The Johnson graduates are John, 1935, Michael, 1978, and Sean, 2017All in the family: The Johnson graduates are John, 1935, Michael, 1978, and Sean, 2017

From the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Nexus

Thirty-nine years after I graduated from the Faculty of Law, my wife and I attended our elder son Sean's graduation, Class of 2017. It’s the family law school—my father, John T. Johnson Q.C., graduated from U of T's undergraduate law class in 1935. (My mother, Marion Darte, the daughter of a French metallurgical engineer who had come to Canada to run a factory which later became part of Union Carbide, graduated from St. Michael’s University at U of T, and then did her law degree at Osgoode Hall, but that’s another story.)  Father attended Victoria College, and graduated with his BA in law, as in those days there was no separate law school. The Law Society of Upper Canada did not recognize a law BA as being any different from any other degree, and applicants still had to do their three years of classes at Osgoode Hall on Queen Street, while articling with a firm. He graduated in 1938 with one of two bronze medals awarded, surpassed only by Goldwyn Arthur Martin, who took the gold. Despite his academic success, there were no jobs in Toronto, so he went to Oshawa to practice. It was Art Martin who recommended him to the firm of Borden, Elliot, where father was to spend the rest of his life.

My father was proud to be an alumnus of University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Since the Law Society had given its name to York University’s law school, it naturally sought to claim the lawyers called under the old system as their alumni.  My father was infuriated by this, and the appeals for donations were speedily consigned to the garbage.

Sean is now articling with Stephen Durbin and Associates in Burlington. The photograph of the Moot Court Justices from 1934-1935, including my father, and Justices Howland, Martin, Okell and Plant is at the law school.  It was on the fiat of then Chief Justice Howland that I was called to the Bar.

Michael Johnson