I was admitted to the Alberta Bar on August 19, 1981, a day I remember distinctly because it was one of the greatest days of my life. In Alberta every Bar Admission is an individual application made by the Principal of the Student at Law before a Justice in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. My Principal made a very flattering and humorous presentation about me. I will always have fond memories of being surrounded by my family, colleagues and friends on that special day.
The day also had very special meaning for me because of the amazing traditions of the practice of law. Historically, lawyers have always had a very important role in society as being servants of the public. For hundreds of years the profession has been construed to be one of service. And, in particular, it was construed to be a profession which protected people from the State and from each other.
As I took my solemn oath to become a lawyer I also wholeheartedly took on the responsibility and role of protector. When I was admitted to the Alberta Bar, I took a solemn oath to become a lawyer. At that time, I also wholeheartedly took on the responsibility and role of protector.
I have always believed there are times in people’s lives when they need protection from those more powerful. For 20 years, I watched the standards to which lawyers are held by Canadian Courts and by Canadian Law Societies steadily decline. Lawyers often carry a great deal of power in our society — it can be challenging for the general public to right any wrongs at the hands of the legal profession.
Like my clients, I also understand on a deeply personal level what it’s like to feel powerless. From 1997-2000, I reduced my practice of law and focused on building a public company with my wife. Our venture was not successful and we lost everything. We needed to turn to a trusted lawyer who provided us with wise advice and a holistic approach on how to resolve this situation in our best interests.
I returned full time to law and as I continued to watch the erosion of the standards to which lawyers are accountable, I came to believe there was a gap in the legal system which needed filling. People who had been wronged by the lawyers they had placed their trust in need advocates.
In 2001, I founded Poole Lawyers as a solo practitioner with a primary focus on bringing legal malpractice claims against lawyers. It is not surprising to me and those that know me that this is where the practice of law took me. I have always been interested in justice, access to justice and the pillars of democracy.
Since then, I have created a firm of like-minded lawyers who believe as strongly as I do that the legal profession is meant to serve the client, not the lawyer. Our focus is on complex ligation and professional negligence claims; our work has taken us to all levels of the Canadian court system.
My goal was to create a team of powerful advocates. The young group of lawyers who I am privileged to work alongside everyday feel as I do — they did not choose to become lawyers for financial gains and prestige. We all believe that doing what is right is worth making personal sacrifices. Working with such a youthful and committed team keeps me passionate and engaged .
We are one of the very few Canadian law firms willing to embrace this challenging aspect of law. We are known for our highly specialized skill set, the intellectual property we have accumulated and our expertise in this area of law, along with a reputation for resiliency in the face of aggressive opposing parties.
As a lawyer, it is my also my belief that it is essential for Poole Lawyers to take a holistic approach to serving our clients. Prior to beginning work, we spend the time to get to know new clients and to understand whether proceeding with a claim is in their best interests.
On a personal note, I am married to Carolyn and father to Julia and Megan. Carolyn and I have a deep love of art and together are strong supporters of the Canadian art community. Our home and the Poole Lawyers’ office are filled with beautiful works of art which stimulate and facilitate the work we do.
To create connection and to provide community support for local artists and their work, Poole Lawyers created PL Talks, a passion project with regularly featured talks with one of our lawyers and a special guest speaker.
Education and experience
1954 – I was born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.
1976 – I graduated from Mt. Alison University in Sackville, New Brunswick with an Honours Bachelors of Arts degree in Philosophy and Politics.
1978 – I received my Masters of Arts in Philosophy and Politics
from Dalhousie University. My thesis included lengthy discussions of ethics and the rule of law in a civil society.
1980 – I was awarded Bachelor of Laws from the University of Calgary.
1981 – I was admitted to the Law Society of Alberta.
1982 – I married the love of my life, Carolyn.
1986 – I co-founded the firm of Poole Laycraft with my good friend Jim Laycraft. My daughter Megan was born.
1990 – My daughter Julia was born.
1997-2000 – I had a reduced practice of law while I focused my energies on a public company that I co-founded with my wife.
2001 – I returned to the full time practice of law as a sole practitioner with a focus on civil liability, and particularly, legal malpractice claims against lawyers.
2005 – I was admitted to the Law Society of British Columbia
entitling me to practice in British Columbia.
2016 – David W. Johnston became a partner at Poole Lawyers
2021 – This year I will celebrate the 40th anniversary of being admitted to the Alberta Bar