Menear Worrad & Associates

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Called to the Bar

1949, Law Society of Upper Canada

Areas of Law

Counsel to the Law Firm (1990-2010)

William Robert Poole, Q.C.

W.R. Poole carried on the practice of law with the law firm from 1990 until his retirement in November 2010.  He maintained an active interest in, and association with, the firm until his death on May 25, 2014.  He was age 96 when he passed away.

Commemorations

During his career in the practice of law in London, Ontario, W. R. Poole lectured at the University of Western Ontario Law School.  The Dean of the London Law School said of him:  “Mr. Poole is one of the finest criminal lawyers, if not the best, ever produced in Canada.  He is remarkable.”

These views were echoed by a former Chief Justice of Ontario – the Right Honourable James C. McRuer, who said:  “William Poole is a good example for all young lawyers to follow.  He was never bombastic.  He created an atmosphere of a partner in the administration of justice.  In no case was he ever unfair.”

In the Twenty-Second Annual Report of the Ontario Law Reform Commission, it is said of W.R. Poole:  “He is one of the most literate people that one could know and the breadth of his taste in reading material is quite intimidating.”

In the case of Rowe v The King, which was argued by Mr. Poole in the Supreme Court of Canada, Mr. Justice Cartright said: “I should like to add, that in my view, we are indebted to Mr. Poole for his argument in this case and the way in which all difficulties were frankly faced.”

Accomplishments

The legal career of W.R. Poole spanned more than 60 years.  His accomplishments are many in number and prestigious in their attainment.  They include the legal representation he provided in some of the most notorious criminal trials of his day and his numerous appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada.  He was appointed to the Law Reform Commission of Canada by Premier John Robarts, on the recommendation of Chief Justice James C. McRuer.  He served on the Commission from 1964 to 1985.  He received an Honorary Queen's Counsel distinction in 1961. 

The recitation of these achievements does not amount to a full summation of the man himself.  From the outset, criminal law became the mistress of W.R. Poole.  Over his career, he became its master.  It was the art of criminal advocacy which was to employ to the full his particular aptitudes and skills, including his agile mind, incisive understanding of human nature, love for the diversity of human character, interest in human frailty, and his identification with the plight of the fortuneless and marginalized of our society.

Education and Legal Career 

In 1939, W.R. Poole graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  Subsequently, he attended the London School of Economics in London, England.  When the Second World War broke out, W.R. Poole left England to return to Canada where he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy.  He remained in the Royal Canadian Navy until 1945, during which time he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

After the war, W.R. Poole took up residence in Montreal, Quebec where he enrolled at McGill University.  He abandoned plans to complete post-graduate studies in English to attend the Law School at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, Ontario.  After obtaining his Bachelor of Law degree, he articled with the prestigious law firm Blake Cassels at the City of Toronto, Ontario, before relocating to the City of London, Ontario early in his career.  In London he joined forces with Walter Bell and Hugh Porter, carrying on practice together in the well-regarded law firm Poole, Bell & Porter.  

Personal Background

W.R. Poole was born in Neepawa, Manitoba - a small rural community.  His formative years were spent there in a vigorous household comprising his physician father, sprightly mother, and three competitive siblings.  Bill was its youngest member.  His family and community made an indelible impression on him, which still accounts today for his masterful repartee and wit.

After graduating from the University of Manitoba in 1939, W.R. Poole travelled to England to investigate the prospects of graduate studies.  At the time he departed, the dark foreboding clouds of war were already apparent.  While there, they fully coalesced.  He was in the British House of Commons when Neville Chamberlain made a formal declaration of war against Germany.  He immediately returned to Canada, where he joined the Royal Canadian Navy to serve his country and to defend freedom.  Throughout the duration of the Second World War, he served as a Lieutenant Commander on a Corvette, which repeatedly crossed the North Atlantic in convoy.

W.R. Poole was married to Nancy Geddes Poole who, in her own right, is a recipient of the Order of Canada for her many community contributions and particularly her support of the Arts in London, Ontario and area.  Nancy continues to live in London, Ontario, and to make significant contributions to this city.  Their daughter Dr. Andrea Geddes-Poole resides in the City of Toronto, Ontario.  She is married to retired lawyer Michael Robinson.  They have one child, Caroline.