James McGregor Stewart (1889-1955) was perhaps the foremost Canadian corporate lawyer of his day. He was also an appellate counsel, venture capitalist, Conservative Party fundraiser, bibliographer of Rudyard Kipling, and sometime university teacher of classics. A leader of the bar in the inter-war period, he was the first Maritimer to serve as president of the Canadian Bar Association. He distinguished himself mainly in constitutional cases before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. During his career, Stewart was also head of the leading law firm in eastern Canada (now Stewart McKelvey Stirling Scales), director and vice-president of the Royal Bank of Canada, and senior counsel to the Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations.
Above all, Stewart was committed to the idea of law as a truly learned profession and to the bar as the most important legal institution. To this day, no lawyer has held such prestige and power both within and outside Atlantic Canada; in his time he was the only Maritime lawyer who gained full acceptance by every branch of the Canadian establishment.
Thematic rather that chronological in approach, this fascinating legal biography provides both a history of a uniquely Canadian career and an interpretation of its significance for Stewart's time and ours.
About the author
BARRY CAHILL is an independent historian whose work focuses on Atlantic Canada. He has written numerous historical pieces on the region's legal history and has also written extensively on religious history, with a focus on Canadian Presbyterianism. He is also a former editor of the Nova Scotia Historical Review. Cahill is also a Certified Information Access and Privacy Officer in the Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Department of the Government of Nova Scotia. He was formerly a Corporate Projects Analyst and Senior Archivist in the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management Department of the Government of Nova Scotia. Cahill lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Other titles by Barry Cahill
J.L. Ilsley: A Political Biography
Mackenzie King's frugal finance minister who found the money for Canada's war 1939–1945
A history of the Halifax Relief Commission
Professional Autonomy and the Public Interest
The Barristers' Society and Nova Scotia's Lawyers, 1825-2005
The Blue Banner
The Presbyterian Church of Saint David and Presbyterian Witness in Halifax
Frank Manning Covert
Fifty Years in the Practice of Law
The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, 1754-2004
From Imperial Bastion to Provincial Oracle