Published In

Alberta Law Review

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2009

Subjects

lawyers; legal profession; barrister; solicitor; attorney; professionalism; professionalization

Abstract

This paper identifies the origins of modern Canadian legal professionalism in the prairie west during the early twentieth century, arguing for the importance of human agency and emphasizing contingency where others assert trans-historical processes. Lawyers combined agendas which were explicitly moral and reforming with a profound restructuring of their profession. Their efforts to reform the curriculum of formal legal education was part of a cultural project, but so too was their desire to attain self-regulation, monopoly, professional independence, and plenary disciplinary powers. The substantive findings documented here direct our attention to questions of cultural agency and structural revolution that are too easily overlooked. They suggest connections between market control, political lawyering, culture, liberalism and professionalism that have yet to be adequately explored.

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