Thomas Lawlor

Quite some time ago, a young lawyer arrived in Spirit River.  Thomas Lawlor was his name, and he set up his first private practice here.

Born in 1890, Lawlor spent his childhood in Manitoba.  Upon graduating from the University of Manitoba, the 24 year old came west to begin law school at the University of Alberta.  Plans changed for so many people when World War I was raging: like thousands of other young men, Lawlor joined the army and went off to fight in World War I. In is case the interruption was temporary and, upon his return, Lawlor completed his legal studies.  He received his law degree in 1922, and that’s when he moved to the northerly town of Spirit River.

Thomas W. Lawlor, Q.C. practiced here for five years before shifting his practice to Grande Prairie.  He joined Jack Sissons, a fellow lawyer who was equally concerned with professional, ethical conduct in all matters of law and particularly in the area of aboriginal interests.

It was that strong ethical  and pioneer spirit that Lawlor’s daughter, Enid Lawlor, honoured by establishing a professorship at the U of A: the Thomas W. Lawlor Q.C. Professor in Law and Ethics to recognize students of law who were contributing to legal ethics.   The first recipient, Annalise Acorn, was appointed to the three year term in 2010.

U of A also offers a Thomas W. Lawlor Q.C. Memorial Award in law, provided by Enid Lawlor in honour of her father.  Up to five undergraduates from the Faculty of Law can receive the  $1000 scholarship each year.  The only stipulation is that the students must be from Northern Alberta, Grande Prairie or the Peace Country.

Any up and coming lawyers at SRRA?  Keep a local man in mind and take pride in ethical and professional conduct!

If you know of anyone who is stuck in a history book and needs an escape hatch, let Town Spirit know.  Local history should be vocal history, so lets blah blah blog about it!  Email townspirit@hotmail.com or just leave a tip by hitting the comment button.

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