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Jane Harvey Lawyers… A History Lesson Worth Repeating…

It’s January 1, 1987. There are about 13,000 practicing lawyers in Ontario. And, for the first time ever, Ontario lawyers are allowed to advertise their services in any medium (so long as it was not false or misleading and in good taste). Previously, lawyers were only allowed to advertise in print. This marked a turnaround by the Law Society of Upper Canada’s police concerning advertising. And it was a sweet victory for one particular lawyer: Jane Harvey. Before 1980, Jane acted as in-house counsel for the Toronto Star. She was not satisfied with how outside legal counsel’s billings (e.g. it wasn’t broken down by matter or lawyer, etc.). There was no transparency or predictability. So she struck out on her own and did something completely new and daring: with $20,000 start-up capital, she opened up a store-front law office in a hole-in-the-wall on Bloor Street West. Not only that, but she posted a detailed price list inside the store which was visible to people passing by on the street. She made her pricing relatively low, but felt that it was the right thing to do to service everyday folk. Today, she has 8 locations in various malls throughout the GTA. Congratulations go out to Jane Harvey for having the gall to do whatever it took to “help the little guy” in the face of old-school (and sometimes stubborn) mentality. I salute you.

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