By GERRY POSNER There are a number of businesses and professions where you see a son and a father together or a mother and a daughter or any other combination. In professional hockey, the Howes and Hulls come to mind immediately. In medicine, and law for example, there are several families in the Jewish community of Winnipeg where this two generational link has occurred.
But what about three generations? Rare indeed. Yet there are at least three Winnipeg families to be sure that can make a statement that “families that get called to the bar together may well go far together.” And they are related. I speak of the Pollock family. There are Harvey Pollock and his brother Gordon C. Pollock and their sons and grandsons. And there is Gordon Pollock (a cousin to Harvey and Gordon C. Pollock), his daughter Marisa and granddaughter Ada who have found their place in the legal profession. You might say these three POLLOCK families have a LOCK on law. (Well, maybe you would not say it, but I just did).
Now, if three families of Pollocks , each of which has now produced three generations of lawyers is not enough, there is an another odd fact about the families (which you might have already noticed) and that is there are two Gordon Pollocks. One is Gordon C. Pollock, a well known lawyer in Winnipeg and brother to Harvey Pollock, and the other is minus a middle initial, as in Gordon Pollock. The latter’s story is perhaps less well known as his daughter Marisa went away to law school and stayed in Toronto to practice law, while Marisa’s daughter, Ada, just recently completed her legal education in Toronto where she is now articling.
Step back to 1956 when a young Gordon Pollock graduated from the University of Manitoba law school. He later articled to Louis Matlin and was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1957, a mere 65 years ago. It was not long before Gordon founded a law firm – Pollock, Nurgitz, Bromley, Myers and Hewak, where Gordon was a senior partner. Of those five men, two became judges, while the other three were all prominent in their areas of law.
Gordon Pollock would likely state that his greatest achievement was not his contribution to the legal profession, but the five children arising from his marriage to the former Toby Marantz of blessed memory. One of those five children was his daughter Marisa, who followed her father Gordon into law. Marisa credits her father for her path as his expectations of his daughters were no different than his expectations of his sons. After attending Ramah Hebrew School and Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate, Marisa received her undergraduate degree as well as her LLB from the University of Toronto. After her first year of law school, Marisa worked for the summer
at the then Myers law firm, now Myers LLP (successors to Pollock Nurgitz), where her exposure to Mel Myers and his labour group was the
determining factor in her choice of labour law as her career. Since the time when Marisa began to practice labour law, she has represented a wide variety of unions and their members, including construction workers and Crown lawyers. (That barely touches the wide range of her clients.)
A partner at Goldblatt Partners LLP in Toronto and Ottawa for a number of years now, Marisa has carved out a place in the Toronto legal world as a leading labour law practitioner and has been recognized by Best Lawyers, a peer reviewed guide to the leading lawyers in Canada. I think It would be fair to say that she has taken the Pollock name to echelons that her father Gordon could not have envisioned.
And now, in 2022, a member of the third generation of Pollock lawyers is carving out her own niche in the legal field. Ada, daughter to Marisa, granddaughter to Gordon, is in her articling year. She too is a graduate of the University of Toronto law school. Her passion is immigration and refugee law and she is fortunate to have found an articling position in that area at the Batista Smith Migration Law Group in Toronto.
Surely it must be a major moment when the three generations of Pollocks gather together to discuss legal issues. (Well, maybe not just legal issues.) Of course Covid has limited these times together over the last few years. I would love to be there when Ada gets her call to the Ontario Bar with her mother Marisa and grandfather Gord all present to witness this welcome to the legal fraternity for another Pollock.