At the end of the eighteenth century, when ten lawyers gathered
in what is now Niagara-on-the-Lake to form the Law Society of Upper
Canada, they were creating something new in the world: a
professional organization with statutory authority to control its
membership and govern its own affairs. Today''s Law Society of
Upper Canada, with more than 25,000 members, still wields these
powers. Marking the bicentennial of the society''s foundation,
Christopher Moore''s history begins by exploring the unprecedented
step taken in 1797 and follows the evolution of lawyers'' work and
the idea of professional autonomy through two hundred years of
growth and change.
The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario''s Lawyers
is a broad-ranging story of the growth and development of the Law
Society and the legal profession, from the days when horseback
barristers travelled the backwoods by horseback, through the
reforms of the late nineteenth century to the period of reaction
between the two world wars and the long struggle of women and
minorities for access to and equity in the legal profession.
Writing in a style that is scholarly as well as entertaining, Moore
traces to the present a story rich in personalities, and shows how,
after a period of tremendous growth and change, questions of
governance, legal aid, and practice insurance triggered a series of
crises that rocked the society to its foundations.
This is the first study to be based on full access to the
society''s two hundred years of historical records. Moore, who has
organized his research into themes and periods to illuminate the
story, also includes new material on the lives and careers of
Ontario lawyers and on the place of the Law Society in professional
and public life. Readable and extensively illustrated, The Law
Society of Upper Canada and Ontario''s Lawyers shows that such
issues as professional autonomy and the internal organization, at
the forefront of debate at the society''s inception, continue to
dominiate discussions today.