J.L. Cohen

Jacob Laurence Cohen, lawyer (b at Manchester, Eng 1898; d at Toronto 24 May 1950). Immigrating with his family to Canada in 1908, Cohen supported his mother and 5 younger children after his father's death in 1911.

Cohen, Jacob Laurence

Jacob Laurence Cohen, lawyer (b at Manchester, Eng 1898; d at Toronto 24 May 1950). Immigrating with his family to Canada in 1908, Cohen supported his mother and 5 younger children after his father's death in 1911. He attended night school, worked as a law clerk and in 1918 graduated from law school. Associated with the ALL-CANADIAN CONGRESS OF LABOUR and the WORKERS' UNITY LEAGUE in the 1920s and 1930s, he turned to labour law and civil liberties, becoming the most influential labour lawyer in Canada. He was the union's counsel in the 1937 OSHAWA STRIKE and in major labour disputes during WWII. He sat on many conciliation boards and, as a member of the National War Labour Board, supported labour's right to organize and bargain collectively. Cohen was made a King's Counsel in 1937. Though disbarred in 1947 for assaulting his secretary and causing bodily harm, he was reinstated by the Law Society in 1950.