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Cowboy Jurists & the Making of Legal Professionalism

30 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2009  

Wesley Pue

University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 3, 2009


This paper identifies the origins of modern Canadian legal professionalism in the prairie west during the early twentieth century, arguing for the importance of human agency and emphasizing contingency where others assert trans-historical processes. Lawyers combined agendas which were explicitly moral and reforming with a profound restructuring of their profession. Their efforts to reform the curriculum of formal legal education was part of a cultural project, but so too was their desire to attain self-regulation, monopoly, professional independence, and plenary disciplinary powers.

The substantive findings documented here direct our attention to questions of cultural agency and structural revolution that are too easily overlooked. They suggest connections between market control, political lawyering, culture, liberalism and professionalism that have yet to be adequately explored.

Keywords: lawyers, legal profession, barrister, solicitor, attorney, professionalism, professionalization

JEL Classification: K10, K40

Suggested Citation

Pue, Wesley, Cowboy Jurists & the Making of Legal Professionalism (June 3, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Wesley Pue (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Law ( email )

1822 East Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z1

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