Our History

At Torys, we pride ourselves on our culture of mutual respect, legal excellence and putting the interests of our clients first—a culture we have cultivated with intention over many decades. We work hard at maintaining that culture through our relationships. Our success as a firm is rooted in the deep and enduring relationships we have with each other, with our clients and with the broader community.

Torys Through the Years

The Early Years

Torys LLP traces its roots to J.S.D. Tory and Associates, founded in 1941 by prominent Toronto business lawyer and corporate director John Stewart Donald Tory. John S.D. Tory graduated at the top of his class at Osgoode Hall, and earned a J.D. from Harvard University. He practised with the W.N. Tilley law firm in Toronto for a few years, and then launched his own firm with a focus on corporate law. In the post-war economic boom, Mr. Tory’s then still small firm prospered, serving leading Canadian businesses, many of which have continued as clients to this day.

J.S.D. Tory, Founder of Torys

In 1954, Mr. Tory’s twin sons John A. Tory and James M. Tory joined the firm, along with their law school classmates, Arthur Binnington and William DesLauriers. The firm was ultimately renamed Tory Tory DesLauriers & Binnington.

John S.D. Tory passed away in 1965, leaving the firm in his sons’ hands. Although the Tory brothers were only 35 years old, together with their partners, they grew the firm, maintaining and developing relationships with leading corporate clients through their values-based, client-first approach to legal practice. As James M. Tory explained:

It is in these early years that the firm began to develop its culture and values…the importance of true partnership involving mutual respect; maintaining the highest standards of work quality; and devoting the best of the firm’s resources to each client—only possible if clients are clients of the firm rather than of individual partners. This was easy as we were all good friends.

In the late 1960s, the firm added to its leading corporate practice a litigation practice, which was enhanced a few years later with the firm's 1972 merger with litigation boutique, Kimber, Dubin, headed by future Chief Justice of Ontario, Charles L. Dubin.

In 1973, John Tory left the firm to serve as senior financial adviser to Ken Thomson in the management and expansion of the Thomson Family companies, while James M. Tory continued to lead the firm.

Expansion and Growth

From the 1970s through to the 1990s, the firm continued to forge lasting relationships with clients, securing its reputation as one of Canada’s leading business law firms.

The year 2000 brought another milestone to the firm's history, as Tory Tory DesLauriers & Binnington merged with a New York corporate firm whose predecessor was established in 1948. The firm rebranded to create Torys LLP.

In 2011, Torys further expanded its practice by opening a Calgary office. In April 2013, Torys opened its Montréal office and in 2014 announced the opening of the Torys Legal Services Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Today, Torys LLP is a globally recognized law firm with offices in Toronto, New York, Calgary, Montréal and Halifax.

James Marshall Tory and the Torys Culture

In order of appearance, Les Viner, Trisha Jackson, Sarah Whitmore, Molly Reynolds, Kathy Jones and Sheila Block discuss the impact and ongoing legacy of James Marshall Tory has had on the firm’s approach to work and its relationship-based culture. The video ends with a short clip of the late Jim Tory with a warm message which was recorded for a 2012 firm video.