Bencher Profile

Sole practitioner since 2000.

Julian Porter, Q.C. has been a barrister since he was called to the Bar. His first 8 years were with John Sopinka at Fasken’s. Julian has been involved in a variety of civil and criminal cases throughout the Province. He has given numerous lectures on cross-examination and libel. He is co-author of Canadian Libel Practice. He has been Chairman of the Toronto Transit Commission, President of the CNE and on the Boards of the Cancer Research Foundation and the Stratford Festival.

He is a member and past director of The Advocates’ Society, a member of the Ontario Bar Association, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the recipient of an honorary LL.D. from Queen’s University.

He is married to Anna Porter.

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My practice has touched on almost every aspect of non-commercial litigation. I have defended murder cases (not good results), obscenity cases (bad results) and run-of-the-mill criminal cases. For years I acted for many health professions and appeared before countless administrative tribunals. I now mostly do libel, slander, copyright and interference with economic relations and I am often fencing with human rights tribunals. I have appeared before a parade of juries and enjoy bringing the tingle of theatre to the Court.

I’ve been in big law firms, a small criminal law firm, then building a solo practice to a 12 person firm; then moving to a mega firm and for the past eleven years, a sole practitioner. My past partners have included a leader of a national political party and a long term visitor to jail.

When I’m not being a bencher or a litigator I am writing a book, 133 Paintings to See Before you Die, from Giotto to Picasso. You can see some excerpts on my web site: It won’t hurt to have a bencher who knows his art.

Convocation is composed of a large number of Benchers with a vast variety of experience. At times Convocation has the crackle of Westminster, people standing, the roll call of votes, the narrowness of margins of defeat. Always the debate widens your scope, often you become allies on an issue with former opponents. This is the splendour of the job, and civility is the cement of the institution.

I have been a Bencher since 1999. I have headed the Litigation Committee, the Government Relations and Public Affairs Committee, Ontario Lawyers Gazette Advisory Board and I am currently Chair of the Proceedings Authorization Committee which processes the discipline cases.

I wish to note four extraordinary candidates for bencher:

  • Carol Hartman: from Sudbury, she is a most able Chair of Finance, which is a complex committee;
  • Janet Leiper: wise with a quiet determination, running for the first time;
  • Wendy Matheson: a Toronto litigator both energetic and practical, running for the first time;
  • Laurie Pawlitza: our Treasurer, whose talent is astounding.

I am painfully aware of the uncertainties of a law practice, clients come and to my grief, they go. Our profession is a valley of potholes. As a bencher I won’t do anything foolish. I’ve looked out for the practitioners’ interests since 1999 and I want to continue. I am reliable, and we need reliability in the face of the unforeseen challenges which will arise.

I have seen much as a bencher, all of it an education. I believe I bring common sense to debate and a dollop of humour which doesn’t hurt.

Come on, it won’t spoil some vast eternal plan if you vote for me!


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