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RSS, A Century-Young Law Firm

The year 2021 will take its place in history as a time when in every corner of the world there was a battle raging against the COVID‑19 pandemic. The year 2021 will forever be marked by the global scars resulting from individual and community loss and tragedy, the overwhelming medical challenges that we faced, and ultimately, the miraculous medical triumphs achieved.

However, amidst this dark cloud that loomed so prominent during 2021, there nonetheless remained somewhat of a “silver lining” for RSS because, for the RSS family, 2021 marked the firm’s 100th year anniversary.

In 1921, with a passion for law and an entrepreneurial spirit, Benjamin Robinson and Joseph Shapiro began their practice in humble offices on Saint-Jacques Street, in downtown Montreal. Their sons, Jonathan J. Robinson and Barry H. Shapiro soon followed in their footsteps and joined the firm. Together with Claude-Armand Sheppard, this knowledgeable, dedicated, and energetic trio continued to build the firm which became known as Robinson Sheppard Shapiro.

What Ben and Joe could never have imagined is that from those humble beginnings 100 years ago, RSS would one day be a firm of 90 lawyers occupying the top floors of a Montreal skyscraper.

The RSS family has, in its 100 years, witnessed some of the most profound and tragic events in history: the great depression, the Second World War, the World Trade Centre terrorist attacks, to identify but a few. On the positive side, there have been incredible technological advances and amazing scientific and medical developments that will have forever altered our lives. The members of RSS also had the distinct opportunity to enjoy and to be at the forefront of significant landmark decisions advancing human rights and freedoms in Canada.

It is impossible to capture in this short summary the enormity of the events in history and the multifaceted global advances and challenges that have taken place over the firm’s history. However, what is noteworthy is that despite these vast changes and the differences between the world then and now, there are certain things that have remained constant at RSS. It is a firm that has always had special people who are all passionate about the law. It is a firm that is and has always been deeply committed to its clients and has unwaveringly supported them, both through enormously challenging times and wonderful triumphs. It is a firm that has always strongly believed in the notion of “giving back” to the community and “paying it forward”, evidenced by its long standing and steadfast commitment to  social and philanthropic causes.

Throughout these many years, many firms have unfortunately disappeared from the professional landscape. However, RSS enjoys the great fortune to be continuing to thrive and to grow. This can perhaps be best explained by the core values that are so deeply engrained in its culture and have served as its guiding force. RSS has always placed great importance on a strong work ethic, a focus on excellence, an unwavering dedication to its clients, maintaining strong client relationships, a passion for law, deep bench strength and expertise in a wide variety of practice areas, as well as a great depth of experience and a clear vision for both the firm and its clients.

As the members of the RSS family mark its centennial, especially amidst the challenges of the past year, we are filled with feelings of gratitude and appreciation for the allegiance of our clients, lawyers and staff. Without their trust and loyalty, RSS would not be looking forward with excitement and optimism to the horizon ahead.

As the ILN is a place where lawyers become friends, RSS is a place where lawyers become family.

To our ILN partner firms, the RSS family is grateful for the invaluable personal and professional relationships we have been privileged to forge with so many of you over the years. We look forward to sharing the next 100 years of challenges, advances, and achievements.