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Overview of the Archival Collection

Law Society Records

The majority of the Archives’ holdings are corporate records documenting the administration, policies, decisions, activities, and functions of the Law Society of Ontario since its origin in 1797.

Corporate records include: 

  • Minutes and transcripts of Convocation (the Law Society’s board of governors)
  • Licensee files on inactive lawyers and paralegals 
  • Records of standing and special committees, task forces, and working groups
  • Records of Law Society departments and executive offices
  • Records of several Treasurers (President of the Law Society)
  • Records relating to building projects at Osgoode Hall
  • Records tracing the growth of the Great Library
  • Osgoode Hall Law School records (from 1891 to 1968)
  • Records of the Osgoode Hall contingent of the Canadian Officers Training Corps

Private Records

The Archives welcomes donations of material significant to the legal history of Ontario. The private fonds (papers) can range in size from one document up to several metres of records. Included in the Archives are the records of over 240 organizations and individuals, such as:

  • The Lawyers Club
  • The Juvenile Advocate Society (an early nineteenth-century law students’ club)
  • William Osgoode
  • George A. Gale, Chief Justice of Ontario 
  • William G.C. Howland, Chief Justice of Ontario
  • Paul J. Lawrence (photographer)
  • Women’s Law Association of Ontario
  • Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
  • Cyril F.H. Carson
  • William E. Middleton
  • Essex Law Association
  • Toronto Lawyers' Association

Photograph Collection

The Archives houses over 100,000 photographs, including an almost complete set of Osgoode Hall Law School class composite photographs from 1891 to 1968. The collection also includes photographs of Ontario lawyers and judges, a variety of images of Osgoode Hall from different eras, and a comprehensive photographic record of Law Society events. Visit the Archives’ photostream on Flickr to view a selection of images from the Photograph Collection.

Architectural Plans and Drawings

The Archives holds an extensive collection of architectural plans and drawings relating to the numerous additions and renovations to Osgoode Hall, a national historic site. Most of the plans and drawings in the collection date from the 20th and 21st centuries. Architectural drawings relating to earlier construction projects at Osgoode Hall can be found at the Archives of Ontario. 

Special Collections

The Archives collects published and printed material about or by the Law Society. This includes special reports, brochures, and government reports, as well as ephemeral items created to publicize or accompany an event, such as programs and menus. The Archives also collects periodicals relating to the Law Society and the Ontario legal profession, including copies of the Osgoode Hall Law School students’ newspaper, Obiter Dicta. Special Collections also includes a poster collection and postcard collection. The Archives’ photostream on Flickr contains a selection of postcards from the collection.

Search our Holdings

To search the holdings of the Law Society's Archives, go to our on-line records database, which contains descriptions of files and items from the archival collection. Descriptions of non-Law Society fonds can also be found on ARCHEION, a database of records found in archives across Ontario.

The Commons on Flickr

The Law Society of Ontario's Archives is contributing to The Commons on Flickr, which contains images from photograph collections held in archives around the world. The Commons has two main objectives:

  1. To increase access to publicly-held photography collections, and
  2. To provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge

All images from the Law Society's Archives featured on The Commons are free of copyright restrictions, as the term of copyright has expired.

To visit the Archives' images on The Commons, visit: 




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