Archives 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 Upper Canada since its origin in 1797.

Included in the corporate records are: 

  • Minutes of Convocation (meetings of Law Society’s board of governors) from 1797 to the present
  • Licensee files on past lawyers and paralegals 
  • Records of standing and special committees, task forces, and working groups
  • Records of Law Society departments and 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, established in 1832
  • Osgoode Hall Law School records (from 1891 to 1968)
  • Records of the Osgoode Hall contingent of the Canadian Officers Training Corps

Private Records

In addition to corporate records, the Archives welcomes donations of non-Law Society records significant to the legal history of Ontario. The private fonds (or sets of papers) can range in size from one document up to several metres of records. Included are the records of over 200 organizations and individuals, such as:

  • The Lawyers Club
  • The Juvenile Advocate Society (an early nineteenth-century law students’ club)
  • William Osgoode
  • Sir John Graves Simcoe
  • George A. Gale
  • William G.C. Howland
  • Paul Lawrence (photographer)
  • Women’s Law Association of Ontario
  • Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
  • Cyril F.H. Carson
  • 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 designated heritage building. Most of the plans and drawings in the collection date from the 20th century. Architectural drawings relating to Osgoode Hall can also be found at the Archives of Ontario. 

Special Collections

The Archives collects published and printed material about or by the Law Society that is deemed significant. 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.

Artifact Collection

The Archives collects artifacts relating to the legal profession in Ontario, the Law Society, and Osgoode Hall. Holdings include items ranging from objects relating to the practice of law, such as legal robes, office equipment and supplies, the 1898 Ontario Hockey Association Champions trophy hockey stick won by the Osgoode Hall Law School team, to pieces of Osgoode Hall’s fence and furniture.

Search our Holdings

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

The Commons on Flickr

The Law Society of Upper Canada 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 Archives featured on The Commons are free of copyright restrictions, either because the term of copyright has expired or the Law Society of Upper Canada owns the copyright.

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