(Greg Monforton (left) and Andy Sullivan during an interview for the Straight Outta Windsor Podcast. Photo above courtesy of Andy Sullivan / Straight Outta Windsor.)
I recently came across the story of Delos Rogest Davis who escaped slavery in Virginia with his parents via the Underground Railroad in 1850, settling in the Colchester area which had no school, so his father and others collaborated together to hire a private instructor to teach the children in town. Delos’ father clearly instilled the value of education in Delos as he decided to pursue law school while working as a commissioner of affidavits and public notary. As you can imagine, his journey would not be a smooth one as he couldn’t be called to the bar until he completed the required articling hours from an experienced lawyer, but no lawyer was willing to take on a young black student. Davis eventually petitioned the Ontario Legislature to admit him by special statute due to ‘consequence of prejudices against his colour and being of African descent’. Davis won this petition, was called to the bar in 1885 as only the second black lawyer in all of Ontario, opening his own practice in Amherstburg.
We also have Mackenzie Hall, which was originally a courthouse and jail, built by Alexander Mackenzie, before Mackenzie became the 2nd Prime Minister of Canada. This is a beautiful building rich in history, that used to house public executions, and many believe that it is the most haunted place in all of Windsor. Mackenzie Hall has nearly been demolished or sold to the private sector several times since the seventies, but it has seen a second and third life, now available for rentals, birthday parties and events through the City.
Present day, Windsor has a lot of lawyers. Many with a variety of specialties. Some are highly respected and successful, others, not so much. Greg Monforton has been one of the most recognizable lawyers in our community for most of his 38-year career. His rare combination of business acumen and legal expertise has allowed his firm, Greg Monforton and Partners to become on of the most sought-after legal firms in all of Southwestern Ontario. I visited Greg at his offices on the top of the Chrysler Building, with one of the best views in the City to talk about his career, experiences and journey.
Listen to Greg Monforton’s interview on Episode 67 of the Straight Outta Windsor Podcast wherever you get your podcasts or directly on the Border City Network website at https://www.bordercitynetwork.com/straight-outta-windsor/episode/4c0b0994/episode-67-greg-monforton-lawyer
Article by Andy Sullivan
Andy Sullivan is a lifelong Windsorite passionate about creating positivity by helping to share the stories of our community. He is the founder of the Straight Outta Windsor weekly podcast and Border City Network, a collection of the best podcasts Windsor has to offer. You can also follow Andy on Twitter and Facebook.