1947 - Hanging from the Rafters
Enrolment at the law school swells to over 700 students, as returning veterans take advantage of the benefits offered by the Veteran’s Rehabilitation Act to receive a post-secondary education. Due to overcrowding, students are moved to the Metropolitan Church House at Bond and Shuter Street.
1948 - A Mad Rush
Students scramble to find articling positions. Some firms take on extra students but have little for them to do, while others that are short on juniors or support staff use them as cheap labor. Some students and firms resort to sham articles. This article from The Globe and Mail shows the overcrowding in Convocation Hall.
1948 - Here Comes Trouble
John Falconbridge announces his retirement. The brilliant and intimidating Cecil Wright is appointed Dean. Wright expects to make Osgoode Hall a full-time law school or complete arrangements to move the law program to the University of Toronto. He begins to expand the staff, the curriculum, and the school year. The law program is expanded to four years. The Obiter Dicta gets a face-lift that lasts well into the 1950s, although advertisements for Jersey Milk chocolate bars, suits, and dance halls remain.
1949 - The Great Divorce
The Law Society’s Committee on Legal Education releases its majority report, recommending that office-based training be improved and that the benchers closely supervise the Law School. Blind-sided by the Society’s decision, Cecil Wright, Bora Laskin, and John Willis leave Osgoode Hall Law School to take up positions at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. Anglophile Charles E. Smalley-Baker is appointed Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School and he begins to undertake a campaign to improve the low student morale.
1950 - A Rocky Start
Osgoode is still reeling from the loss of its more experienced faculty members and looks to its young, full-time staff members like Allan Leal, Desmond Morton, and Donald Spence to pick up the slack. At least school spirit has improved, thanks to Dean Smalley-Baker reviving the Legal and Literary Society, and by creating new sports teams, clubs, and fraternities. Streetcar on Queen Street East, 1954.
1950 - “Fair Barristers”
Janet Boland and Judy LaMarsh graduate. The presence of women in a graduating class was frequently commented upon by the press, setting them aside for special comment. Women in the Law School were the exception rather than the rule. Roy McMurtry ’58 remembered that there were only seven women in his graduating class.
1952 - Raising Morale
All Osgoode entrants now must have a bachelor’s degree. Despite the more rigorous admission requirements, classes will double in size by 1960. Three years later, the Society announces a $1.3 million investment to expand the Law School to accommodate these larger classes. Dean Smalley-Baker takes to naming each entering class. The class of 1954 were the “Pioneer Guards.”
1953 - An International Reputation
The Law Society receives numerous applications from recent immigrants seeking certification to practice law in Canada. The Law Society requires them to requalify by attending the Law School. By the end of the decade, the School would have students from Poland, Austria, Japan, Holland, Czechoslovakia, South Africa, Estonia, Italy, and Israel. Still photographs of bucolic scenery like this one, combined with political and relative economic stability, drew many to Canada after the war.