As recalled by Calvin Wm. Beresh and Ashley R. Gnys (March, 2010)
In 1894 the father of Franklin Griffiths founded the law firm in the city of Niagara Falls. We had a father and son team for this law firm and after the 1890’s Franklin Griffith’s joined up with his father. Franklin Griffiths was appointed to the bench perhaps fifty years ago and spent many years as the senior judge in the Welland County.
A greatly respected lawyer who passed away in the 1980’s. Stanley Sharpe was the partner that joined Griffith’s in the 1940’s and was the business manager of the firm during his career as a partner. He was also president of the Welland County Bar Association. Mr. Stanley Sharpe retired after a lengthy career in commercial/business law in 1972. John Clement was the next partner in the law firm who had a distinguished career as a litigator and was elected to represent the city of Niagara Falls as a member of Provincial Parliament during the 1970’s. In 1972 John Clement became the Attorney General for the Province of Ontario, a position which he held for four years before he returned to private practice in the city of Toronto.
Don Wallace was another partner who was a criminal law lawyer and litigation lawyer. Don was appointed to the Provincial Court Criminal Division as a criminal court judge. He has continued as a judge of the Superior Court to this day and hears the majority of the criminal law cases in this judicial district. Allen Root was another successful litigator who obtained a position and left the law firm to become a crown attorney. Allen Root has been for twenty years the senior crown attorney in the judicial district of Niagara South and has had an extremely successful legal career. John B. Hopkins, Jr was a barrister and solicitor and a partner of this firm who practiced general solicitors work in this city for ten years before the delusion of the partnership.
In or around 1972, John Clement confirmed that he would not be continuing practicing in Niagara Falls due to political responsibilities. Stan Sharpe decided he would retire and Don Wallace was appointed to the bench. This left the two remaining partners John Hopkins and Neil Sharpe. John B. Hopkins left the firm to start another partnership in the late 1970’s and, at the time that this was written, he was still practicing in the City of Niagara Falls.
Neil Sharpe, son of Stanley Sharpe, practiced law for 11 years. He retired in 1983, after publishing the real estate text “Conveyancing Requisitions” (Butterworths), to pursue a career in medical genetics/genetic counselling, and is the author/contributing editor of research papers and medical genetics texts.
In September of 1983, Cal W. Beresh and Ashley R. Gnys acquired the firm of Sharpe and Sharpe and this became the firm of Sharpe, Beresh, and Gnys. The firm of Sharpe and Sharpe was heavily concentrated in Wills and Estates, Corporate and Commercial law, with some General and Personal Injury Litigation. In the mid-eighties the firm moved it’s located from its office above Dobbie’s Florist on Victoria street to its location where it stands today at 4700 St. Claire street where Sharpe and Sharpe had been doing business since 1967.
Between the years of 1984 and 1986 was a time of rapid growth. This had occurred as a result of hard-work and the business move of Ashley Gnys joining Cal Beresh by relocating his Ottawa practice to Niagara Falls which officially started their partnership on March 15, 1983.
The year between 1984 and 1985 saw the addition of three other lawyers including Richard Strongitharm, Daniel Mailer, and David Howlett. By 1986 the firm saw the addition of Robin MacDonald, but by 1988 the firm’s lawyers had been depleted to just Cal Beresh and Ashley Gnys. In the late eighties and through-out the nineties the firm re-positioned itself within the market to focus upon personal injury litigation.
Into the new millennium, Wills and Estates under the leadership of Cal Beresh became the second major focus of the firm. Associated with the firm since 1992, a lawyer by the name of Ted Padget officially joined the office heading forms of litigation concerned with both estates and family litigation. In November of 2000, the firm acquired its first articling student Jeff Campbell. In 2002 Jeff Campbell was called to the bar and worked with the firm until 2004 and then decided to establish his own firm. Not much, has changed since that time, and the firm continues to successfully represent its clients in the areas of wills and estates, family law and personal injury.