by Philip Girard, Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University. Published with University of Toronto Press, 2011.
Well known to Osgoode Society readers as the author of an award winning biography of Bora Laskin, Philip Girard’s Lawyers and Legal Culture in British North America: Beamish Murdoch of Halifax is much more than a biography of Nova Scotia’s best known nineteenth century lawyer and legal author. It is also a first class account of an everyday lawyers’ practice in the first half of the nineteenth century, and has a great deal to say about the British North American legal profession and legal culture. Girard places Murdoch and the legal profession in one colony in the broader context of what we know about the international history of the legal profession at the time, and also draws interesting links between Murdoch’s legal practice and legal ideas and the politics of the period, especially arguments over responsible government.