When Charles J. Foy began his law practice in Perth in 1895, he could hardly have known that he was a forebear to what would eventually become Lanark County’s largest legal firm. Little could he know that the stately stone building, The Shaw House, he often admired on the corner of Foster and Drummond Streets would one day house the firm’s principal office.
Nor could he have guessed in 1921 that another ascendant of the firm was born when T.A. Rogers, son of lawyer J.M. Rogers, joined W. Ross Strike to practice in the “Code” building, now home of the Royal Bank.
In 1928, Carl V. Farmer purchased the Foy practice, and was succeeded by Hugh C. Willson in 1933. He continued an existing branch office in Lanark and opened another in Westport. His main office moved to the “Thomas” building on Gore Street from the early 40′s until 1958 when it moved to 47 Gore Street above what is now Conway’s Mens Wear.
In 1957, T.A. Rogers, Q.C. passed away and his practice, situated in the “Meighen” block running along the south side of Gore between North and Foster Streets, was purchased by Ralph G. Barker. In 1961, he moved the office to the red brick building at 32 Foster Street, which would be home for the next quarter century. In 1972, Robert D. Butterworth joined what would become Barker & Butterworth.
In 1965, John E. Willson joined his father under the name of Willson & Willson. In 1975, Douglas B. James added his name to the firm. Another partner and a permanent Westport office was added in 1978 when Westport native, Robert G. Scott, joined the group. In 1986, the Perth office was relocated to 31 Foster Street depicted above.
In 1988, these lengthy histories merged when the two firms amalgamated at 31 Foster as Barker, Willson, Butterworth, James & Scott. Ralph G. Barker and Robert G. Scott are now retired, Bob Butterworth accepted an appointment as Vice-Chair of the Ontario Assessment Review Board and Douglas B. James has now semi-retired. The firm has grown to include Westport area resident, John R. O’Connor, at the Westport office, and David G. Heeley and S. Craig Halpenny at the Perth office.
Today’s Barker Willson building in Perth is carefully preserved to maintain the stately architectural tradition that graces much of Perth, but it houses a well-equipped modern law firm, and has become an established landmark in the Lanark County legal community. The lawyers are assisted by a conscientious staff using the latest in technology. Together, they offer a full range of legal services including Civil and Family Litigation, Real Estate, Planning and Development, Municipal Law, Estates, Wills and Powers of Attorney, Corporate and Commercial Law, and Collaborative Law dispute resolution.
Over the years, the firm’s partners and staff have been recognized repeatedly for dedication to their practice and to their community. Hugh and John Willson, Ralph Barker and Bob Butterworth have all been appointed Queen’s Counsel, and Hugh Willson was an Honourary Life Member of The Law Society of Upper Canada. Their individual community involvements are too numerous to mention.
As our firm enters its second century, the partners and staff of Barker Willson look ahead with enthusiasm to the exciting and challenging years that lie ahead.
Barker Willson Law Offices
31 Foster Street
Phone: (613) 267-2800
25 Main Street East, PO Box 159
Phone: (613) 273-3166