Benchers are the governors of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the members of its board of directors. There are currently 48 Benchers, 40 of whom were elected by the Society's membership and 8 were appointed by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council. Benchers meet each month in a gathering called Convocation to deal with matters related to the governance of the legal profession and to make policy decisions. Benchers also sit on various Law Society committees, and they participate on panels that hear cases concerning the conduct and competence of lawyers. The word "bencher" was borrowed from the English Inns of Court from which the Law Society inherited many of its traditions.
Call to the bar
Admission to the legal profession as a lawyer. In Ontario, candidates are eligible to be called after meeting all the educational, training and character requirements established by the Law Society as necessary to becoming a lawyer in this province.
Monthly gathering of the Benchers. Also used to refer to the assembled benchers as in "...Convocation voted to...". While the word "convocation" is generally associated with university graduation ceremonies, it is also used in relation to the church and in the context of the governance of the Law Society. "Convocation" stems from the Latin convocare, to call together, to summon.
County Law Associations
County Law Associations were originally constituted through the Law Society in the late 19th century to help create and organize law libraries in local county courthouses. The associations eventually became a means for lawyers of a region to organize, network and voice their concerns. There are currently 47 county and district law associations.
The Great Library at Osgoode Hall is the library of the Law Society of Upper Canada. It is a private library for the use of its members. The library was created in the early 19th century. The "Great Library" seems to have acquired its name when it became necessary to distinguish between the main library and the students' collection. The main reading room of the library has been described as one of the most beautiful rooms in Canada.
Law Society Secretary
The position of Secretary at the Law Society dates from 1833. The responsibilities of the position have changed over time. For the period under consideration here, the Secretary would have been responsible for the efficient operation of Convocation and the "professional purposes" area of Law Society operations such as discipline, professional conduct, professional standards and public information.
Ontario Bar Association
The Ontario Bar Association is a branch of the Canadian Bar Association. It was created in 1907. It is a voluntary organization of members of the legal profession that support the legal community by providing educational programmes and advocacy with governments.
Home of the Law Society of Upper Canada since 1832, Osgoode Hall housed Osgoode Hall Law School until 1968. The expression "I did not know he had been at Osgoode Hall" refers to the fact that the subject of the conversation had studied law at Osgoode Hall Law School. Until 1957 the Law Society had the monopoly over legal education in Ontario and Osgoode Hall Law School was the alma mater of all Ontario-trained lawyers up to that time.
The Law Society of Upper Canada
The Law Society of Upper Canada is the self-governing body for lawyers in Ontario. The primary responsibility or mandate of the Law Society is to regulate the legal profession in the public interest according to Ontario law and the Law Society's rules, regulations and guidelines.
The head of the Law Society, he or she presides over Convocation. The Treasurer is elected by Benchers entitled to vote in Convocation. An election for Treasurer is held each year at the regular June meeting of Convocation. The word Treasurer was borrowed from the Inns of Court in England. Until 1957 the Law Society had the monopoly over legal education and Osgoode Hall Law School was the alma mater of all Ontario-trained lawyers up to that time.