Gowling WLG partner leads project to commemorate fallen WWII law students

03 November 2017

A commemorative project organized by a lawyer at Gowling WLG is honouring Ontario law students who died serving their country in the Second World War.

Patrick Shea, a partner in the firm’s Toronto office, is spearheading an initiative in which 18 fallen WWII soldiers - who were articling students before the war - will be honoured through a special call to the Bar ceremony hosted by the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) next week. Family members of the soldiers have been invited to accept the honorary call to the Bar on behalf of their fallen relative.

“These young men made the ultimate sacrifice, and this event gives the law students and their families what the fates denied them,” says Shea. “The students put their lives on hold to respond to a greater call, went to war, and never returned. This commemorative call to the Bar brings these individuals into the law profession and at the same time recognizes their sacrifice.”

Shea is assembling a book with biographical details and photos of each young man’s life, as well as preparing large poster panels depicting each of the fallen.

The book, We Gave Our Today, will contain the stories of each of the 18 articling students - one of whom was completing his articles at Gowling WLG.

The idea of giving honorary calls came to Shea during a 2012 Remembrance Day ceremony at the LSUC. The names of the law students who lost their lives serving their country in the First World War were read aloud, followed by the words “never called.”

Through Shea’s efforts in the Great War Law Student Memorial Project, the LSUC recognized 58 young men from WWI with honorary calls to the Bar in 2014. They were also featured in a comprehensive book, They Shall Not Grow Old, compiled by Shea.

For his work on the Canadian Great War Project and his significant contributions to the legal profession, Shea was presented with the 2015 Law Society Medal - one of the highest honours bestowed by the LSUC.

The special call to the Bar ceremony for the fallen WWII soldiers is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, November 8 at 17:30 p.m. by the War Memorial in the lobby of Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St. W., Toronto.