In all my years of writing this blog, I have never revealed my profession but now that I'm retired and well out of the work force, I can
confess admit say that I was a lawyer for nearly four decades.
In Canada, the legal profession follows the British tradition of wearing barristers' robes when conducting matters in a superior court (but not in a lesser court or before an administrative tribunal). Luckily, the British practice of wearing those godawful white horsehair wigs was phased out in Canada eons before I became a lawyer.
Custom-fitted barristers' robes are an expensive proposition, whether 40 years ago or today. Buying them can be a real financial hardship for young lawyers, especially those of us who worked our way through law school and came out burdened with maximum student loans. So when I was called to the Manitoba Bar at the beginning of my career, my family pooled their resources and generously purchased robes for me as a gift. Here I am on the day of my Call, wearing brand-spanking-new robes --
My robes got a fair amount of use while I was in private practice but once I switched to a legal policy and legislative practice, no courtroom work was required so my robes were sidelined. Midway through my career, however, I moved to Edmonton and was called to the Alberta Bar as well. Once again my robes were needed for the courtroom ceremony. I'm pleased to say that everything still fit!
But when I retired, I faced a dilemma. What should I do with my robes? It's not like I could just put them on kijiji or drop them off at Goodwill! Luckily, news came just then from the Law Society of Alberta that a Crown Prosecutor had started a "Robes Bank" at the Edmonton and Calgary courthouses so that young lawyers, or lawyers who only occasionally appeared in court, could temporarily borrow a set of donated robes as needed and avoid the expense of buying their own. What a terrific (and long-overdue) idea!
So my robes, still in darn good condition despite their age, got bundled into a garment bag and donated to the Edmonton Robes Bank. I'm very pleased with that outcome.
Here's my last view of my faithful robes.
Going . . .