The Lincoln County Law Associated was incorporated on February 21, 1929. A number of our original members had been part of a larger organization which encompassed the former counties of Haldimand, Welland, and Lincoln. Spearheaded by Judge John Samuel Campbell, the founders saw the need for a more local association that would be dedicated to meeting the needs of barristers and solicitors practicing in Lincoln County.
The objects of the Association, as set out in our Letters Patent, remain the same almost 80 years later:
To protect and develop the status, interests and privileges of barristers-at-law, solicitors and law students; to promote honourable practice; and to adopt all such measures as may appear best calculated to effect these ends;
To consider all general questions affecting the interest of the profession at large or the alteration or administration of the law, with a view to taking such action thereon as may be deemed advisable;
To acquire, equip and furnish suitable premises for the use of the Corporation;
To form and maintain a law library for the Corporation; and,
To do all such other things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above mentioned objects.
The Association currently has 226 members, a ten-fold increase from the approximately 25 lawyers practicing in St. Catharines in 1929. While most of us practice in St. Catharines, our membership includes lawyers from all over the Niagara Peninsula, and beyond. Both students-at-law and retired lawyers are eligible for membership.
The Association is managed by a volunteer board of 15 directors who meet monthly. Not surprisingly, the Board’s focus is primarily on the operation and upkeep of our law library. Sub-committees of the Board meet regularly to deal with personnel issues and to review the collection in order to ensure that our resources are up to date and meet the changing needs of our members. In recent years, we have been able to meet the needs of our computer savvy younger members while still maintaining a solid collection of printed materials for those more comfortable with the printed page. We maintain close ties with local law associations throughout Ontario and have the ability to access resources from across the province.
The Associations strives to improve the expertise of our members by providing formal and informal continuing legal education. Programs range from the “Lunch ‘N Learn” series of lectures provided by local practitioners in the courthouse to day-long seminars hosted off site. We make facilities available for members to use the Law Society of Upper Canada’s on-line education programs.
In addition to our inward looking activities on behalf of members, the Association is very concerned with issues of import to the greater community. Over the years, we have advocated on behalf of those for whom access to justice is difficult. The Association has been a strong supporter of the Ontario legal aid system and we are mindful of our collective professional obligation to make services available to those from all income levels. Our members consult regularly with judges and court staff in an effort to improve the delivery of services to the public at large.
Our members have close ties to the communities in which we work and live. This involvement is reflected in our participation in Remembrance Day activities, and our annual golf tournament is operated in support of local charities.
The Association also organizes social events for its members, most prominently the annual
golf tournament June and the annual Law Ball. “Young lawyers”, those with 5 years or less experience, are supported in their efforts to meet regularly in order to share their new experiences and concerns.
The Association supports the activities of the County and District Law Presidents Association
(CDLPA). Formed in 1980, CDLPA represents the interests of lawyers, and their clients, from across the province by consulting and offering advice to the government, the courts and the Law Society of Upper Canada.
While there have been many significant changes in the practice of law in the decades since the Association was formed, our core purposes and goals remain unchanged. We remain committed to serving the interests of our members while being sensitive to our professional obligations to the courts and the public which we are proud to serve.