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Last Updated: November 24 2005

Alex Paterson: "My Life at the Bar and Beyond"

"My Life at the Bar and Beyond", published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, is an anecdotal and informative memoir that gives a behind-the-scenes legal perspective on some of the major events that shaped Quebec history in the later part of the century, and also offers a candid look at Alex Paterson’s remarkable life and career.

A litigation lawyer for more than fifty years, and senior partner in the Montréal office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), Alex Paterson describes some of his early legal experiences including the alleged brainwashing experiments at the Allan Memorial Institute funded by the CIA. The 170-page book offers a behind-the-scenes look at pivotal events such as the fight against Bill 101, campaigning for the No Committee in the 1980 Quebec referendum, and the standoff at Oka between Mohawks and the provincial police where he acted as Chief Negotiator for the Quebec Government.

"I didn’t want to do it," Paterson says of the difficult Oka mandate. "I didn’t know anything about Mohawks and even less about aboriginal issues, but thank God I did it, because it was the most interesting thing I’ve ever done in my life."

"I was inspired to write this book after receiving a gift from my daughter-in-law of a blank notebook with ‘Your Memoirs’ on the cover", says Paterson. "I also had a number of people commenting to me that I had more than a few interesting tales and anecdotes to tell spanning my career thus far, and that I should write a book.."

All royalties from "My Life at the Bar and Beyond" will be donated to designated non-profit institutions. Mr. Paterson has a long history of community involvement and currently participates in BLG’s Reads to Kids Program; further, Alex works with the Foundation of Greater Montréal, whose vision is to help improve health, education, social services, the arts, and the environment.

About Alex Paterson

Alex Paterson is a senior partner at the Montréal office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.  Mr. Paterson was admitted to the Québec Bar in 1957, started his professional career in 1957 with McMaster Meighen, and was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1971.  He is a graduate of the McGill University Law School, and obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Bishop’s University in 1952. He served as Chair of McGill’s Board of Governors from 1990 to 1994, and as Chancellor of Bishop’s from 1995 to 2005. Mr. Paterson practices in the areas of commercial litigation, health law, and not-for-profit law.

About Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

With more than 670 lawyers, intellectual property agents, and other professionals working in six major Canadian cities, Borden Ladner Gervais has developed a reputation as one of Canada's most respected national full-service firms. BLG offers fully bilingual legal and intellectual property services and represents a wide variety of regional, national and multinational companies as well as public institutions. For further information, visit


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