Our History

A legacy of achievement and a tradition of service.

Over the past century, McLennan Ross has attained regional prominence and national stature. We take pride in our rich history of advocacy and pledge to honour it now and in the future.

When we first opened our doors, dedication, authenticity, pragmatic solutions, and exceptional service were the foundation of our firm. More than a century later, those attributes remain steadfast.

From humble beginnings dating back to 1903, the firm of G.E. Wallbridge was the first of many evolutions in a century of transformation to the firm we know today as McLennan Ross.

By World War II, the firm had grown to 10 lawyers including W. S. (Stan) Ross. In 1944, Wallbridge, Cairns & Co. became known as Cairns, Ross & Wallbridge. As expected, the firm continued to evolve over the years and in 1960, David Ross joined the team. As a junior lawyer, David often found himself working many late evenings at the office. Curious to know who else was burning the midnight oil, David phoned other lawyers in Edmonton to see who shared in his late evening work ethic. Rod McLennan answered. In 1968, Rod joined the firm in the Bentall Building and the new firm of Ross, McLennan, Ross & Ranson was in business.

Evolving to become McLennan Ross, the firm flourished in the 1970s. The Alberta Government retained McLennan Ross to assist with the proposed cancellation of the Syncrude Project, a case that ultimately spanned two decades. Other high-profile clients called on McLennan Ross as their trusted advisors including Gainers, Keen Industries, Premier Peter Lougheed, and the Alberta Housing Corporation.

The reputation of McLennan Ross grew locally in the 1970s, and by the 1980s the firm was gaining recognition across Canada. The Alberta Law Society hired McLennan Ross to represent them in a litigious matter regarding operations of interprovincial law firms. This was a clear signal to members of the legal profession of the firm’s knowledge, expertise, and excellent reputation.

When our clients expressed their desire for a firm outside of the downtown area, McLennan Ross moved into the West Chambers Building (now the McLennan Ross Building) in Edmonton where we remain today.

In 1996, to be more accessible to our clients further south, Damon Bailey, Don Dear and Tom Ross, along with McLennan Ross alumni Neil McLennan and Phil Ponting, made the move down Highway 2 and the Calgary office was born. Of course, we couldn’t go south without going north and so in 1999, former partner Glenn Tait moved to the Northwest Territories and opened our office in Yellowknife in order to serve clients in the North.

McLennan Ross established its reputation early as leaders in litigation and labour & employment law. Our stand out success in these areas, along with the growth of our corporate commercial team, has established and solidified our standing in the legal community. With more than 20 diverse practice areas today, McLennan Ross lawyers are truly titans in their field. Many of our practice areas and individual lawyers are consistently recognized and ranked in legal directories including Best Lawyers® in Canada, Martindale-Hubbell, Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, Legal 500 and Chambers Canada.

Over the years, McLennan Ross professionals have been involved in numerous landmark cases at all levels of the Canadian judicial system, including the Supreme Court of Canada. The outcomes of these cases have often had a profound effect on the legal framework in which many businesses operate today.

With two generations of McLennan’s and Ross’s at our firm today, all of our lawyers subscribe to the values and traditions of our firm. Like a mighty spruce, we hold steadfast through the seasons. We continue to grow and evolve, but our roots run deep.