50 Years, 50 Books: Lawyers' Empire

Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2022


As a way to celebrate our anniversary, Acquisitions Editor Randy Schmidt reached out to fifty UBC Press authors and asked them to talk about their favourite UBC Press book. This is what we heard.

Written by Pitman B. Potter

Book cover for Lawyers' Empire

While I have been privileged to be a coeditor (with Lesley Jacobs) and contributor for the UBC Press series on “Asia Pacific Legal Culture and Globalization,” and have been gratified by the many positive responses to the books in that series, for the UBC Press 50th Anniversary celebration I would prefer to call attention to another UBC Press offering, namely Wes Pue’s Lawyers’ Empire: Legal Professions and Cultural Authority, 1780–1950 (2016). Wes’ book has been widely and positively reviewed and stands as a landmark in the study of Canadian legal history. The book’s focus on the interplay between legal institutions and local culture resonates with my own work on historical and socio-cultural foundations for law in China. As well, Wes was a valued colleague at UBC who consistently and generously encouraged my own scholarly efforts. Wes’ untimely passing in 2019 after a long and courageous battle with cancer was a loss for the entire UBC law community, and invites remembrance of his scholarly achievements – not the least of which was Lawyers’ Empire. In a poignant echo to Wes Pue’s legacy, the recent passing of professor Ashok Kotwal, whose scholarly work on economic development in India greatly enhanced the “Asia Pacific Legal Culture and Globalization” series, served as a reminder to scholars of our own fragility and is a call to be productive while we can. Congratulations to UBC Press for fifty years of publishing great Canadian scholarship.

Pitman B. Potter is professor emeritus in Law at the University of British Columbia, and the author of Exporting Virtue? China’s International Human Rights Activism in the Age of Xi Jinping (UBC Press, 2021)

Posted in 50Years50Books
Posted by Megan M.
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