The Members of Stockwoods LLP mourn the passing of our founder David Stockwood, Q.C. L.S.M.

In Memoriam

David T. Stockwood, Q.C., L.S.M.
(1941 – 2008)

David began his career in the law in 1968 with the firm of Kimber, Dubin.  He went on to become a senior counsel at Goodman & Goodman (now Goodmans LLP).  In 1979, David founded what is now Stockwoods LLP.  He practiced alone for one year before being joined by Nancy J. Spies (now Madam Justice Spies of the Superior Court of Justice).

Through the 1980s and 1990s, David led a growing team of lawyers in developing the first modern “litigation boutique” firm in Toronto.  Throughout his career, David was a commanding presence in major commercial and public law cases, and built a sterling reputation as one of the foremost counsel in the Ontario courts.  He was a pioneer in alternative dispute resolution.  He founded The Private Court, one of the earliest ADR enterprises in Ontario, and often acted as a skilled and even-handed mediator and arbitrator.  Above all, David was a natural Barrister.  His talents as an advocate were tremendous and innate, and his good sense for the business of law far-seeing.

David was recognized and mentored by the greats of the profession.  Many of his friends and peers were, themselves, giants of the litigation bar.  In 1979, he was made a Queen’s Counsel.  He became a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and in 2005 was honoured to receive the Law Society Medal, in recognition of a lifetime of professional achievement.

David contributed to the profession.  He founded the Trial Advocacy program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and taught there for many years; the David Stockwood, Q.C., L.S.M., Bursary has been established in his name.  He also served as the editor of the Advocates’ Society Journal.  He was the author of Injunctions, and Civil Litigation: A Practical Handbook, now in its fifth edition.  He often spoke at professional events, and went out of his way to recognize and encourage younger lawyers both inside and outside the firm.

David leaves a great legacy as a mentor.  Members of the firm, past and present, learned from David’s counsel and example until his final days – as did many opposing counsel.  Quite apart from the magic of winning trials, David always placed utmost importance on civility and respect for one’s opponent as much as one’s ally.  His credibility and success were grounded in these principles just as much as his own native skill and wit.  His partners and the firm he leaves behind remain committed to preserving David’s legacy by honouring his approach.

His example included his preservation of life outside the law.  He was a voracious reader, an enthusiastic sports fan, a keen traveler and a kind master to his beloved Basset hounds.  Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, he served as Senior Trustee for Wychwood Park, the community he lived in through most of his life.  He leaves behind his wife Ilse and their three children and five grandchildren.

David passed away at home on March 7, 2008, surrounded by his family, after a valiant battle with prostate cancer.