastle to defend an Ojibwe man who was charged with murder.
 
Derived from Allan J. MacDonald, "Angus Macdonell," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 5 (University of Toronto/Université Laval). Web. See also Brendan O'Brien, Speedy Justice: The Tragic Last Voyage of His Majesty's Vessel Speedy (Toronto: Osgoode Society, University of Toronto Press, 1992).
 
 
Nom: BABY, Charles
Homme
Né en 1806 à Québec
Décédé en 1871
Admission au Barreau: 1828
Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone; catholique romain
Biographie:
Charles Baby est fils de la famille Francophone catholique romaine la plus en vue du Haut- Canada. Son père, Jacques, qu'on appele aussi James, siège au comité exécutif et au conseil législatif du Haut-Canada. Me Baby prend part à la Rébellion de 1837 et 1838. Un des premiers avocats catholiques romains en Ontario, il pratique à York (Toronto) et à Sandwich (Windsor) dont il devient maire. Me Baby est aussi connu comme l'avocat qui a essayé d'aider Nelson Hackett, un esclave qui avait fui l'Arkansas et qui a été extradé aux États-Unis en 1842. Me Baby devient conseiller au Barreau du Haut-Canada en 1850 et y siège pendant une vingtaine d’années.
 
Nomination faite par Jean Yves Pelletier. Sources : Elizabeth Burrell and Evelyn G. McLean, A Mansion on the Detroit Frontier: The Duff-Baby Story, A Bicentennial Celebration (Windsor: Amis Duff- Baby, 1998); Elizabeth Abbott-Namphy, « Nelson Hackett », Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 7 (University of Toronto/Université Laval) Web.
 
 
Name: BABY, Charles
Male
Born 1806
Died 1871
Called to the Bar: 1828
Name of Heritage or CommunityFrancophone; Roman Catholic
Biographical Information:
Charles Baby was a scion of the most influential Francophone and Roman Catholic family in Upper Canada. His father, Jacques, sat on Upper Canada's Executive and Legislative Councils. Charles served in the Rebellions of 1837 and 1838. One of the first Roman Catholic lawyers in Ontario, he practised in York (Toronto) and Sandwich (Windsor), and became mayor of the latter. Baby is also remembered as the lawyer who tried to assist Nelson Hackett, a fugitive slave from Arkansas, who unsuccessfully fought extradition to the United States in 1842. Baby became a bencher of the Law Society in 1850 and served for about twenty years.
 
Nominated by Jean Yves Pelletier. Sources: Elizabeth Burrell and Evelyn G. McLean,  A Mansion on the Detroit Frontier: The Duff-Baby Story, A Bicentennial Celebration (Windsor: Amis Duff- Baby, 1998); Elizabeth Abbott-Namphy, "Nelson Hackett," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
v. 7 (University of Toronto/Université Laval). Web.
 
 
Name: O'REILLY, James
Male
Born 1823 in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland
Died 1875
Called to the Bar: 1847
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or Community: Irish Catholic
Biographical Information:
James O’Reilly emigrated to Canada in 1832. Articling and studying with John Hagarty and other leading men of the bar in eastern Ontario, he became a prominent lawyer and businessman. He was well-connected in Catholic and legal circles through his involvement in lay and religious organizations, his terms as alderman and recorder of Kingston in the 1850s and 1860s, his service as a bencher of the Law Society from 1869 to 1875, and his large criminal and civil practice. His most famous case was the prosecution of Patrick Whelan, the assassin of D’Arcy McGee in 1868. In politics he was a Conservative and was asked to run for election as MP for South Renfrew by Sir John A. Macdonald to counter Catholic discontent with the party. He was elected but left politics in 1874, preferring law to politics. Swainson notes that O’Reilly rather than John O’Connor (see biography) would have been the first Irish Catholic appointed as a superior court judge, had he not died in 1875.
 
Source: Donald Swainson, "O'Reilly, James," Dictionary of Canadian Biography v. 10 ; Nicholas Flood Davin, The Irishman in Canada, (Toronto: 1877), 367-71; George Spaight, reporter,“Trial of Patrick James Whelen for the murder of the Hon. Thomas D'Arcy McGee,” Ottawa Times 1868, Internet Archive, www.archive.org/details/cihm_23543. Web.
 
 
Name: O'CONNOR, John, Jr.
Male
Born 1824 in Boston, Mass.
Died 1887 
Called to the Bar: 1854
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities; Irish Catholic
Biographical Information:
John O'Connor was Ontario’s first Irish Catholic judge. He decided on the legal profession after he lost a leg in a lumbering accident at age 19; he used a wooden leg and cane. O’Connor began his legal career with the influential Roman Catholic Baby family in Windsor. He soon entered local politics and served in the 1850s and 1860s as councillor, reeve and warden of Essex County. After Confederation, he represented Essex from 1867 to 1874 as Ontario’s only Catholic member of Parliament, and thus was useful to the Conservatives during a a period in which Catholics were demanding greater influence in government and politics. O’Connor was also an outspoken opponent of the Fenian movement. However, he was disappointed in the minor cabinet positions he was given and unable, because of illness and political responsibilities, to maintain his law practice. He was appointed to the Queen’s Bench in 1884 but sat only three years before his death.
 
Sources: Donald Swainson, "John O'Connor," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 11 (University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2000). Web; David Read, Lives of the Judges of Upper Canada and Ontario (Toronto: Roswell & Hutchison, 1888), 425-34. See also J. C. Dent, The Canadian Portrait Gallery v. 4 (Toronto: J. B. Magurn, 1881), 164-5.
 
 
Name: SUTHERLAND, Robert
Male
Born 1830 in Jamaica
Died 1878
Called to the Bar: 1855
Name of Heritage or CommunityBlack
Biographical Information:
The son of an African-Jamaican mother and a Scottish father, Robert Sutherland is considered to be the first Black university student, university graduate, and lawyer in Ontario. Identified as "coloured" in the records of Queen's University, Kingston, he graduated with honours in classics and mathematics in 1852. After starting his career in Berlin (Kitchener), he practised in Walkerton until his death in 1878. He left his entire estate to Queen's University, and in so doing ensured the university's survival during a major financial crisis. In 2009, following an initiative by students, Queen's renamed a building Robert Sutherland Hall in honour of its first major benefactor.
 
Sources: Lance C. Talbot, "History of Blacks in the Law Society of Upper Canada," Law Society of Upper Canada Gazette 24:1 (March 1990) 65-70; Ian Malcolm, "Robert Sutherland: The First Black Lawyer in Canada?" Law Society of Upper Canada Gazette 26:2 (June 1992) 183-6; "Robert Sutherland," Queensu.ca, Queen's University. Web. 15 Sep. 2009.
 
 
Name: MACLELLAN, Archibald Leitch
Male
Born 1832 in Greenock, Scotland
Died 1902 
Admitted as a Solicitor: 1860
Name of Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities
Biographical Information:
Archibald MacLellan was the first deaf lawyer in North America, and his brother, Duncan, was the second. The sons of a Scottish merchant and shipowner, they were educated at the Glasgow Institution for the Deaf and Dumb. After emigrating, Archibald studied law at Osgoode Hall Law School and clerked for prominent lawyers during the 1850s. He scored high marks in his examinations in 1860. However, the judges (who with the Law Society were responsible for the regulation of solicitors) were surprised and dubious when he applied to be admitted. They were soon convinced by the testimony of MacLellan's masters and other experts as to his capabilities for running a law office. Archibald practised in Madoc, Belleville, Campbellford and Trenton, with his brother from 1865 and also with L.U.C. Titus, and with the help of his hearing sister, Catherine. He died in 1902. See the biography of Duncan MacLellan for more on their practice.
 
Nominated by Ann-Marie Langlois. Sources: Clifton F. Cargin, Deaf Heritage in Canada: A Distinctive, Diverse and Enduring Culture (Whitby, On: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1996) 251-3 and 514, fn. 10; William Robert Roe, Peeps Into the Deaf World (Derby, UK: Bemrose & Sons, 1917), 342; 1851 Scotland Census, Parish: Dunoon and Kilmun; ED: 9; Page: 10; Line: 6; Roll 944, Ancestry.com. Web; McLellan, Archibald, Scottish Old Parochial Records (OPR) Births, Greenock 1832, compiled by the General Register Office, UK. Scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Register Office. Web; 1891 Census of Canada, Ontario, West Hastings, Trenton, Archibald MacLellan household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web. With the assistance of Michael Olson, Gallaudet University, Florida.
 
 

Name: KERR, William John Simcoe
Male
Born 1840 at Brantford, Upper Canada
Died 1875

Called to the Bar: 1862
Name of Heritage or CommunityAboriginal
Biographical Information:
William John Simcoe Kerr was the second known member of the Law Society of Upper Canada of partial Aboriginal descent. He was the descendant of two powerful military leaders and allies, Chief Joseph Brant (Thayendanagea) of the Mohawks and Sir William Johnson, superintendent of Indians in the late eighteenth century. Simcoe Kerr functioned as an intermediary among the Iroquois and between the British and the Iroquois during the period in which Aboriginal peoples lost many powers of self-government. Four years after he became a lawyer, he assumed the hereditary chieftaincy of the Six Nations at Grand River, serving from 1866 to 1875. In 1870, Aboriginal leaders from across Canada met on Six Nations lands to strategize about laws constraining their peoples and lands. Kerr, elected chairman, offered interpretations of the existing acts, section by section, to worried and angry attendees. He also contributed to the Indian Act of 1876, the legislation that defined Indian status and set out policies and structures for the management and anticipated assimilation of Aboriginal peoples.

 
Nominated by Jacqueline Briggs. Sources: William J. Simcoe Kerr, The General Council of the Six Nations, and Delegates from Different Bands in Western and Eastern Canada (Hamilton, 1870) CIHM 05766; Sally Weaver, “The Iroquois: The Consolidation of the Grand River Reserve in the Mid- Nineteenth Century, 1847-1875,” in Edward S. Rogers and Donald B. Smith, eds., Aboriginal Ontario: Historical Perspectives on the First Nations (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1994), 182-212. Image (detail, Kerr on left) from David Gray, “The Last Indian Council on the Genesee,” Scribner’s Monthly 14, 3 (July 1877), 338-49, at 345. Google Books. Books.google.ca
 
 
Name: MACLELLAN, Duncan
Male
Born 1836 in Greenock, Scotland
Died 1920 
Admitted as a Solicitor: 1865
Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities
Biographical Information:
Duncan MacLellan was the second deaf lawyer in North America. He was congenitally disabled as was his older brother Archibald (see biography). The MacLellan siblings built a profitable chancery and common law practice serving mining industry clients and working for other lawyers in eastern Ontario, and at least once Duncan appeared before the Court of Appeal. Using neither lip- reading nor the single-handed signing system taught to deaf children in the province at that time, they communicated with each other in a double-handed alphabet they had learned in Scotland.
An unmarried sister, Catherine, helped in the office and was their interpreter for four decades. In 1907, a few years after the deaths of his brother (1902) and sister, Duncan closed his office. His last years were sad and he died in the House of Providence in Kingston in 1920. However, the
story of the MacLellans’ success in the legal and hearing worlds was used to inspire deaf children in Ontario in the 1870s and is remembered in a Canadian history of deaf persons.
 
Nominated by Ann-Marie Langlois. Sources: Clifton F. Cargin, Deaf Heritage in Canada: A Distinctive, Diverse and Enduring Culture (Whitby, On: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1996) 251-3 and 514, fn. 10; William Robert Roe, Peeps Into the Deaf World (Derby, UK: Bemrose & Sons, 1917), 342; “He is Deaf and Dumb, and Yet he Appeared as Counsel at Osgoode Hall,” The Silent Worker [Trenton, New Jersey] v. 6, 1 (Sep. 1893), 11; 1851 Scotland Census, Parish: Dunoon and Kilmun; ED: 9; Page: 10; Line: 6; Roll  944.  Ancestry.com. Web; 1891 Census of Canada, Ontario, West Hastings, Trenton, Archibald MacLellan household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web; McLellan, Duncan, Scottish Old Parochial Records (OPR) Births, Greenock 1836, compiled by the General Register Office, UK. Scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Register Office. Web. With the assistance of Michael Olson, Gallaudet University Archives.
 
 
Name: MURPHY, Nicholas
Male
Born c. 1842 in Ontario
Died 1907
Called to the Bar: 1864
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or Community: Irish Catholic
Biographical Information:
Nicholas Murphy, Q.C., was a leading Irish Catholic criminal lawyer in Toronto, and a prominent Canadian advocate of home rule for the Irish in the United Kingdom.
 
Source: Brian P. Clarke, Piety and Nationalism: Lay Voluntary Associations and the Creation of an Irish- Catholic Community in Toronto (McGill-Queen's University Press, 1993), 1850-1895, 226, 231.

 
Name: WHITE, Solomon
Male
Born 1836 on the Huron Reserve near Amherstburg, Ontario
Died 1911
Called to the Bar: 1865
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityAboriginal
Biographical Information:
Solomon White was the first person of Aboriginal heritage called to the Bar of Ontario. White was the son of a Wyandot chief and a Francophone woman. He practised in Windsor and Cobalt, though he was also a farmer, businessman, and politician. In 1877, he and his father gave up their Indian status by choice, and profited personally, by promoting the conversion of some Huron Reserve lands from commonly held to individually owned lands, thereby accelerating the assimilation of the Wyandot people. However, from 1878 to 1894 (except for 1886-1890), White sat as a Conservative member of the provincial parliament, the first Aboriginal member and “the first legislator in Ontario to voice native concerns and attitudes.” (Demski) He argued for the provincial enfranchisement of Aboriginals, for native land rights, and for clemency for Aboriginals who took part in the North-West Rebellion of 1885, positions that led to his defeat at the polls. He was named K.C. in 1908.
 
Derived solely from Peter E. Paul Demski, “Solomon White,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 14 (University of Toronto/Université Laval). Web.
 
Nom: LAPIERRE, Horace
Homme
Né vers 1846
Décédé en 1882 à Ottawa en Ontario
Admission comme procureur: 1866
Admission au Barreau: 1869
Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone
Biographie :
Horace Lapierre, fils de tailleur, était l’un des premiers avocats francophones ayant pratiqué sur la rue Sparks, à Ottawa, avec Martin O’Gara et Edward Remon.
 
Nomination faite par Jean-Yves Pelletier. Voir également l’annonce dans La Gazette d’Ottawa, 3 février 1879, 1.
 
 
Name: LAPIERRE, Horace
Male
Born c. 1846 in Quebec
Died 1882 in Ottawa
Admitted as a Solicitor: 1866
Called to the Bar: 1869
Name of Heritage or CommunityFrancophone
Biographical Information:
Horace Lapierre, the son of a tailor, was an early Francophone lawyer who practised on Sparks Street in Ottawa with Martin O’Gara and Edward Remon.
 
Nominated by Jean Yves Pelletier. See also, advertisement, La Gazette d’Ottawa, 3 Feb. 1879, 1.
 
 
Nom: TAILLON, George
Homme Né en 1847
Décédé en 1885
Admission comme procureur: 1866
Admission au Barreau: 1869
Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone
Biographie :
L’un des premiers avocats francophones ayant pratiqué avec William Mosgrove sur la rue Rideau à Ottawa.
 
Nomination faite par Jean-Yves Pelletier. Catalogué dans The Province of Ontario Gazetteer and Directory (Toronto: Robertson and Cook, 1869), 361.
 
 
Name: TAILLON, George
Male
Born 1847
Died 1885
Admitted as a Solicitor: 1866
Called to the Bar: 1869
Name of Heritage or CommunityFrancophone
Biographical Information:
An early Francophone lawyer who practised with William Mosgrove on Rideau Street in Ottawa.
 
Nominated by Jean Yves Pelletier. Listed in The Province of Ontario Gazetteer and Directory (Toronto: Robertson and Cook, 1869), 361.
 
 
Name: O'DONOHOE, John
Male
Born 1824 in Tuam, Galway, Ireland
Died 1902
Called to the Bar: 1869
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or Community: Irish Catholic
Biographical Information:
A leading Toronto Irish Catholic lawyer and lawyer, O’Donohoe was an astute politician who navigated through political and lay organizations for more recognition and patronage appointments for the Catholic community in Ontario. Briefly an MP for East Toronto in 1874, O’Donohoe was more effective in the meeting rooms of lay Catholic organizations he headed or founded, including the St. Patrick’s Benevolent Society in Toronto, the Ontario Catholic League in 1871, and the Toronto Land League. He led his supporters to the Reform party during Confederation but switched to John A. Macdonald’s Conservative Party by 1877. In appreciation of his ability to keep Catholics Conservative in federal elections, Macdonald appointed him a senator in 1882.
 
Sources: Brian P. Clarke, Piety and Nationalism: Lay Voluntary Associations and the Creation of an Irish- Catholic Community in Toronto (McGill-Queen's University Press, 1993), 1850-1895, 221; for a brief discussion of the conflicts within the Catholic community and how they played out in in provincial and federal politics, with mention of O’Donohue, see Brian P. N. Beaven, "Fraser, Christopher Finlay," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 12 (University of Toronto/ Université Laval, 2000).
 
 
Name: BARRY, John
Male
Born c. 1825 in Ireland
Died 1887
Called to the Bar: 1870
Name of Heritage or Community: Irish Catholic
Biographical Information:
John Barry was an alderman and eminent citizen in Hamilton. He may have been the first Irish Catholic lawyer in that city.
 
Source: Nicholas Flood Davin, The Irishman in Canada, (Toronto: Maclear, 1877), 379.
 
 
Name: FOY, James Joseph
Male
Born 1847 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1916
Called to the Bar: 1871
Q.C. 1883
Name of Heritage or Community: Irish Catholic 
Biographical Information: 
J.J. Foy was a prominent Irishman, devout Roman Catholic, successful lawyer and important Tory politician. He served as crown attorney for York and was elected a bencher of the Law Society, serving from 1881 to 1891 and from 1901 to 1906. First elected as a MPP in 1898, he was Attorney General in the Conservative provincial government of Premier Whitney from 1905 to 1916. Irish Canadian newspapers held up Foy’s success as an example of the rising acceptance and importance of Irish Catholics in the wider community. He was described by an admirer quoted in Canadian Men and Women of the Time as “one of the whitest of public men.”
 
Sources: Nicholas Flood Davin, The Irishman in Canada, 659; Charles W. Humphries, "Whitney, Sir James Pliny," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, v. 14 (University of Toronto/Université Laval); Mark G. McGowan, The Waning of the Green: Catholics, the Irish and Identity in Toronto, 1887 – 1922 (Montreal & Kingston: Queen’s University Press, 1999), 215; Henry James Morgan, The Canadian Men and Women of the Time, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Wm Briggs, 1912), 416; George Wilkie, ed. The Bench and Bar of Ontario (Toronto: Brown-Searle, 1905), 267.

 
Name: KLEIN, Alphonse Basil
Male
Born 1851
Died after 1926
Admitted as a Solicitor: 1874
Called to the Bar: 1879
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityGerman
Biographical Information:
Alphonse Klein was the first German-speaking barrister in Ontario, and possibly the first German-speaking judge in Canada. He was a reeve in Walkerton, Ontario from 1892-3, and then appointed a judge for the County of Bruce in 1893.
 
Source: "Klein, Alphonse Basil Klein," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.
 
 

Name: HELLMUTH, Isidore Frederick
Male
Born 1854 in Sherbrooke, Quebec
Died 1944

Called to the Bar: 1877
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information: 
Sometimes considered the first Ontario lawyer of partial Jewish heritage, Hellmuth was, in practice, a prominent Anglican. He was the son of Isaac Hellmuth, a rabbi who by the time of his son's birth had converted to Christianity, married an Anglican woman, and become an Anglican bishop and educator. His mixed religious heritage is an example of the difficulties of categorizing people into single and discrete communities based on ancestry. Hellmuth had an illustrious career in the law. He was a barrister of the Inner Temple, England, and became a bencher of the Law Society (elected from 1911-1926). Hellmuth also was an early tennis star, the winner of the first Canadian international tennis championship in 1881.

 
Sources: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 179; H.E. Turner, "Hellmuth, Isaac," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, v.13 (University of Toronto/Université Laval); "Hellmuth, Isidore," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009; “Hall of Fame/Players/Isidore F. Hellmuth,” tenniscanada.com. Web. June 2010.
 
 

Nom: OLIVIER, Louis Adolphe
Homme 
Né en 1850 à St-Joseph au Quebec
Décédé en 1888 à Ottawa en Ontario

Admission au Barreau: 1879
Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone
Biographie: 
MeLouis Adolphe Olivier est le premier avocat franco-ontarien nommé à la magistrature en Ontario. Il est également le premier à recevoir un doctorat honorifique (L.L.D.) de l’Université d’Ottawa en 1888. Il est juge des comtés unis de Prescott et Russell depuis sa nomination en avril 1888 jusqu’à son décès prématuré en octobre 1888 lors d’une réunion d’amicale.

 
Nomination faite par Jean-Yves Pelletier. Sources : « Cabinet du recteur :  doctorats honorifiques », uottawa.ca. Université d’Ottawa. Web. Mars 2010; « Une courte histoire juridique de Prescott et Russell », Le Barreau de Prescott et Russell. 23 février 2007 Web. Mars 2010. Voir aussi Jean-Yves Pelletier, Nos magistrats (Ottawa : Éditions L'Interligne, 1989), p. 112.
 
 
Name: OLIVIER, Louis Adolphe
Male
Born 1850 in St-Joseph, Quebec
Died 1888 in Ottawa
Called to the Bar: 1879
Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone
Biographical Information:
Louis Adolphe Olivier was the first franco-Ontarian lawyer appointed to the bench in Ontario. He was also the first recipient of an honorary doctorate (LLD) from the University of Ottawa in 1888. He briefly served the United Counties of Prescott and Russell from his appointment in April 1888 until his premature death in October 1889 at a class reunion.
 
Nominated by Jean Yves Pelletier. Sources: "Office of the President: Honorary Doctorates," uottawa.ca. University of Ottawa. Web. March 2010; "A Short Legal History of Prescott and Russell," Prescott and Russell Law Association. 23 Feb. 2007 Web. March 2010. See also Jean Yves Pelletier, Nos Magistrats (Ottawa: Éditions L'Interligne, 1989), 112.
 
 
Name: BITZER, Conrad
Male
Born 1853 in Preston, Ontario
Died 1903
Called to the Bar: 1881
Name of Heritage or CommunityGerman
Biographical Information:
Conrad Bitzer was the first German-speaking lawyer to practise in Berlin (Kitchener) and area, the largest enclave of Ontarians of German heritage. Bitzer's parents immigrated from Germany. After he earned a B.A. and was called to the bar, Bitzer returned to Berlin, Ontario to practise law with two prominent firms, and then on his own from 1892. Bitzer was a member of Berlin's political and business elite. He served as town councillor, mayor in 1892, sat on the local board of trade, and ran as a Liberal candidate in the federal election of 1900. His son, Arno, continued the practice at his death in 1903.
 
Source: Elizabeth Bloomfield, "Lawyers as Members of Urban Business Elites in Southern Ontario, 1860 to 1920," in Carol Wilton, ed., Beyond the Law: Lawyers and Business in Canada 1830 to 1930 (Toronto: Osgoode Society, 1990), 128, 134-6.
 
 

Nom: BELCOURT, Napoleon Antoine
Homme
Né en 1860 à Toronto en Ontario
Décédé en 1932

Admission au Barreau: 1884
Q.C.
Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone
Biographie: 
En tant qu’avocat, éducateur, propriétaire de journal et politicien, Me Belcourt utilise ses talents et ses compétences pour défendre et promouvoir les écoles de langue française en Ontario. Il est un des rares avocats de la fin du dix-neuvième siècle à pratiquer au Québec et en Ontario. En 1896, il est été élu député libéral d'Ottawa, et, pendant une courte période, il est président de la Chambre des communes en 1904. En 1907, il est nommé au Sénat par le premier ministre Laurier. Me Belcourt devient responsable du premier Congrès des Franco-Ontariens en 1910. En 1914, il comparaît devant la Cour suprême de l'Ontario et plus tard devant le Comité judiciaire du Conseil privé de Londres en Angleterre, pour essayer d’empêcher le gouvernement de l'Ontario d'adopter des règlements qui allaient restreindre l'utilisation du français dans les écoles. Même s'il n'a pas gagné ces batailles juridiques, Me Belcourt et ses partisans ont eu une victoire partielle puisque les règlements n'ont pas tous été mis en œuvre.

 
Source : Hector Charlesworth, ed. Cyclopaedia of Canadian Biography (Toronto: Hunter-Rose, 1919), 61; « Profil biographique Napoléon-Antoine Belcourt, 1860-1932. » Ressources franco-ontariennes. n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2010.
 
 

Name: BELCOURT, Napoleon Antoine
Male
Born 1860 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1932

Called to the Bar: 1884
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityFrancophone
Biographical Information:
Belcourt was a lawyer, educator, newspaper owner, and politician who used his talents and advantages to defend and promote French-language schooling in Ontario. He was one of the few lawyers in the late nineteenth century to practise in both Quebec and Ontario. In 1896, he was elected as a Liberal MP for Ottawa, serving briefly as Speaker of the House of Commons in 1904. In 1907 he was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Laurier. Belcourt became the head of the first Congress of Franco-Ontarians in 1910. In 1914, he appeared before the Supreme Court of Ontario and later the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, England to try to prevent the Ontario government from implementing regulations that would restrict the use of French in its schools. Though they lost the legal battles, Belcourt and his supporters claimed a partial victory as hated “Regulation 17” was not fully implemented.

 
Source: Hector Charlesworth, ed. Cyclopaedia of Canadian Biography (Toronto: Hunter-Rose, 1919), 61; "Profil biographique Napoléon-Antoine Belcourt, 1860-1932." Ressources franco-ontariennes. n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2010.

 
Name: DAVIS, Delos Rogest
Male
Born 1846 in Maryland, U.S.
Died 1915
Admitted as a Solicitor: 1884
Called to the Bar: 1886
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityBlack
Biographical Information:
Delos Davis was the second Black man to become a member of the bar of Ontario. From 1871, he studied law and worked as a commissioner of affidavits and then as a public notary, but could not secure an articling position. Despite the opposition of the Law Society, he successfully petitioned the legislature for admission to the bar of Ontario by special statute, as a solicitor (1884) and as a barrister (1886). The admitting statutes state that “in consequence of prejudices against his colour, and because of his being of African descent he had not been articled to any attorney or solicitor.” He practised in Gesto and Amherstburg, and with his son Frederick did criminal and municipal work. He was appointed the first Black K.C. in the British Empire in 1910. As Owen Thomas notes, Davis, the son of a former slave, "did much to expand what was considered to be an acceptable role for Blacks in Canada."
 
Source: Owen Thomas, "Delos Rogest Davis," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 16 (University of Toronto/Université Laval). Web. See also Julius Isaac, "Delos Rogest Davis, K.C.," Law Society of Upper Canada Gazette 24:4 (December 1990).
 
 

Nom: VALIN, Joseph Alphonse
Homme
Né en 1856 à Ottawa en Ontario
Décédé en 1945

Admission au Barreau1884
Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivitéFrancophone
Biographie:
M. Valin pratique à Ottawa et est un leader du barreau Francophone. Il est aussi un des fondateurs de l'Association de droit du comté de Carleton. De 1895 à 1934, il est juge des cours de district et de comté de l'Ontario, du district de Nipissing, après avoir été nommé par le premier ministre Mackenzie Bowell. Il est aussi un des tuteurs légaux des quintuplées Dionne.

 
Source : Philip Girard, « Politics, Promotion, and Professionalism: Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Judicial Appointments, » in Jim Phillips, R. Roy McMurtry, and John T. Saywell, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 2008), 198-9, fn 64. See also Jean Yves Pelletier, Nos Magistrats (Ottawa: Éditions L'Interligne, 1989), 121.
 
 
Name: VALIN, Joseph Alphonse
Male
Born 1856 in Ottawa, Ontario
Died 1945
Called to the Bar: 1884
Name of Heritage or CommunityFrancophone
Biographical Information:
Joseph Valin was a leader of the Francophone bar and one of the first Francophone judges in Ontario. Practising in Ottawa, he was also a founder of the Carleton County Law Association. From 1895 until 1934, he served as judge of the Ontario County and District Courts, Nipissing District, named to the bench by Prime Minister Mackenzie Bowell. He also was appointed one of the official guardians of the Dionne quintuplets.
 
Source: Philip Girard, "Politics, Promotion, and Professionalism: Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Judicial Appointments," in Jim Phillips, R. Roy McMurtry, and John T. Saywell, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 2008), 198-9, fn 64. See also Jean Yves Pelletier, Nos Magistrats (Ottawa: Éditions L'Interligne, 1989), 121.

 
Name: WISSLER, Henry
Male
Born 1860 in Salem, Ontario
Died 1953
Called to the Bar: 1886
Name of Heritage or CommunityGerman
Biographical Information:
Henry Wissler was one of the first German-speaking lawyers in Ontario. His parents, a Pennsylvania German father and a mother born in Scotland, founded the village of Salem in Wellington County. Wissler practised in Elora and Guelph.
 
Source: John Robert Connon, The Early History of Elora, Ontario and Vicinity (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University, 1975), 123-7. 
 

Name: LUDWIG, Michael Hermann
Male
Born 1867 in Sebringville, Ontario
Died 1937 
Called to the Bar: 1889
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityGerman
Biographical Information:
Herman Ludwig won the Gold Medal at Osgoode Hall Law School and later taught at Osgoode from 1890 to 1892. A Toronto lawyer active in legal organizations, he was president of the Ontario Bar Association in 1913. He was elected a bencher from 1913 until 1936, when he was elected the first Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada of German heritage.
 
Source: "Ludwig, Michael," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009. 
 
 
Name: ROHLEDER, Frederick
Male
Born 1863 in Germany
Called to the Bar: 1889
Name of Heritage or CommunityGerman
Biographical Information:
Frederick Rohleder emigrated from Germany in 1878, according to the 1911 census records, and thus was probably the first German person born outside of Canada to become a lawyer in Ontario. He practised in Berlin (Kitchener), Ontario.
 
Source: Elizabeth Bloomfield, "Lawyers as Members of Urban Business Elites in Southern Ontario, 1860 to 1920," in Carol Wilton, ed., Beyond the Law: Lawyers and Business in Canada 1830 to 1930 (Toronto: Osgoode Society, 1990), 129.
 
 
Name: KING, Samuel
Male
Born 1867 in Whitby, Ontario
Died 1963 
Called to the Bar: 1891
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Samuel King became the first lawyer in Ontario known to be Jewish when he was called to the bar in 1891. As Christopher Moore notes, the first few Jewish lawyers, including Samuel King, did not experience the professional barriers that Jewish law students faced after the First World War. King was the son of German-Austrian immigrants who prospered as leather merchants. He attended the University of Toronto and became part of the legal and social establishment, and was a member of several elite clubs including the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (Moore, 179).
 
Source: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 179; "King, Samuel," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009; 1891 Census of Canada, Ontario, Ontario South, Whitby, Charles King household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web.
 
 
Name: STEWART, William
Male
Born ?
Died ?
Called to the Bar: 1891
Name of Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities
Biographical Information:
William Stewart attended Queen's University, earning the gold medal in mathematics. Shortly after graduating with a B.A., he became blind as a result of smallpox contracted in Montreal in 1878 or 1885 (the newspaper accounts vary). He was the first blind student of Osgoode Hall, aided in his studies by his friends, and the first blind lawyer in the history of the Law Society of Upper Canada, but nothing about his subsequent career is known.
 
Sources: "A Totally Blind Prospective Lawyer," St. Andrews, N.B. Pilot Bay 6, 28 (15 Nov. 1888), 4; "A Blind Barrister," Nelson (New Zealand) Evening Mail 25, 188 (Aug. 10, 1891), 4.
 
 

Name: O’CONNOR, Michael Joseph
Male
Born 1862

Died 1945
Called to the Bar: 1892
K.C.
Name of Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities
Biographical Information:
Michael Joseph O'Connor was a successful criminal lawyer for over 20 years. According to his obituary, he was "a brilliant speaker, he could address a jury with no mean display of oratorical talent and his success as a criminal lawyer seemed assured. But a physical ailment in the form of catarrh [inflammation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory system] lost to him the power of his voice." He was subsequently appointed Deputy Magistrate in the Ottawa Police Court at age 69, retiring in 1932 at age 79.

 
Contributed by Ann-Marie Langlois. Source: "O’Connor, Michael," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database. Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2010. 
 

Name: MARTIN, Clara Brett
Female
Born 1874 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1923
Called to the Bar: 1897
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
Clara Brett Martin's remarkable achievement was to become the first woman lawyer, not only in Ontario but in the British Commonwealth, in 1897. In the process, she experienced opposition, discrimination and ridicule and she showed determination, courage and a sense of her own place in history. In 1989, newly discovered evidence of Martin's anti-Semitic attitudes and actions provoked hot debate. Historians, lawyers and feminists discussed the difficulties in recognizing and applauding the special achievements of pathbreakers like Martin without condoning their failings. Martin's record also stimulated discussion on how much scholarly attention, positive and negative, should be given to the first individual from any given community, in preference to the first few, or the first generation who drive changes such as diversifying the bar.
 
Nominated by John Clarke of the Simcoe Law Association. See Constance Backhouse, "To Open the Way for Others of my Sex': Clara Brett Martin's Career as Canada's First Woman Lawyer," Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 1 (1985) 1-41; “Clara Brett Martin: Canadian Heroine or Not?” Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 5 (1992), 263; Marlee Kline and Brenda Cossman,“‘If not now when’: Feminism and Anti-Semitism Beyond Clara Brett Martin” (1992) Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 5 (1992), 298; Lynne Pearlman, “Through Jewish Lesbian Eyes: Rethinking Clara Brett Martin," Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 5 (1992), 320.
 
 

Nom: CARON, Jean Baptiste Thomas
Homme
Né en 1869 à Garneau au Québec
Décédé en 1944

Admission au Barreau: 1898
Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone
Biographie: 
Thomas Caron obtient son diplôme de l'Université Laval en 1895. Après avoir été admis au Barreau, il combine le droit et la politique en devenant député libéral de 1907 à 1908. Me Caron est président de la Société Saint-Jean Baptiste locale. Il est nommé juge à la Cour de district de Cochrane en 1923. Me Caron est le seul juge francophone dans le grand district du Nord-Est de l’Ontario de 1923 à 1939.

 
Nomination faite par l'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario. Source : Henry James Morgan, The Canadian Men and Women of the Time:  A Hand-book of Canadian Biography of Living Characters (Toronto: W. Briggs, 1912), 202. Avec l’aide de Jean-Yves Pelletier.
 
 

Name: CARON, Jean Baptiste Thomas
Male
Born 1869 in Garneau, Quebec
Died 1944

Called to the Bar: 1898
Name of Heritage or CommunityFrancophone
Biographical Information: 
Thomas Caron graduated from Laval University in 1895. After his call to the bar, he combined law with politics, serving as a Liberal Member of Parliament in 1907-8. Caron was the president of the local St. Jean Baptiste Society. He was appointed District Court Judge at Cochrane in 1923. Caron was the only French-speaking judge in this large district of northeastern Ontario from 1923 to 1939.

 
Nominated by the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario. Source: Henry James Morgan, The Canadian Men and Women of the Time: A Hand-book of Canadian Biography of Living Characters (Toronto: W. Briggs, 1912), 202. With the assistance of Jean Yves Pelletier.

 
Name: DIGNAN, Ralph Hubert
Male
Born 1863 In London, Ontario
Died 1935 
Called to the Bar: 1898
Name of Heritage or Community: Roman Catholic
Biographical Information:
A third generation Irish Canadian, R. H. Dignan was one of the first Roman Catholic lawyers to practise in the London, Ontario area. He served for many years as the registrar of deeds for the County of Middlesex. One of his sons became Bishop Ralph Hubert Dignan of Sault Ste. Marie.
 
Sources: Francis G. Carter, The Middlesex Bench and Bar (London, On.: Middlesex Law Association, 1969), 13; Ralph Hubert Dignan, Ontario death registration 024444 (1935); digital image, Ancestry.com, citing microfilm MS 935, reel 394, Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

 
Name: LEVY, Gabriel Herman
Male
Born 1874 in Hamilton, Ontario
Died 1941
Called to the Bar: 1898
K.C. 1921
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; German
Biographical Information:
The son of German-born Jewish parents who owned a wholesale jewellers in Hamilton, Gabriel Levy became a well-educated man and well-connected lawyer. He earned a BA at the University of Toronto before he was twenty and did post-graduate studies at the University of Bonn, Germany, before graduating from Osgoode Law School. In partnership with Sir John Gibson and others, he had a large corporate clientele among the city of Hamilton’s largest firms and institutions, including the Hamilton Street Railway and National Steel Car Co. He was also a director in several corporations and retained an interest in the large family jewellery concern. Following other family members who were its founding members, he became president of the first Reform Jewish congregation in Canada., the Hughson Street Synagogue. However, his “communal and philanthropic…activities [were] not confined to any one creed.” (Hart, 380) He belonged to prominent social clubs, and was the only Jew in Canada to be a member of the “Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Dominon of Canada.” He was also an international champion whist player and sportsman.
 
Sources: Hector Charlesworth, ed. Cyclopaedia of Canadian Biography (Toronto: Hunter-Rose, 1919), 211; Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 380.
 
 

Name: DAVIS, Frederick Homer Alphonso
Male
Born 1871

Died 1926
Called to the Bar: 1900
Name of Heritage or CommunityBlack
Biographical Information: 
Frederick Davis was the third Black lawyer in Canada, the first to be called to the bar in the twentieth century, and the last for more than two decades. He practised with his father, Delos Rogest Davis, in Amherstburg.

 
Source: Owen Thomas, "Delos Rogest Davis," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 16 (University of Toronto/Université Laval). Web.
 
 
 

1901 - 1910

 
Name: POWLEY, Eva Maude
Female
Born 1875 in Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1902
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
The second woman called to the bar in Ontario and in Canada, Eva Powley practised in Port Arthur, Ontario. In 1908, she was interested in learning about women lawyers in other parts of Canada (there was only one, Mabel Penery French, admitted to the New Brunswick Bar in 1907) and wrote to the Law Society of British Columbia asking about the rules under which women could be admitted in that province (there were none until the same Mabel Penery French was admitted to the Bar of British Columbia in 1912 following a legislative amendment). By 1933, Powley was living in Winnipeg, "engaged in a coal business," and no longer practising, like many of the first generation of women lawyers, including Mabel Penery French.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 2; Mary Jane Mossman, The First Women Lawyers: A Comparative Study of Gender, Law and the Legal Professions (2006), 82-88.
 
 
Name: COHEN, Arthur
Male
Born c. 1882 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1975
Called to the Bar: 1906
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Arthur Cohen was a highly educated lawyer at a time when there was no prerequisite for university education for a career in law. He earned two degrees at the University of Toronto and became the gold medallist in his graduating class at Osgoode Hall Law School. He practised in an elite Toronto firm and was able to offer articling positions to young Jewish law students in a period in which anti-Semitism blocked their access to most law offices. Cohen appeared before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, England, when that was the court of last resort for Canadians (Moore, 179-80). He was also a pioneer of the Canadian film industry.
 
Sources: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 179-80; "Cohen, Arthur," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.
 
 

Name: WRIGHT, Geraldine Bertram
Female
Born ?
Died 1967

Called to the Bar: 1907
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information: 
The third woman lawyer called to the bar in Ontario, Geraldine Robinson Wright was a founding member of the Women's Law Association of Ontario and served as its third president in 1920.

She practised law in St. Thomas for two years with her husband, Ward Wright, a bencher of the Law Society, but later devoted most of her time to painting and service work.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 3. Obituary, Law Society Gazette 1,1 (May 1967).
  
 
Name: HEWSON, Grace Ellen
Female
Born 1885 in Barrie, Ontario
Died 1973 
Called to the Bar: 1908
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
Grace Hewson Knight was the daughter of Judge Charles Hewson who presided on Manitoulin Island and in the Sudbury District. Ms. Hewson practised mostly real estate law. In 1912 she married Cyril W. Knight, a geologist. She was the fourth woman to be called to the bar in Ontario, but according to her obituary, “she always preferred to be called the fourth in the British Empire to demonstrate how slow all countries were in recognizing women’s rights.”
 
Source: Obituary reprinted in Through the Years: Manitoulin History and Genealogy 3, 11 (September 1986), 29; Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 2.
 
 
Name: SINGER, Louis Michael
Male
Born 1885 in Galicia, Austria
Died 1959 
Called to the Bar: 1908
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Polish
Biographical Information:
Of Polish heritage, Louis Singer arrived in Toronto in 1886 with his parents. Singer won the Gold Medal at Osgoode Hall Law School. He was one of the first Jewish lawyers in Toronto, specializing in bankruptcy and corporate law. In 1914, he became the second Jewish alderman of the city. He was an eloquent speaker who argued against the disenfranchisement of foreign-born citizens in the First World War. In the 1930s, Singer often represented the management side in labour disputes with the needle trades unions.
 
Sources: Laurel Sefton MacDowell, Renegade Lawyer: The Life of J.L. Cohen (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001), 51-2. Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 384.
 
 
Name: DAVIS, Lionel
Male
Born 1884 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1943
Called to the Bar: 1909
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Lionel Davis belonged to an old Toronto Jewish business family and became part of the legal establishment. When he joined Beatty Blackstock in 1910, three years after he was called to the bar, he was one of the first non-Christian lawyers to be hired by a large firm in Toronto. The event signifies that progressive firms of the day were looking beyond immediate family connections to find talented associates, according to C. Ian Kyer. Davis later moved into his own practice, contributed pro bono advice to many, and ran the family business.
 
Sources: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 179; See also C. I. Kyer, "The Transformation of an Establishment Firm: From Beatty Blackstock to Faskens, 1902-1915," in Carol Wilton, ed., Inside the Law: Canadian Law Firms in Historical Perspective (Toronto: Osgoode Society, University of Toronto Press, 1996), 187, 194.
 
 
Name: KING, Oscar Herman
Male
Born 1886 in Ontario
Died 1962
Called to the Bar: 1910
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Oscar King, whose parents emigrated from Austria and Bavaria by 1870, practised in Toronto in one of the first Jewish law firms in Ontario.
 
Source: 1901 Census of Canada, Ontario, Toronto (Centre), Ward 3, 604, Joseph King household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web.
 
 
 

1911 - 1920

 
Name: SINGER, Joseph
Male
Born 1890 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1967
Called to the Bar: 1911
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Polish
Biographical Information:
Joseph Singer was a Toronto politician and lawyer from a prominent Jewish family with roots in Polish Galicia. After winning the Osgoode Hall Law School Gold Medal and the inaugural VanKoughnet Scholarship in 1911, he practised with his brother, Abraham, in Toronto. In 1916, he was founder and first president of the Jewish Political Association, whose members were interested in education, immigration and other "problems affecting the Jewish people." Singer was first elected as a city councillor in Toronto, in 1920, and in 1923, became the first Jewish person to win city-wide election to the Board of Control. According to The Jew in Canada, he led the successful campaign against corruption in the Toronto police department. He also took part in provincial politics and was at one time the Deputy Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. Singer was active in many Jewish organizations.
 
Sources: "Jewish Political Association," Toronto Star, 16 April 1915, 2; "Singer, Joseph," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009; Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 380.
 
 

Nom: CHEVRIER, Edgar Rodolphe Eugène, c.r.
Homme
Né en 1887 à Ottawa en Ontario
Décédé en 1956

Admission au Barreau: 1912
Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone
Biographie:
Après ses études à l'Université d'Ottawa et à Osgoode Hall, E. R. E. Chevrier est admis au Barreau de l'Ontario et du Québec et pratique à Ottawa. Politicien libéral, il représente Ottawa à la Chambre des communes de 1921 à 1936. Me Chevrier laisse sa place en 1936 lorsque le premier ministre Mackenzie King fait de lui le premier Francophone à la Cour suprême de l'Ontario, à la chambre de la Haute Cour; cette nomination contrarie beaucoup d'anglophones à l’époque. Me Chevrier est aussi le premier Franco-Ontarien nommé à la Cour d'appel de l'Ontario en 1953.

 
Nomination faite par l'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario. Voir Philip Girard, « Politics, Promotion, and Professionalism: Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Judicial Appointments », in Jim Phillips, R. Roy McMurtry, and John T. Saywell, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 2008), 189-93; « Mr. Justice E.R.E. Chevrier Passes, » Ottawa Citizen 27 Aug. 1956, 5. Web. 10 Apr. 2010.
 
 

Name: CHEVRIER, Edgar Rodolphe Eugène
Male
Born 1887 in Ottawa, Ontario
Died 1956

Called to the Bar: 1912
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityFrancophone
Biographical Information:
A
fter attending the University of Ottawa and Osgoode Hall, E. R. E. Chevrier became a member of the bars of Ontario and Quebec and practised in Ottawa. A Liberal politician, he represented Ottawa in the House of Commons from 1921 to 1936. Chevrier resigned his seat when Prime Minister Mackenzie King appointed him, in 1936, as the first Francophone to the Supreme Court of Ontario, High Court Division; his elevation upset many Anglophones. Chevrier was also the first Franco-Ontarian appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1953.

 
Nominated by the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario. See Philip Girard, "Politics, Promotion, and Professionalism: Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Judicial Appointments," in Jim Phillips, R. Roy McMurtry, and John T. Saywell, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 2008), 189-93; "Mr. Justice E.R.E. Chevrier Passes," Ottawa Citizen 27 Aug. 1956, 5. Web. 10 Apr. 2010. 
 
 
Name: MEHR, Samuel Max
Male
Born 1885 in Russia
Died 1968
Called to the Bar: 1912
K.C. 
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Russian
Biographical Information:
Samuel Mehr was an early Jewish lawyer in Ontario and the key figure in a court case that changed how the Law Society deals with complaints of misconduct against its members. Mehr was disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1954 for "conduct unbecoming a barrister and solicitor" – he kept funds that belonged to his client, the government of Nationalist China, because, Mehr stated, the monies were owed to him. The Law Society's decision to disbar him was twice upheld in court, but Mehr appealed his case to the Supreme Court of Canada. He argued that the proceedings of the Discipline Committee deciding his status were unfair. The Supreme Court agreed, Sam Mehr was reinstated, and the Law Society began to formalize its discipline hearings. Since 1955, only Law Society Discipline Committee members who hear the evidence are qualified to take part in discipline decisions that affect the careers of Ontario lawyers.
 
Source: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 248. See also Mehr v. The Law Society of Upper Canada, [1955] S.C.R. 344. Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada. Supreme Court of Canada.
Web. Oct. 2009
 
 
Name: SINGER, Abraham
Male
Born 1887 in Ontario
Died 1966
Called to the Bar: 1912
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
With his brother E. Frederick Singer, Abraham Singer, whose parents emigrated from Austria, was one of the early Jewish lawyers in Toronto.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. 
 
 

Name: SINGER, Ephraim Frederick
Male
Born 1889 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1953

Called to the Bar: 1912
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
E. Frederick Singer graduated from the University of Toronto in 1909 with a BA and in 1912 with his LLB. He practised with his brother Abraham, who was called to the bar the same year. Like several other early Jewish lawyers, Singer was active in Jewish organizations and supported Jewish causes. He served as president of Mount Sinai Hospital from 1922 and of the Big Brother Movement, Jewish Branch. In 1929, as a Conservative in a downtown Toronto immigrant riding, Singer became the first Jewish member elected to the Ontario Legislature. He was also the first Jewish politician in Canada to promote legislation to protect Jews from discrimination. In 1931, he successfully introduced legislation that prohibited insurance companies from engaging in discriminatory practices, but it was unenforceable, and ineffective against growing antisemitism.

 
Sources: "Singer, Ephraim Frederick," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009; Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 392; Stephen Speisman, “Antisemitism in Ontario,” in Alan T. Davies, ed., Antisemitism in Canada: History and Interpretation (Waterloo, On.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1992), 122; James W. St. G. Walker, “The ‘Jewish Phase’ in the Movement for Racial
Equality in Canada,” Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal 34,1 (Mar. 2002), 1-29.
 
 
Name: CAIRNS, Jean
Female
Born 1886
Died 1982
Called to the Bar: 1913
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
The fifth woman called to the bar in Ontario, Jean Cairns used her married name, Mrs. P. R. Morris, from 1917. She was the first woman member of the Hamilton Law Association. She practised with her husband and later her daughter.
 
Sources: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 2; "HLA History." n.d. The Hamilton Law Association. Hamilton Law Association. Web. February 2010.
 
 
Name: HERLICK, Carl M.
Male
Born 1891 in Austria
Died 1966
Called to the Bar: 1913
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Carl or Max Herlick or Herzlich was schooled in New York City and Toronto, and returned to university in New York to obtain an LLB in 1910. He subsequently practised in Toronto. Like many of his Jewish colleagues of the period between the World Wars, Herlick advertised his services in the Toronto Jewish Directory.
 
Source: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 402; Toronto Jewish Directory 1925 (Publishing Advertising Company, Toronto, v. 1925) and 1931 (International Publishing Agency, Toronto, 1931). Ontario Jewish Archives. Web. 10 July 2009.
 
 
Name: PHILLIPS, Nathan
Male
Born 1892 in Brockville, Ontario
Died 1976
Called to the Bar: 1913
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Nathan Phillips' maternal grandparents emigrated from Lithuania to Cornwall, Ontario, in the 1850s; his father was Polish, born in Russia. Phillips decided as a young man to become both a lawyer and a politician. He articled with Robert Smith, a Liberal politician and later a Supreme Court justice.  In 1929, he became the youngest K.C. in Ontario and perhaps the Commonwealth. He practised general law for ten years, and served as president of the County of York Law Association. He is reported to have said, "The greatest satisfaction a lawyer can get in his profession...is to win a decision which shatters a long-standing injustice." (Toronto Star) Phillips entered municipal politics in 1923. After several failed attempts to win a seat as a provincial Conservative MPP, he became the first Jewish mayor of Toronto (1955-1962), though he preferred to be known as "mayor of all the people." Phillips is remembered for the new Toronto City Hall (1965); the square bordering it is still called Nathan Phillips Square.
 
Sources: "Nathan Phillips, 83, 'Mayor of All the People,' Dies," Toronto Star, 7 January 1976, A10; Nathan Phillips, Mayor of All the People (Toronto; Montreal : McClelland and Stewart, 1967); Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 397.
  
 
Name: CARRUTHERS, Charles Wattie
Male
Born 1886 in Avening, Ontario
Died 1976
Called to the Bar: 1914
Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities
Biographical Information: 
Charles Carruthers was blind from age five. He graduated from the Ontario School for the Blind and earned a BA from the University of Toronto before attending law school. However, his legal career lasted only two years. Carruthers changed professions and became a well-known osteopathic doctor in Toronto.  He was one of the founders of the Canadian National Institute of the Blind.
 
Sources: "Carruthers, Charles Wattie," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009; "CNIB Founders: Charles Carruthers," www.cnib.ca, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, n.d. Web. May 2010.

 
Name: FACTOR, Samuel
Male
Born 1891 in Russia
Died 1962
Called to the Bar: 1915
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Russian
Biographical Information:
Samuel Factor emigrated from Russia as a small child with his parents and settled in Toronto. He interrupted his law practice in 1917 for World War I army service as a squadron leader.
Factor began his political career as a member of the Board of Education in 1923. In 1930, he became the first Jewish Member of Parliament elected from Ontario (Liberal), and for fifteen years represented a mostly immigrant and Jewish downtown Toronto riding. He was appointed a York County Court judge in 1945 and served on the bench for seventeen years. Samuel Factor believed that drug addiction was a medical problem and spoke out against harsh criminal treatment of addicts.
 
Sources: "Judge Samuel Factor was MP 15 years," Toronto Star, August 22, 1962, 25. Web; Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 403.
  
 

Name: LAUGHTON, Mary Elizabeth
Female
Born c. 1890

Called to the Bar: 1915
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
T
he seventh woman to become a lawyer in Ontario, and a graduate of the University of Toronto in 1912, Mary Buckley and her lawyer husband Harry Laughton practised together in Toronto.

Her 1920 magazine article exhorted women to take up the profession of law; "a woman lawyer," she wrote, "has an exceedingly important place in the community." In 2004, she was honoured by the Women's Law Association of Ontario as a founding member.
 
Sources: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933; Mary Laughton, "Women in Law", MacLean's Magazine 33 (April 20, 1920), 74.
 
 
Name: PATERSON, Edith Louise
Female
Born 1891 in Vancouver, B.C.
Died 1980
Called to the Bar: 1915
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
The sixth woman to be called to the bar in Ontario, and the second to be called in British Columbia (in 1916), Edith Paterson grew up in Vancouver but was educated in Montreal and Toronto. She was one of the few female lawyers of the 1920s to appear in court, mostly in civil and divorce cases. In 1929 she became a judge of the juvenile court, the first member of Law Society of British Columbia and the second woman to be so appointed. She returned to private practice and eventually married Hamilton Read, her law partner of more than twenty years, and like most practising women lawyers of the period, did not have children. Edith Paterson retired in 1970 after a career lasting more than five decades.
 
Sources: Joan Brockman, "Exclusionary Tactics: The History of Women and Visible Minorities in the Legal Profession in British Columbia," in John McLaren and Hamar Foster, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: British Columbia and the Yukon (Toronto: Osgoode Society, University of Toronto Press, 1995), 529-35, n. 195 at 559; Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933. See also the Law Society of British Columbia Legal Archives, Edith Paterson fonds.
 
 
Name: ALFORD, Gertrude
Female
Born 1891
Died 1975
Called to the Bar: 1916
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
A member of the first cohort of women lawyers in Ontario, Gertrude Alford worked as a
“typewriter” in the City Clerk’s Office of Belleville before becoming a lawyer. She practised for many years in Trenton and Belleville in the firm of Mikel & Alford. She also worked several years in the Department of the Attorney General.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933.
 
 
Name: SHULMAN, Percy
Male
Born c. 1893
Died 1968
Called to the Bar: 1916
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
One of the first generation of Jewish lawyers in Ontario, Percy Shulman practised with Samuel Factor. He was the first president of the Reading Law Club, founded 1947, the main organization for Jewish lawyers who were barred from membership in the Advocates Society until 1952.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. See Sophia Sperdakos, A Forum for Discussion and a Place of Respite: Jewish Lawyers and Toronto’s Reading Law Club,” forthcoming 2011.
 
 
Name: FINKLE, Henry Mortimer
Male
Born 1893 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1962
Called to the Bar: 1917
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Harry Finkle, or Finklestein, was one of the first generation of Jewish lawyers in Ontario. In his early career, he worked in the office of the Judge Advocate General in the Department of Militia and Defence. He also practised with Jacob Pearlstein, another early Jewish lawyer.
 
Source: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 402.
 
 
Name: GOODMAN, David Bertram
Male
Born c. 1894 in Acton, Ontario
Died 1969
Called to the Bar: 1917
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
David Goodman won the silver medal at Osgoode Hall Law School. His firm, Goodman & Goodman (his son Eddie joined in 1947) attracted able young Jewish lawyers who found it difficult to secure positions in non-Jewish firms. Known as a philanthropist, and a Conservative in his politics, David Goodman founded a firm that grew to be one of the largest in Toronto by the 1950s.
 
Sources: Christopher Moore, "How Eddie Goodman Changed Legal Practice," lawtimesnews.com
?Sep. 2006. Web. Jan. 2010; "The Goodman-Schipper Chair: Honouring Two Great Graduates of the Faculty of Law," Nexus: University of Toronto Faculty of Law Alumni Newsletter. University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Spring 2000. Web. March 2010.
 
 
Name: CHERRIER, Theresa
Female
Born 1890 in Ontario
Died 1961
Called to the Bar: 1918
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
The eleventh woman lawyer in Ontario, and the third woman Q.C., Theresa Cherrier was a stenographer in Hamilton before she became a student at law. She practised in Hamilton with
W. T. Evans, whose practice she took over when the latter was elevated to the bench.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933. 1911 Census of Canada, Ontario, Hamilton West, Alexander Doston household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web.

 
Name: COHEN, Jacob Laurence
Male
Born c. 1902 in Manchester, England
Died 1950
Called to the Bar: 1918
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Jacob Cohen was a Jewish immigrant and became a brilliant and radical lawyer. According to his biographer, Laurel MacDowell, Cohen was "one of the first specialists in labour law...an architect of the Canadian industrial relations system... a formidable advocate in the 1930s and 1940s on behalf of working people." A Marxist, he had a complicated and sometimes troubled relationship with established institutions, including the Law Society. He was disbarred in 1947 (after being convicted of assault) and reinstated in 1950, shortly before his death, possibly a suicide. He wrote his own epitaph: "He championed all the wrong people in all the right things."
 
Source: Laurel Sefton MacDowell, Renegade Lawyer: The Life of J.L. Cohen (University of Toronto Press, 2001).
  
 
Name: MCNULTY, Mary
Female
Born c. 1895 in Ottawa
Died 1972
Called to the Bar: 1918
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen; Roman Catholic
Biographical Information:
The ninth woman lawyer in Ontario and one of the first Roman Catholic women lawyers, Mary McNulty was the first woman on the debating team at Osgoode Hall Law School. She was described as "charmingly feminine" and a "mere slip of a girl" in a 1918 newspaper story about Ottawa's first woman lawyer. She told the reporter that "women in Ontario have been neglecting an opportunity" by not joining the profession in larger numbers; however, like many of her generation, she left the practice of law. (The second woman lawyer in Ottawa did not arrive until 1950). Mary McNulty became Mary Fix after she married, and began a career as an overseas buyer for the T. Eaton Company. In the 1950s, Mary Fix became the first woman reeve of what was then Toronto Township, later the town of Mississauga.  A park in Missisauga is named in her honour.
 
Sources: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 9, pasted article from Ottawa Citizen,"First Woman Lawyer Here is Charmingly Feminine", n.d. [probably 1918]; Eileen Mitchell Thomas, “Women Lawyers in the Association, One Century,” 107-8, in William C. V. Johnson, ed., The First Century: Essays on the History of the County of Carleton law Association by Various Hands on the Occasion of the Associations’ Centenary, 1888-1988 (Ottawa?, On.: Bonanza Press Limited, 1988).
 
 
Name: PALEN, Helen Beatrice
Female
Born 1885
Died 1971
Called to the Bar: 1918
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
Helen Palen was a court reporter in a law office in Belleville before she became one of the first women lawyers and one of the first to be named K.C. (1935). She practised for ten years in Toronto but spent most of her career in the public service. For a period, Palen was the assistant to Toronto Police Magistrate Colonel George T. Denison. In 1923, she was appointed the Deputy Registrar of the Ontario Securities Commission. According to a 1930 newspaper article, she was one of only three women lawyers employed by the Ontario government. Helen Palen became the first woman Registrar of the Supreme Court of Ontario.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 9; unattributed article, "Government Employs Three Women Lawyers," n.d. [1930?], n. p.; 1911 Census of Canada, Ontario, Hastings West, Belleville, Ezekiel Palen household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web.
  
 
Name: ROTENBERG, Meyer
Male
Born 1894 in Ivansk (Iwaniska), Russian Poland
Died 1958
Called to the Bar: 1918
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Polish
Biographical Information:
Meyer Rotenberg's father was a banker and steamship agent who brought many Jews, including his son, from Russian Poland to Toronto. Meyer became a businessman and lawyer who won the bronze medal at Osgoode Hall Law School. In 1924, he married Mattie Levi who was the first woman and the first Jew to earn a doctorate in physics at the University of Toronto, and later became a CBC journalist. They had five children, all of whom were educated at the first Jewish day school in Toronto, founded and directed by their mother.
 
Source: Michael Brown, "Mattie Rotenberg," Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 20 March 2009. Jwa.org. Jewish Women's Archive. Web. 25 February 2010.
   
 

Name: CAMPEAU, Lovedy Josephine
Female
Born 1894

Died 1980
Called to the Bar: 1919
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
Ms. Campeau was one of the first women lawyers in Ontario, and the first to practise in Essex County. Her doctor father had French Canadian ancestors and her mother was of English heritage. She was the fourth woman to be named Q.C. in Ontario, in 1950. In the early 1930s, she had an extensive real estate and estates practice in Windsor and did some court work. She was one of the two legal agents for the Agriculture Development Board for the County of Essex. After she married, she practised as Mrs. G. C. Scott.

 
Sources: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 17; 1901 Census of Canada, Ontario, Essex South, Colchester, W.J. Campeau household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web.
 
 
Name: GOLDFIELD, Benjamin
Male
Born 1891 in Russia
Died 1944
Called to the Bar: 1919
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
The Goldfield family left Russia and arrived in Canada 1898. By 1911, the family had a butcher shop in Ottawa. Goldfield became the second Jewish lawyer in Ottawa. He was “a leader of Ottawa Jewry,” active in Jewish religious and relief organizations including the Canadian Jewish Immigration Society and the Hebrew Sunday School.
 
Source: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 399; 1911 Census of Canada, Ontario, Ottawa Ward 29, Moir Goldfield household, automatedgenealogy.com, Web; death notice, Toronto Globe and Mail, 20 June 1944, 5.
  
 
Name: HODGINS, Apha Isabella
Female
Born 1892 in Lucan, Ontario
Died 1983
Called to the Bar: 1919
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
Alpha Hodgins, an early female lawyer, was the first Ontario woman law student to earn a top class mark (for commercial law). She practised in Bowmanville and Toronto in the area of wills and insurance trust agreements for insurance agencies, and in the later 1930s, for a firm specializing in mining law. She was the first female president of the Northumberland Law Association.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933.
 

Name: LEE, Muriel
Female
Born c. 1894
Called to the Bar: 1919
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
After graduating from the University of Toronto in 1916, Muriel Lee became the 15th woman lawyer called to the bar in Ontario. She worked in the law firm of her father, Lyman Lee, K.C., in Hamilton, Ontario. She appears to have discontinued her practice after she married, about 1921, and became known as Mrs. Bruce Monroe.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 16.
 
 
Name: LOWN, Norma
Female
Born c. 1889
Called to the Bar: 1919
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
The 13th woman lawyer in Ontario, Norma Lown worked in Toronto for Starr, Spence and Company in stock certificate transfers and company law work.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 14.
 
 
Name: PEARLSTEIN, Jacob David
Male
Born 1894 in Montreal, Quebec
Died 1983
Called to the Bar: 1919
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Jacob David Pearlstein grew up in Hamilton and attended the University of Toronto, graduating with a BA in 1916. He practised with H. M. Finkle, another early Jewish lawyer. He was reported to take “an active interest in all Jewish Movements.”
 
Source: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 402.
 
 

Nom: PLOUFFE, Joseph A. Symaune
Homme
Né en 1893 à Saint-Hermas au Québec
Décédé en 1964

Admission au Barreau: 1919
Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone
Biographie:
L’un des premiers avocats francophones à pratiquer à Sudbury, Me Plouffe est nommé juge des tribunaux de comté et district de l'Ontario, pour le district de Nipissing, où il siège de 1936 à 1964.

 
Source : Francois-X. Ribordy, Les avocats de Sudbury, 1891-1981 (Sudbury, On : Département de sociologie et d'anthropologie, Université Laurentienne, 1982), p. 219. Web. https://zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/110. Dec. 2009. Voir aussi Jean-Yves Pelletier, Nos magistrats (Ottawa : Éditions L'Interligne, 1989), pp. 114-115.
 
 

Name: PLOUFFE, Joseph A. Symaune
Male
Born 1893 in Saint-Hermas, Quebec
Died 1964

Called to the Bar: 1919
Name of Heritage or CommunityFrancophone
Biographical Information:
An early Francophone lawyer who practised in Sudbury, Plouffe became a judge of the Ontario County and District Courts, Nipissing District, from 1936-1964.

 
Source: Francois-X. Ribordy, Les Avocats de Sudbury, 1891-1981 (Sudbury, Ontario: Departement de Sociologie et d'Anthropologie, Université Laurentienne, 1982), 219. Web. https://zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/110. Dec. 2009. See also Jean Yves Pelletier, Nos Magistrats (Ottawa: Éditions L'Interligne, 1989), 114-5.
 
 
Name: RYAN, John Aloysius
Male
Born c.1894 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1931
Called to the Bar: 1919
Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities
Biographical Information:
Despite being blind, John Ryan was able to secure an articling position with a Roman Catholic lawyer, Thomas O'Connor, in Toronto. He was called to the bar shortly after he was married in 1919, but by 1927, he had left the practice of law. By the time he died of heart disease, at only 36 years old, he had become a hotel keeper, as his father had been.
 
Sources: "Ryan, John Aloysius," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009; John Aloysius Ryan-Henrietta Robinson, Ontario Marriage Registration (1919), Archives of Ontario MS932_478; Ancestry.com Web. June 2010; John Ryan, Ontario Death Registration (1931), Archives of Ontario MS 935_416, Ancestry.com Web. June 2010.

 
Name: SILK, Aileen Isabel
Female
Born c. 1896
Died 1943
Called to the Bar: 1919
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
The 14th woman lawyer, Aileen Silk earned a BA at the University of Toronto. She practised in Toronto until her marriage in 1923, when she changed her name to Mrs. James Bicknell.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 15.
 
 
Name: DENTON, Laura
Female
Born c. 1891
Called to the Bar: 1920
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
Laura Denton (later Mrs. George Duff) was a co-founder of the Women's Law Association and organized its first meeting in 1919 in the law office of her father, Frank Denton, with whom she worked. She and her brother, Frank, carried on her father's practice after his death, at least until 1923. For many years, she was elected to the Senate of Victoria College, University of Toronto.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933.

 
Name: GLASS, John Judah
Male
Born 1895 in Lachva, Russia
Died 1973
Called to the Bar: 1920
K.C.
Name of Heritage or Community: Jewish
Biographical Information:
The son of a furrier, John Judah Glass migrated with his parents from Russia to England and finally to Canada, arriving in 1908 at age 13. He earned a BA from the University of Toronto in 1917. Glass was active in city and provincial politics from the 1920s. Following the example of E.F. Singer, another early Jewish lawyer-politician (see biography), Glass searched for legislative and legal solutions to combat the antisemitism of the day. As chair of the Toronto Parks Commission, he was able to prohibit “Gentiles Only” signs on city-owned beach property (though they proliferated on private property). While MPP (Liberal) for the largely immigrant ward of St. Andrew in Toronto from 1934 through 1943, Glass tried to introduce legislation against racial slander, unsuccessfully. He was active in Jewish organizations and served as president of the Canadian Federation of Polish Jews. In 1945, Glass was disbarred from the Law Society of Upper Canada but readmitted in 1959.
 
Sources: 1911 Census of Canada, Ontario, Toronto South, Maurice Glass household, automatedgenealogy.com, Web; Stephen Speisman, “Antisemitism in Ontario,” in Alan T. Davies, ed., Antisemitism in Canada: History and Interpretation (Waterloo, On.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1992), 122; James W. St. G. Walker, “The ‘Jewish Phase’ in the Movement for Racial Equality in Canada,” Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal 34,1 (Mar. 2002), 1-29.

 
Name: KERT, Lawrence
Male
Born 1896
Died 1976
Called to the Bar: 1920
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Lawrence Kert was an early Jewish lawyer and a founding member of the Toronto Lodge of B'nai Brith.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov.
 
 
Name: KINNEAR, Helen Alice
Female
Born 1894 in Cayuga, Ontario
Died 1970
Called to the Bar: 1920
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
Helen Kinnear broke several barriers for women lawyers in Canada and abroad. From her home town of Port Colborne, she was active in Liberal political associations and became the first woman in the Commonwealth to be appointed K.C., in 1934. Apparently the first woman to appear before the Supreme Court of Canada, in 1935, Kinnear was also the first woman lawyer in the British Empire to be appointed to a superior court judgeship, as the County Court Judge of Haldimand, in 1943. A few years later, she told a Chatelaine magazine reporter that, “When she marries, the woman gives up her income and her economic independence. That's the root of a great deal of domestic strife." In 1965 she became the first woman to receive a medal from the John Howard Society of Ontario for her public service, contributions to the profession, and concern for the rights of the offender.
 
Nominated by Robert Yantz of the Haldimand Law Association. See Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 21 and Vol. 8, unattributed newspaper clipping, "Award John Howard Medal to Judge Helen Kinnear," n.d. [April 1965], n.p.; Elsie Jenkins, "Hi, Judge," Chatelaine, May 1949.
 
 
Name: LUXENBERG, Benjamin
Male
Born 1897 in Brooklyn, New York
Died 1993
Called to the Bar: 1920
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
At Osgoode Hall Law School, Benjamin Luxenberg was a top law student, winning the Silver Medal in his graduating class, and securing an articling position with Sir Allen Aylesworth, a bencher and prominent politician. Luxenberg became a pioneer in bankruptcy law. Christopher Moore cites his bankruptcy practice as an example of one way in which Jewish lawyers worked around the discrimination they faced - by developing legal specialties which in turn brought them clients from beyond the Jewish community. Benjamin Luxenberg was awarded the Law Society Medal in 1990.
 
Sources: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 201; Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 403. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme. 
 
 

Name: ROBINSON, Vera Alexandra
Female
Born c. 1897
D
ied 1979
Called to the Bar: 1920
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
Vera Robinson entered into partnership with another early woman lawyer, Helen Currie. She later became a law librarian, first at the Phillips Stewart Library at Osgoode Hall in 1927 and then at the York County Law Library in 1930. Vera Robinson served as the seventh president of the Women's Law Association in 1928. In 1935, she married Henry L. Cartwright, a lawyer in Kingston. She became a partner in his firm and practised under her married name.

 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 47.
 
 
Name: TAYLOR, Gladys Verona
Female
Born c. 1897
Called to the Bar: 1920
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
Verona Taylor (after her marriage, also known as Mrs. Joshua Whatmough) did not practise law but joined the York County Law Library as librarian, a position she held from 1920 to 1930. She was a legal scholar and the co-author of Annotations to the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1927.
 
Sources: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 18; John D. Honsberger, The County of York Law Association: A History of the First Hundred Years, 1885-1995 (Toronto: County of York Law Association, 1989), 105. See G. V. Taylor and F. C. Snider, Annotations to the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1927 (Toronto: Carswell, 1930).
 

 

1921 - 1930

 
Name: LEVINTER, Isadore
Male
Born 1898
Died 1980
Called to the Bar: 1921
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Austrian
Biographical Information:
Isadore Levinter was the son of Austrian immigrants who owned a furniture store at Spadina and Queen Streets in Toronto. In his practice, Levinter specialized in plaintiffs' work in personal injury case; according to Jack Batten, he was a "great strategist among civil litigators." Levinter also contributed to his profession's development. He was a founding director of the Advocates' Society (1963) and Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee of the Canadian Bar Association. He was the first Jewish lawyer elected as bencher of the Law Society, in 1956. Levinter served as a board member of the Beth Tzedec Congregation in Toronto.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. Sources: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 201; Jack Batten, Learned Friends: A Tribute to 50 Remarkable Ontario Advocates, 1900-1950 (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2005), 5.
 
 
Name: ROEBUCK, Joseph
Male
Born 1898
Died 1968
Called to the Bar: 1921
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
An early Jewish lawyer who practised in Toronto, Joseph Roebuck advertised his services in the Toronto Jewish Directory of 1925.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. Toronto Jewish Directory 1925 (Publishing Advertising Company, Toronto,v1925), 161. Ontario Jewish Archives. Web. 10 July 2009.
 
 
Name: SCHOTT, Maxwell
Born 1895 in London, Ontario
Died 1982
Called to the Bar: 1921
K.C.
Name of Heritage or Community: Jewish
Biographical Information:
Maxwell Schott was the son of Russian-Polish immigrants who were scrap metal dealers in St. Thomas, Ontario. Schott attended the University of Toronto (BA, 1918) and became the first Jewish lawyer in Windsor.
 
Sources: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 406; 1911 Census of Canada, Ontario, Elgin West, St. Thomas, I. Schott household, automatedgenealogy.com, Web.

Nom: DESMARAIS, Jean-Noel
Homme
Né en 1897 à Masson au Québec
Décédé en 1983

Admission au Barreau: 1922
Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone
Biographie: 
L’un des premiers avocats Francophones, J.-N. Desmarais est diplômé de l'Université d'Ottawa ainsi que de l'école de droit d’Osgoode Hall. Il a pratiqué le droit à Sudbury. Me Desmarais est un des fondateurs de l'Université Laurentienne, créée à partir d'une fédération de collèges de Sudbury en 1960.

 
Source : Francois-X. Ribordy, Les Avocats de Sudbury, 1891-1981 (Sudbury, Ontario : Département de Sociologie et d'Anthropologie, Université Laurentienne, 1982), 107-8, 215. Web. https://zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/110 Retrieved Dec. 2009.
 
 
Name: DESMARAIS, Jean-Noel
Male
Born 1897 in Masson, Quebec
Died 1983
Called to the Bar: 1922
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityFrancophone
Biographical Information:
An early Francophone lawyer, J.-N. Desmarais was a graduate of the University of Ottawa as well as Osgoode Hall Law School. He practised in Sudbury. Desmarais was a founder of Laurentian University, created from a federation of Sudbury colleges in 1960.
 
Source: Francois-X. Ribordy, Les Avocats de Sudbury, 1891-1981 (Sudbury, On.: Departement de Sociologie et d'Anthropologie. Université Laurentienne, 1982), 107-8, 215. Web.
https://zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/110 Dec. 2009.
  
 
Name: FOX, Benjamin
Male
Born 1897 in Budapest, Hungary
Called to the Bar: 1922
Name of Heritage or Community: Jewish 
Biographical Information:
Benjamin Fox was born in Budapest to Austrian Jewish parents in 1899. By 1911, his family was running a dry goods store in Orillia. Benjamin was educated there and at the University of Toronto. In 1918, he served overseas with the Tank Corps. After his call to the bar in 1922, he practised in Ottawa with Samuel Lepofsky, another early Jewish lawyer. According to the Canadian Jewish Review, Fox was “the first Jewish representative on the Ottawa School Board and…the first municipal representative to be elected unopposed by the citizens of Ottawa,” in 1924. Fox left the law in 1929.
 
Sources: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926); 1911 Census of Canada, Ontario, Simcoe East, Orillia, Joseph Fox household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web; Canadian Jewish Review, 4 Jan. 1924, 23.
 
 
Name: MERCIER, Raoul
Homme
Né en 1897 à Ottawa en Ontario
Décédé en 1961
Admission au Barreau: 1922
Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone
Biographie :
Raoul Mercier est le premier étudiant Francophone en droit à Osgoode Hall à gagner des prix pour l’art oratoire et les débats, qui à l'époque, sont faits seulement en anglais. Il revient à Ottawa pour ouvrir son cabinet de droit et aide de nombreux clients Francophones pauvres durant une dizaine d'années pendant la dépression. Au nom de sa participation et de sa contribution au Parti libéral dans le passé, il se permet de demander à Mitchell Hepburn, le premier ministre, le poste de procureur de la Couronne. Malgré l'opposition de certains avocats anglophones, il est nommé en 1935 procureur adjoint de la Couronne et devient le premier Francophone à occuper ce poste.
En 1960, Me Mercier est président de l'Association des avocats de la Couronne de l'Ontario. Il s’investit dans de nombreux organismes culturels canadiens-français. À sa mort en 1961, il est le seul procureur de la Couronne Francophone en Ontario.
 
Sources : Constance Backhouse, « Rape in the House of Commons: The Prosecution of Louis Auger, Ottawa 1929, » in Jim Phillips, R. Roy McMurtry, and John T. Saywell, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 2008) 62, fn 44; John D. Ayre, « The Crown Attorneys of Ontario 1857-1957: A Biographical Survey, » unpublished manuscript, 2005, Archives du Barreau du Haut-Canada.
 
 
Name: MERCIER, Raoul
Male
Born 1897 in Ottawa, Ontario
Died 1961
Called to the Bar: 1922
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityFrancophone
Biographical Information:
Raoul Mercier was the first Francophone law student at Osgoode Hall to win medals for public speaking and debating, at the time conducted solely in English. He returned home to Ottawa to open a law practice through which he served many poor French-speaking clients for a dozen years into the Depression. Indebtedness and past service to the Liberal party encouraged him to petition Premier Mitchell Hepburn for a position as crown attorney. Despite the opposition of some Anglophone lawyers, in 1935 he was appointed assistant Crown Attorney, the first Francophone to serve in that office. In 1960 Mercier served as the president of the Ontario Crown Attorneys Association. He was also active in several French-Canadian cultural organizations. At his death in 1961, he was Ontario’s only Francophone crown attorney.
 
Sources: Constance Backhouse, “Rape in the House of Commons: The Prosecution of Louis Auger, Ottawa 1929,” in Jim Phillips, R. Roy McMurtry, and John T. Saywell, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 2008) 62, fn 44; John D. Ayre, "The Crown Attorneys of Ontario 1857-1957: A Biographical Survey," unpublished manuscript, 2005, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives.
 
 
Name: DENBERG, Dan Solomon
Male
Born 1895 in Russia
Died 1982
Called to the Bar: 1923
Name of Heritage or Community: Jewish
Biographical Information:
Born and schooled in Russia, Dan Denberg emigrated to Winnipeg about 1914. He earned his
B.A. from the University of Manitoba in 1921. Denberg moved to Toronto in 1922. Beyond his practice, he wrote on Zionist themes for newspapers and journals. Sources: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 405.
 
 
Name: HUMENIUK, Theodore
Male
Born 1891
Died 1978
Called to the Bar: 1923
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityUkrainian
Biographical Information:
Thomas Humeniuk was the first Ukrainian lawyer to practise in Toronto and a leader of the Ukrainian community in the 1920s and 1930s. He arranged the first Ukrainian Orthodox mass held in Toronto in the Ukrainian language in 1926, and as president of the parish, helped to
establish regular services and raise funds for building St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church. According to Andrew Gregorovich, Humeniuk worked to unite the Ukrainian community, which was divided by religious differences (Catholic versus Ukrainian Orthodox). He helped to establish a cultural and social centre in 1927.
 
Nominated by John Yaremko. Source: Andrew Gregorovich, “The Ukrainian Community in Toronto, 1914-1971,” in "Ukrainians in Toronto," special issue, Polyphony 10, (1988), 48-54.
  
 
Name: CROLL, David Arnold
Male
Born 1900 in Moscow, Russia
Died 1991
Called to the Bar: 1924
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Russian
Biographical Information:
A passionate proponent of welfare and other types of social assistance, Croll moved into politics from his law office. He became one of the first Jewish mayors in Canada, in Windsor, 1930-34. In provincial politics, he was a Liberal organizer and MPP, first elected in 1934. Under Premier Mitch Hepburn, Croll became Ontario's first Jewish cabinet minister. His portfolios included Public Welfare and Labour. During the 1937 United Auto Workers strike, when Hepburn aligned with General Motors, Croll resigned from cabinet, writing that “I would rather walk with the workers than ride with General Motors.” After another stint as Windsor's mayor, and war service, Croll shifted to federal politics and was elected MP (1945-1955). Blocked by anti- Semitism from a federal cabinet post, he became Canada's first Jewish senator (1955) and continued an energetic activist career until his death in 1991.
 
Sources: Jonathan V. Plaut, The Jews of Windsor, 1790-1990: A Historical Chronicle (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2007), 99-108; Jerry S. Grafstein, "The Life and Times of the Late Senator David Croll." beth-tzedec.org. Beth Tzedec Congregation of Toronto, 26 Dec. 2005. Web. 8 August 2009; "Croll, David," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.
 
 
Name: CROSS, E. Lionel
Male
Born 1890 in San Fernando, Trinidad
Called to the Bar: 1924
Name of Heritage or CommunityBlack
Biographical Information:
The first Black lawyer to set up practice in Toronto, Ethelbert Lionel Cross was a journalist before he studied law at Dalhousie in Halifax and then Osgoode Hall. Cross had a mostly criminal practice. He became famous as a critic of racism and official tolerance of illegal Klu Klux Klan activities. In Oakville in 1930, Klan members held fiery demonstrations and terrorized an Oakville couple, a Black man named Ira Johnson and a white woman named Isabella Jones. Cross gathered support from Jewish groups and trade unions and galvanized public opinion to force the authorities to take action. The resulting court case was the first prosecution of its kind in Canada and ended in a conviction. Despite this success, as Susan Lewthwaite notes, Cross remained an outsider within the profession because of his race, origins, marginal clients, and social activism. In 1937, he was disbarred from the Law Society for appropriating client's funds.
 
Sources: Constance Backhouse, Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 1999), 173-225; S. Lewthwaite, "Reconstructing the Lives and Careers of Lawyers: Ethelbert Lionel Cross, Toronto’s First Black Lawyer," in Constance Backhouse and W. Wesley Pue, eds. The Promise and Perils of Law: Lawyers in Canadian History (UBC Press, 2009), 193-223.
 
 
Name: GOLDSTICK, David
Male
Born c. 1896
Died 1944
Called to the Bar: 1924
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
An early left-wing politician-lawyer, David Goldstick was elected to the Toronto City Council in the 1940s and was a member of the Civil Liberties Association of Toronto. Goldstick defended at least one Communist in court. With J. L. Cohen and the Civil Liberties Association of Toronto, he worked on behalf of a Ukrainian organization whose property was seized by the federal government as an anti-communist measure during the Second World War.
 
Source: Laurel Sefton MacDowell, Renegade Lawyer: The Life of J.L. Cohen (University of Toronto Press, 2001), 34, 189-92, note 159 on 339.
 
 
Name: KEYFETZ, Murray
Male
Born 1900
Died 1985
Called to the Bar: 1924
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Murray Keyfetz was an early Jewish lawyer and an active supporter of Toronto's Baycrest Hospital and home for elderly Jewish citizens.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. See Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 405.
 
 
Name: PARSONS, Vera L.
Female
Born 1889
Died 1973
Called to the Bar: 1924
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen; Persons with Disabilities
Biographical Information:
Vera Parsons was a scholar and a courtroom lawyer. After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Toronto, she did postgraduate work in comparative languages at Bryn Mawr College (MA) and at the University of Rome. Home in Toronto, she applied her language abilities in work with Italian immigrants, but left social welfare for the law. Parsons was the first woman student at Osgoode Hall Law School to win a medal, the silver.  She then became the first woman criminal lawyer in Ontario, was probably the first woman lawyer to appear before judge and jury, and first to defend an accused murderer. She preferred litigation and especially appellate work. Parsons was also one of the first women lawyers with a disability; she used a cane as a result of contracting polio. Vera Parsons practised law for almost fifty years.
 
Sources: Christopher Moore, "Law Times 'That's History' Excerpted Columns. The Ontario Legal Alphabet: P is for Parsons." christophermoore.ca. Christopher Moore. n.d. Web. 10 July 2009; Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 40; Jack Batten, Learned Friends: A Tribute to 50 Remarkable Ontario Advocates, 1900-1950 (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2005), 10-1.
 
 
Name: ROEBUCK, Manning Harold
Male
Born 1901
Died 1997
Called to the Bar: 1924
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
An early Jewish lawyer. Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. 
 
 
Name: LYNCH, Emily Frances
Female
Born 1900
Died 1962
Called to the Bar: 1925
Q.C. 1957
Name of Heritage or Community: Roman Catholic
Biographical Information:
One of the first Roman Catholic women lawyers in Ontario, Emily Lynch practised in her father Daniel’s law firm in Windsor. She also served as an alderman in that city.
 
Source: "Lynch, Emily," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.
 
 
Name: GRUDEFF, John
Male
Born 1894 in Tirnovo, Bulgaria
Died 1985
Called to the Bar: 1926
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityBulgarian
Biographical Information:
John Grudeff was a leader of Ontario's small Bulgarian community in the early twentieth century. He graduated with a BA from the University of Toronto in 1922, and the following year received his Certificate of Naturalization as a citizen. In 1929, he was one of the founders of the William Gladstone Society, whose purposes included teaching English to Bulgarian immigrants and promoting a common culture to reduce political discord among them. He was made K.C. in 1945. He became a family court judge in Toronto in 1949.
 
Source: Mariela Dakova, "Bulgarians," The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples. multiculturalcanada.ca Multicultural Canada. n.d. Web. Oct. 09.
 
 
Name: HYNDMAN, Margaret
Female
Born 1902 in Palmerston, Ontario
Died 1991 
Called to the Bar: 1926
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
“Forget your sex and expect no quarter,” Margaret Hyndman advised women lawyers, but she was a trailblazer and pioneer who fought for women’s rights through her long career. Hyndman specialized in company law and litigation. In 1945, she became the first woman director of a Canadian trust company. She was the first Canadian woman to appear before the Privy Council in London. She contributed to many legal and women’s organizations, serving as the national (1946-8) and international (1956) president of the Federation of Business and Professional Women. Among her numerous causes and projects, she helped to shape the province’s legislation on equal pay for equal work in 1951. Hyndman was honoured for her contributions. She was the second woman K.C. in the British Empire, in 1938; she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1973; and she received the Law Society Medal in 1986.
 
See LSUCA Margaret Hyndman fonds, M257. Jack Batten, Learned Friends: A Tribute to 50 Remarkable Ontario Advocates, 1900-1950 (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2005), 12-3. Donn Downey, "Toronto Lawyer Set Precedents for Women," Toronto Globe and Mail, 25 Jan. 1991, D08. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.
 
 
Name: LIEFF, Abraham Herman
Male
Born 1903 in Antopol, now Belarus
Died 2007
Called to the Bar: 1926
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Polish
Biographical Information:
Abraham Lieff became the first Jewish magistrate in Ontario, appointed by Liberal premier Mitch Hepburn in Ottawa in the 1930s. In 1963, he was appointed the first Jewish judge on the Superior Court of Ontario (the first Jewish judge in Canada was appointed in British Columbia, in 1914).  He was sworn in wearing a yarmulke and holding the Old Testament.  Sometimes called the "father of Ontario family law," in his Ottawa practice he specialized in divorce petitions when divorce required a special act of Parliament. As a judge, he was a pioneer in the use of pretrial conferences. Lieff was married to Sadie Lazarovitz, also a lawyer and one of the first graduates of McGill University’s Faculty of Law.
 
Source: "Poor immigrant worked way up to Superior Court." jewishtoronto.net. United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto. N.d. Web. 9 August 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.
  
 
Name: WIGLE, Ruby Mildred
Female
Born 1893 in Manitoba
Called to the Bar: 1926
Name of Heritage or CommunityWomen
Biographical Information:
Ruby Wigle (after her marriage, Fish) became one of the first female town solicitors in Ontario, of Preston (1931-1933). She later moved to Sault Ste Marie, her home town, to practise with her husband.
 
Source: "Hall of Fame Members: Lida Bell Pearson Sturdy." cambridge.ca.  Corporation of the City of Cambridge. n.d. Web Nov. 2009. Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 47. See also, Ruby M. Wigle, “Sisters in Law,” Canadian Bar Review 6 (June 1927), 419.

Name: PITT, Bertrand Joseph Spencer
Male
Born 1892 in Grenada
Died 1961

Called to the Bar: 1928
Name of Heritage or CommunityBlack
Biographical Information: 
B.J. Pitt may have been the fifth Black lawyer called to the bar in Ontario. He studied law at Dalhousie in Nova Scotia and then at the Middle Temple in London, England. Pitt was called to the bar of Nova Scotia in 1927. In Ontario, his articling principal was E. Lionel Cross, another early Black lawyer. In his wide-ranging practice, Pitt’s clients were mostly Polish Canadians, and Blacks whom he helped without payment. Pitt's influence on the history of Ontario's legal profession has been long-lasting: he encouraged and often took as articling students individuals who became the Black lawyers of the next generation (including James Watson, Myrtle Blackwood Smith, and George Carter). He was also a strong advocate for the Black community, serving as president of the United Negro Improvement Association in Toronto.

 
Sources: Lance C. Talbot, "History of Blacks in the Law Society of Upper Canada," Law Society of Upper Canada Gazette 24:1 (March 1990), 67-8; "Pitt, Benjamin," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.
 
 
Name: BAKER, Annie Epstein
Female
Born 1908
Died 2005
Called to the Bar: 1929
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Annie Epstein Baker may have been the first Jewish woman called to the bar in Ontario. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.
 
 

Name: CATZMAN, Frederick Murray
Male
Born 1907

Died 2003
Called to the Bar: 1929
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Despite winning the Silver Medal at Osgoode Hall Law School (1929), Fred Catzman, like many Jewish lawyers of his generation, had difficulty finding an articling position. However, he became a prominent lawyer and advisor to the Ontario government. He wrote the Bulk Sales Act of Ontario, and co-authored the Personal Property Security Law of Ontario in 1976 and the Personal Property Security Act in 1989. He was also active in professional organizations, serving as Vice Chairman of the Canadian Bar Association (Ontario Commercial Law Section) for twenty-five years from 1949. Fred was awarded the Law Society of Upper Canada Medal in 1986 and the Order of Ontario in 2002.

 
Source: "The Fred M. Catzman, Q.C., L.S.M. Award," Osgoode Hall Financial Assistance Bursaries. osgoode.yorkuniversity.ca. Osgoode Hall Law School York University. n.d. Web. September 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme. 
 
 
Name: GROSSMAN, Helen
Female
Born c. 1905 in Zitomar, Russia
Died 1988
Called to the Bar: 1929
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Russian
Biographical Information:
One of the first Jewish women lawyers, Helen Grossman articled with E.F. Singer K.C., one of the first Jewish male lawyers. In 1930, as did several other women lawyers, she began a career with the Agricultural Development Board of Ontario.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 62.
 

Name: BORINS, Norman
Male
Born 1906 in Kiev, Russia
Died 1991
Called to the Bar: 1930
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Russian
Biographical Information:
Norman Borins, born Borinsky, became the first Jewish Crown Attorney in Ontario, for York County. He was named a Q.C. in 1930 and was a founding member of the Advocates' Society in 1963.
 
Source: "Borins, Norman," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives.
 
 
Name: FERGUSON, Edra
Female
Born 1907 in St. Thomas, Ontario
Died 2011
Called to the Bar: 1930

Name of Heritage or Community: Women
Biographical Information: 
Edra Iles Sanders started running errands at her father’s law firm when she was twelve. She became the first woman lawyer in St. Thomas, and one of very few in Ontario in the 1930s. In 1936, she was elected the first female and youngest ever alderman in her city. As a “young go- getter” of the Conservative Party, she gave speeches on women’s rights and obligations: she argued that, “Woman has the same right and same economic status as man, the right to take her place in the affairs of the world” (Times Journal). After her marriage in 1940 and while raising her children, she continued to practise part-time and to serve in philanthropic, civic and legal organizations. In 1962, she became the first judge appointed to the new Division Court of Ontario, now the Small Claims Court of Ontario. Later she served as a Juvenile and Family Court Judge. She began a long and active retirement in 1975. In 2011, Edra Ferguson was appointed to the Order of Canada for her achievements in law and politics and for her advocacy of women’s rights.

 
Sources: Mary Sanders, “St. Thomas is Proud of Pioneer in Women’s Consciousness, Politician, Judge, Housewife," St. Thomas Times Journal, 6 June 1981; Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 8, n.p.; Laura Serra, "The Oldest Living Torontonians Tell All," Toronto Globe and Mail, 18 June 2010.
 
 
Name: FINKELMAN, Jacob
Male
Born 1907 in Russia
Died 2003
Called to the Bar: 1930
K.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Russian
Biographical Information:
Jacob Finkelman left Hamilton for Toronto where he earned a BA, MA, and LLB at the University of Toronto. He became the first Jewish full-time teacher at the University of Toronto law school, serving from 1930 until 1967. His area of expertise was Canadian labour law.  He was the first chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board in 1944 and was associated with that organization for more than thirty years. His publications focused on collective bargaining in the public sector. In 1967, he started a practice in labour law and mediation, and was "well-known for his genuine desire to resolve conflicts." His contributions were recognized with his appointment as an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1976. A prize in labour law at the University of Toronto and the library at the Public Service Labour Relations Board are both named in his honour.
 
Source: "Jacob Finkelman, O.C., Q.C., LL.D., 1907 – 2003." pslrb-crtfp.gc.ca. Public Service Labour Relations Board. Feb. 2010. Web. March 2010.
 

Name: SHERIZEN, Lily I.
Female
Born 1906 in Mozir, Lithuania
Died 1991 
Called to the Bar: 1930
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Lithuanian
Biographical Information:
Lily Sherizen was one of the first Jewish women lawyers. Associated with David B. Goodman
K.C. until 1944, she went into private practice in Toronto in 1945. As Chair of the Public Welfare Committee of the Women's Law Association in 1947, she was an advocate for prison reform and for better treatment and rehabilitation of "juvenile delinquents." She also served as president of the WLAO in 1951-1953.
 
Source: Abby Bushby, "The Early Years." wlao.on.ca The Women's Law Association of Ontario. 14 Jan. 2000. Web. 15 Aug. 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.
 

 

1931 - 1940

 
Name: O'ROURKE, Jean Elizabeth
Female
Born 1908 in Caledonia, Ontario
Died 1974
Called to the Bar: 1931
K.C. 1948
Name of Heritage or Community: Roman Catholic
Biographical Information:
Jean O’Rourke was one of the first female Roman Catholic lawyers in Ontario, the daughter of a hotel keeper in Caledonia. She articled and worked in the law office of Edward J. Murphy in Toronto. She also served as president of the Women’s Law Association of Ontario in 1938 and 1939.
 
Source: "O’Rourke, Jean," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.
 
 

Name: COHN, Tmima Mamie Littner
Female
Born 1907 in Montreal, Quebec
Died 1989

Called to the Bar: 1932
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Tmima Cohn was inspired to go into law by her father, a Romanian-born Orthodox Jew who marched in a suffragist parade in Toronto, and by her mother, who was a teacher, Bible scholar, and early advocate of women’s rights. After graduating from the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School, she was called to the bar in 1932. She found the profession unwelcoming to a Jewish woman lawyer and like other women of the period, she stopped practising when she had children. As a lay person, she actively promoted environmental issues and the rights of women in the United States where she lived most of her life, by offering her services at free legal clinics, giving talks on women’s rights, and writing a handbook of legal rights for women in Florida in 1976.

 
Sources: Betsy Ford, "Lawyer Enlightens Women on Their Rights," Daytona Morning Journal, 6 Sep. 1976, 14. Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 17. 
 
 
Name: GOTFRID, Samuel
Male
Born 1907
Died 2007
Called to the Bar: 1932
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Polish
Biographical Information:
Samuel Gotfrid achieved fifty years of commercial law practice in Toronto, during a period in which law students from most diverse communities struggled to find articling positions, and later, clients. In his early practice, Gotfrid relied on his fraternity brothers from Sigma Alpha Mu. He soon became the principal of record to another fraternity brother, Bora Laskin, the future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. In the early 1950s, Gotfrid offered an articling position over the telephone to a man who warned him he was a "Negro" -- Lincoln Alexander, the future Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. "It bothered me that a fellow had to demean himself in that way to apply for a job," recalled Gotfrid. (Girard, 61).
 
Sources: Philip Girard, Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life (Toronto: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2005), 60-5; Lincoln M. Alexander, Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy: The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, A Memoir (Hamilton: Dundurn Press, 1996), 60-1.
Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

 
Name: TUCHTIE, Walter
Male
Born 1906 in Montreal, Quebec
Died 1980
Called to the Bar: 1932
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityUkrainian
Biographical Information:
Walter Tuchtie was a prominent Hamilton criminal lawyer. His most famous case was the Evelyn Dick murder trial in 1946 and 1947. Tuchtie defended Evelyn Dick and her parents, and later only Dick's father, Donald MacLean. According to the Toronto Star, Tuchtie had taken part in ten murder trials and was a former partner of C. W. Bell, a prominent criminal lawyer. Tuchtie later served as a senior provincial magistrate, the first from Hamilton's Ukrainian community.
 
See “Counsel Asks Torso Widow Be Allowed Visit By Kin,” Toronto Star 27 March 1946, 3. See also Brian Vallée, The Torso Murder: The Untold Story of Evelyn Dick (Toronto: Key Porter, 2001).
 
 
Nom: ST. AUBIN, Alibert
Homme
Né en 1902 à Saint-Jean-de-Matha au Québec
Décédé en 1993
Admission au Barreau: 1933
Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone
Biographie: 
Né au Québec, Me Alibert St-Aubin s’installe en Ontario à l'âge de 12 ans. Il obtient son baccalauréat en 1923 de l'Université d'Ottawa et son diplôme en droit d’Osgoode Hall en 1927. Me St-Aubin pratique le droit à Ramore et Kirkland Lake dans le Nord de l'Ontario pendant de nombreuses années. Il prend une part active au système d'écoles catholiques Francophones. De 1950 à 1977, il est juge dans le district de Sudbury. L'Université Laurentienne lui décerne un doctorat honorifique en droit en 1985.
 
Nomination faite par l'AJEFO. Voir aussi Donald Dennie, « Une Entrevue avec le Juge Alibert Saint-Aubin, » Revue du Nouvel-Ontario 10 (1988), 113-119. Web.
https://zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/236. Jan. 2010.
 
 
Name: ST. AUBIN, Alibert
Male
Born 1902 in Saint-Jean-de-Matha, Quebec
Died 1993
Called to the Bar: 1933
Name of Heritage or CommunityFrancophone
Biographical Information:
Born in Quebec, Alibert St. Aubin moved to Ontario at the age of 12. He obtained his BA in 1923 from the University of Ottawa and his law degree from Osgoode Hall in 1927. St. Aubin practised law in Ramore and Kirkland Lake in Northern Ontario for many years. He was actively involved in the French Catholic school system. From 1950 to 1977, he served as a judge in the district of Sudbury. Laurentian University awarded him an honorary doctorate in law in 1985.
 
Nominated by the AJEFO. See also Donald Dennie, "Une Entrevue Avec le Juge Alibert Saint- Aubin," Revue du Nouvel-Ontario 10 (1988), 113-119. Web.
https:/zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/236. Jan. 2010.
 
 
Name: YATCHEW, John
Male
Born 1895 in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Died 1958
Called to the Bar: 1933
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityUkrainian
Biographical Information:
Educated in Manitoba and the United States, John Yatchew practised in Windsor and specialized in divorce cases. He was one of the first Ontario lawyers of Ukrainian heritage. He also translated Ukrainian literature for English publications.
 
Source: S. S., "Advice to Young Married Couples," Ukrainian Weekly (27), 3 July 1937, 2. Web. Dec. 2009.
 
 
Name: TOPPING, Victor
Male
Born 1896 in Hartlepool, England
Died 1937 
Called to the Bar: 1934
Name of Heritage or CommunityPersons with Disabilities
Biographical Information:
Victor Topping moved to Canada in 1913 and attended the University of Toronto, graduating in 1917 with a B.Sc.  He volunteered with the Royal Air Force during the First World War. On April 4th, 1918, his plane crashed at Castle Bromwich, England, and Topping suffered serious burns to his face. He underwent several major operations for facial reconstruction during the next four years. After his discharge, Topping married Dr. Agnes Helen White (d. 1952) in 1923 and at some point returned to Canada. He worked as a civil engineer for a number of years before devoting his time to tennis and badminton (he seems to have been quite successful at both sports). He entered Osgoode Hall Law School in 1931 and was called to the bar in 1934. Little is known about his legal career, other than its brevity. Topping died of a heart attack on December 27th, 1937; he was only 41.
 
Contributed by Paul Leatherdale. Source: "Topping, Victor," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database. Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.

Name: COSENTINO, Joseph Augustus
Male
Born 1908 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1981

Called to the Bar: 1935
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityItalian
Biographical Information: 
One of the first Ontario lawyers of Italian heritage, Joseph Cosentino attended law school after he graduated from the University of Toronto in 1932.

 
Source: "Cosentino, Joseph," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.
  
Name: MUSKAT, Clara Halperin
Female
Born 1912 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1935
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Clara Halperin was the only woman to graduate from the honours law programme at the University of Toronto in 1932. She was one of the first female Jewish lawyers in Ontario. She possessed a ferociously sharp intellect: she was only nineteen years old when she began her legal studies after gaining her B.A. Freshly after graduation she was granted a job interview with a leading firm. She believed the interview was going well until they asked, “Halperin…is that a Jewish name?” She responded in the affirmative and never heard back from them. In her early career, she worked closely with a Jewish lawyer named Onie Brown. To commemorate him after he died she started a scholarship for students in need of financial assistance in his name at Osgoode Hall Law School. Clara Muskat, as she became after her marriage, continued her solo law practice in Toronto well into her eighties.

With the assistance of Jeff Halperin.
 
 
Name: OKULOSKI, Helen Frances
Female
Born 1912 in Black Lake, Quebec
Died 1993
Called to the Bar: 1935
Q.C. 1955
Name of Heritage or CommunityPolish
Biographical Information:
Helen Okuloski was the first Polish lawyer in Hamilton and one of the city’s first women lawyers. Her parents were immigrants who ran a chain of dry goods stores in the city. According to her sister Rosalie Hobbs, for fifty years, from 1938 to 1988, Ms. Okuloski worked at the corner of Barton and Sherman in the downtown area and served a “large ethnic clientele because of her
understanding of their needs and backgrounds.” She was also “very protective” of women clients who, she maintained, were “handicapped by being women.” She was admired by many, including an articling student who became the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable Lincoln Alexander. Ms. Okuloski was joined in the practice by her younger brother, Edward. She was a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and an honorary member of the Hamilton Law Association.
 
Sources: “Okuloski: One of First Female Lawyers,” Hamilton Spectator, 23 Sep. 1993, D2. Lincoln M. Alexander, Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy: The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, A Memoir (Hamilton: Dundurn Press, 1996), 66-7.

 
Name: LASKIN, Bora
Male
Born 1912 In Fort William, Ontario
Died 1984 
Called to the Bar: 1936
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish; Russian
Biographical Information:
Bora Laskin's parents were Russian Jewish immigrants who settled in what is now Thunder Bay, Ontario. Therefore, as his biographer, Philip Girard, notes, Laskin was doubly an outsider in the legal world of the 1930s, as a Jew during a time of rising anti-Semitism and as a non-Torontonian when connections in Toronto were critical to one's career. However, his great abilities and personal and legal ambition drove Laskin's legal achievements. After studying law at the University of Toronto and Osgoode, he earned an LLM from Harvard Law School in 1936. He became a law professor, teaching at the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School from 1940 to 1965, his expertise in labour and constitutional law. In 1965, he was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. In 1970, he became the first Jewish lawyer to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Bora Laskin was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada from 1973 until his death in 1984. According to Girard, a central theme of Laskin's life was his "quest to reshape the law and through it, Canadian society." (11)
 
Source: Philip Girard, Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life (Toronto: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2005). See also Neil Finkelstein and Constance Backhouse, eds. The Laskin Legacy: Essays in Commemoration of Chief Justice Bora Laskin (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2007).
 
 
Name: AGRO, Angelo J.
Male
Born 1911
Died 1999
Called to the Bar: 1937
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityItalian
Biographical Information:
The large Italian community of Hamilton welcomed home Angelo Agro, the son of illiterate Sicilian immigrants, when he opened his practice in Hamilton in 1937. For more than fifty years, he ran his office to suit his working-class immigrant clientele; he opened on weekends and evenings and offered a wide range of services in English and Italian, the first in the city and one of the first in the province to do so. He spoke out against the restrictive covenants common in the 1930s and 1940s that prevented some Hamilton property owners from selling to Italians, Jews and other minority groups. Agro was a legal pioneer who inspired other young men of diverse communities to become lawyers. Ex-partner Mario Bartolini told journalist James Elliott that Agro was “the big shoe in the door. He got his foot in, jammed it open, and the rest of us were able to squeeze by.”
 
Source: James Elliott, "Italian Lawyer was a Pioneer," Hamilton Spectator, 15 Dec. 1999, A12.
  
 
Name: WATSON, James Edgar
Male
Born 1911
Died 1998
Called to the Bar: 1937
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityBlack
Biographical Information:
James Watson graduated from the University of Toronto and articled with B. J. Pitt in Toronto. In 1950, he became the Solicitor for the city of Windsor, one of the first Blacks in Canada to achieve such a position. As Robin Winks notes, the post-war years were characterized by a relative social openness in which Blacks, like Watson, began to appear more often in the professions and politics. Watson was also one of the first Black lawyers to be appointed Q.C., in 1954.
 
Source: Robin Winks, The Blacks in Canada: A History (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1971), 459. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.
  
 
Name: HIMEL, Irving
Male
Born 1915 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 2001
Called to the Bar: 1938
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityJewish
Biographical Information:
Irving Himel was one of the first labour and immigration lawyers and a civil rights activist. In the 1950s, he fought against restrictive covenants in real estate.  Working with early Chinese Canadian lawyer Kew Dock Yip and others, he helped to get the Chinese Exclusion Law repealed in 1947. Himel was a proponent of Diefenbaker's Bill of Rights. He wrote on civil liberties in legal journals, newspapers, and magazines, and was a founder and director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
 
Nominated by Bert Raphael. Source: Heather Royce-Roll, "Irving Himel, 86, 'sought justice for all peoples,'" Toronto Star, 21 July 2001, A27. See also I. Himel, "Criminal Procedure in the Soviet Union: A Study in Comparative Jurisprudence", Obiter Dicta (1938).
 
 
Name: LICKERS, Norman
Male
Born 1913 in Six Nations Territory
Died 1987 
Called to the Bar: 1938
Name of Heritage or CommunityAboriginal
Biographical Information:
Norman Lickers was the first Aboriginal called to the bar in Ontario and Canada in the twentieth century. He earned a BA from the University of Western Ontario and became a lawyer at a time when Aboriginal people could lose their status under the Indian Act merely by graduating from university or by joining a profession. Lickers set up practice in Brantford. He soon began to speak on behalf of his community as well as his clients. In 1946, he was appointed by the federal government as counsel to the Standing Committee on Indian Affairs which sponsored important revisions to the Indian Act in 1951. However, Lickers was disbarred from practice in 1950 for professional misconduct. He became an ironworker, and continued to advocate for his people. In 1969, he organized a protest against a policy that would have abolished special status for Aboriginals. A long-serving band councillor, he also founded educational and other organizations to preserve and promote Aboriginal culture.
 
Source: Jacqueline Briggs, "Norman E. Lickers: The Untold Story of the First Aboriginal Lawyer in Canada," unpublished paper, 2008; Constance Backhouse, “Gender and Race in the Construction of ‘Legal Professionalism’: Historical Perspectives” (2003), 2-12. http://www.lsuc.on.ca/media/constance_backhouse_gender_and_race.pdf
 
 
Name: MAKI, Kauko Elias
Male
Born 1914 in Mend Mine, On.
Died 1989 
Called to the Bar: 1940
Q.C.
Name of Heritage or CommunityFinnish
Biographical Information:
One of the first lawyers of Finnish heritage in Ontario, Kauko Maki practised in Sudbury. He was appointed Q.C. in 1959.
 
Source: Francois-X. Ribordy, Les Avocats de Sudbury, 1891-1981 (Sudbury, On: Departement de Sociologie et d'Anthropologie, Université Laurentienne, 1982), 218. https://zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/110 . Web. Dec. 2009.

 
For lawyers called to the bar after 1940, please visit Biographies of Early and Exceptional Ontario Lawyers of Diverse Communities Arranged By Year Called to the Bar, Part 2: 1941 to the Present
 
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