History Of Inch Hammond
Our firm has a rich history that goes back to 1858, though not under its current name. Some of our historical highlights include:
- In 1858, Francis MacKelcan began as a sole practitioner.
- In 1859, MacKelcan was joined by J.D. Pringle.
- In 1870, John Gibson was welcomed to the partnership, which became MacKelcan & Gibson.
- The firm played a key role as firm solicitors for the Bank of Hamilton, which opened for business in 1872.
- A prominent Canadian bank, the Bank of Hamilton went on to open locations across the country (138 locations by 1919). The Bank of Hamilton merged with the Commerce in 1924 in an entity now known as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
- In 1900, Gabriel Herman Levy became a partner; the firm became Gibson, Osborne, O’Reilly & Levy.
- In 1923, Inch joined the partnership, then named Gibson, Levy, Scott & Inch.
- In 1953, Edmund A. Shaker joined the firm and was welcomed into the partnership in 1977.
- In the 1980s, the firm transitioned from a banking firm into a more entrepreneurial corporate-commercial practice.
Some Of Our Notable Lawyers
Founder Francis MacKelcan acted as the city solicitor for Hamilton from 1873 until his death in 1906. Known for his knowledge of mercantile and municipal law, he was appointed a Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.) and elected a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1876.
With a legal career that spanned over 60 years, John Gibson was a respected lawyer, a founding member of the Hamilton Law Association and an active member of the business community. He played a key role in bringing hydroelectric power to Hamilton with the formation of the Dominion Power and Transmission Company, which built the first hydroelectric plant in St. Catharines.
Gibson was elected to the provincial legislature in 1879 as a member of the Liberal Party. Among other acts, he played a key role in the passing of the Gibson Act for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (also known as the “Gibson Act”).
Gibson, as president, was also a major player in the creation of the Cataract Power Company of Hamilton, formed in 1896, which sought to generate hydroelectricity at DeCew Falls (near St. Catharines) and transmit it to Hamilton.
Cataract bought up and absorbed local competitors, and by 1907 had reorganized as Dominion Power and Transmission Company Limited, controlling an extensive electrical supply and radial-railway network in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe.
Gibson was also active in the Hamilton Hotel Company Limited and was instrumental in the construction of Hamilton’s prestigious Royal Connaught Hotel in 1910.
In 1912, Gibson also helped found the Imperial Car Company, renamed shortly after the National Steel Car Company. The company was active in the manufacture of steel bodies for trucks, bus chasses and railway cars, and its factory operated out of Hamilton, where the company continues to manufacture railcars today.
He was also appointed Attorney General of Ontario in 1899, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1908 to 1914, president of the Canadian Red Cross from its beginnings in 1896, and knighted in 1912.
Gabriel Herman Levy was appointed a King’s Counsel (K.C.) in 1921. A major player in Hamilton and Ontario’s business community, Levy was a director in several major companies, including National Trust, Canada Crushed Stone and John Bertram and Sons.
He also played a key role in McMaster University being opened in Hamilton, and was one of the originators of the card game contract bridge.
Edmund A. Shaker was appointed Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.) in 1976. He is currently a partner at Inch Hammond, and carries on a business law practice serving a variety of corporate clients, from local, family-held corporations to large, multinational operations. He has practiced in all areas of business law, but now focuses on providing strategic legal advice in the areas of corporate/commercial, banking, finance, and general corporate counsel.
Mr. Shaker was educated at Trinity College, University of Toronto, where he completed a B.A. in 1948 and an LL.B. in 1949. He articled in Alberta, where he was called to the bar in 1951. He returned to Ontario and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1952.
A believer in community involvement, Mr. Shaker has played and continues to play a prominent role in Hamilton’s business and charitable communities. He has acted as Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Theatre Aquarius, the President and Director of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, and the President and Director of the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
Mr. Shaker has also acted as general counsel for the Center for the Study of Responsive Law, Washington, DC, the Hamilton Family Service Agency, and a Hamilton association for mentally challenged persons.