Our Story is Part of the History of British Columbia
We’ve been trusted to advise on some of the largest projects and transactions in the history of the Province, and we’re not slowing down.
Bull Housser is a Vancouver-based law firm with a 126-year history of handling projects and transactions in areas that are key to Canada’s economic growth. With about 90 lawyers and over 140 staff and students, we act for international, national and local businesses, entrepreneurs and business owners, financial institutions, governments, associations, charities and tax-exempt organizations.
Ranked as a leading regional firm in Western Canada by Canadian Lawyer, our lawyers and alumni have played an integral role in the development of B.C.'s economy and legal system. We’re honoured to have supported some of our clients for over a century and through multiple generations, and are exceptionally proud of the fourteen alumni who have been elevated to the bench, including Chief Justice of Canada Beverly McLachlin, Canada’s third woman to be appointed to sit on the Supreme Court of Canada,
We helped redevelop Coal Harbour and Lower Lonsdale into spectacular, thriving neighbourhoods, and led the way on trailblazing infrastructure projects such as the first rapid transit P3 in Canada and first Canadian social housing renovation P3.
Our lawyers have been counsel before Canada’s highest court in 12 cases in the past decade – a record few firms in Vancouver can match. This includes going to the Supreme Court of Canada on what is now the leading case in the country on First Nations’ entitlement to consultation, as well as the most recent precedent-setting contaminated sites case – the leading contaminated sites cost recovery action in Canada. We were also Plaintiff’s counsel in the largest case in BC’s history: the government of British Columbia’s claim against the tobacco industry to recoup health care costs spent as a result of tobacco related disease.
Today, we’re advising on several of the largest industrial projects currently underway in B.C., as well as one of the largest federal shipbuilding contracts in Canadian history and some of the most cutting-edge intellectual property disputes the Province has ever seen.
As B.C. continues to thrive, so do we.
1890 lewis g. mcphillips is called to the bc bar And so the journey of Bull Housser begins...
1895 appointed outside legal counsel to the royal bank of canada Bull Housser has represented the Royal Bank of Canada for almost 120 years and became a resident at their building at 675 West Hastings Street in 1930.
1927 acts for h.y. louie in incorporating the company in 1927 Bull Housser acted for Mr. H.Y. Louie in incorporating his company in 1927 and has been this multi-billion dollar company's outside legal counsel ever since. We have had the honour of representing four generations of the family and look forward to doing so for many years to come.
1937 bull housser represents chung chuck for rights of chinese farmers In 1927 the B.C. government introduced laws regulating the marketing of tree fruits and vegetables, and in 1934 the B.C. Coast Vegetable Marketing Board began measures aimed at curtailing the activities of Chinese farmers. Chung Chuck, represented by Bull Housser, appealed to the Supreme Court. In January 1937 the Privy Council ruled the laws invalid. White farmers protested “unfair Chinese competition” and blocked Vancouver bridges. Chung attempted to cross, was attacked, and later charged seven men with assault. “He believed if he fought for his rights under the law, he would eventually win. And boy, did he fight.”
1955 tupper commission investigates the mulligan affair In 1955 a reporter wrote an article alleging corruption at the highest levels of the police department, specifically, that a pay-off system had been implemented whereby gambling operations that paid the police were left alone and those that did not were harassed. After the Flash article appeared the allegations could no longer be ignored and a Royal Commission, the Tupper Commission, was struck to hold a public inquiry. Chief Constable Walter Mulligan fled to the United States, another officer from the upper ranks committed suicide, and still another attempted suicide rather than face the inquiry.
1958 second narrows bridge accident – bull housser represents the royal commission In 1958, the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge collapsed. Nineteen people were killed and another 79 were injured. Of all the legal firms available, the Royal Commission investigating this tragic event trusted Bull Housser as their counsel.
1962 bull, housser & tupper In 1962 the law firm of Bull, Housser, Tupper, Ray, Carroll, Guy & Merritt became Bull, Housser & Tupper the incarnation of the firm we know today.
1976 london drugs purchased by h.y. louie – bull housser acts as legal counsel to h. y. louie Astute Vancouver businessman Tong Louie, the head of the family-owned H.Y. Louie Company, saw an opportunity to add to its business of grocery stores and food wholesaling by branching into new retail fields and, with Bull Housser's assistance, H.Y. Louie purchased London Drugs over Christmas of 1976.
1979 william a. esson is first partner elevated to the supreme court In 1989 Bill Esson went on to be appointed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of BC when former Bull Housser lawyer Beverly McLachlin became the third woman to be appointed to sit on the Supreme Court of Canada. Bull Housser is proud of their 14 alumni who have been elevated to the bench.
1985 opens first office in shanghai Bull Housser was the first Canadian law firm to open an office in the Peoples Republic of China and established a significant presence in the Chinese maritime area. The Province of BC also benefited from the resulting relationships with significant investment flowing from China in transactions involving Bull Housser.
1990 inducted into the vancouver board of trade's business hall of fame The Vancouver Board of Trade's Business Hall of Fame recognizes the important contribution to the Greater Vancouver area by companies or organizations which have been active in British Columbia for 100 years or more. In honour of their contribution, Bull, Housser & Tupper was inducted into the Vancouver Board of Trade's Business Hall of Fame on June 14, 1990.
2005 bull housser appointed to act on the $2-billion canada line project bull housser successfully upholds the constitutionality of bc’s tobacco damages and health care cost recovery act before the supreme court of canada The Canada Line is the first - and to date, the only – Public-Private Partnership (P3) Rapid Transit Rail Project in Canada. Bull Housser acted as Owner's Counsel for the team set up to procure and manage construction of this $2 Billion project. Bull Housser is counsel to the Province of British Columbia (“BC”) in a mass-scale lawsuit against three major Canadian tobacco manufacturers, certain of their foreign affiliates and the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council. BC seeks to recover health care costs incurred as a consequence of tobacco-related wrongs allegedly committed by the defendants, including alleged breach of their duty to warn consumers in BC about the serious health risks posed by their products and the addictive properties of those products, and alleged misrepresentation regarding the health effects and risks of smoking.
2011 seaspan awarded $8 billion national shipbuilding procurement strategy contract Bull Housser is working with Seaspan Marine Corporation to negotiate and finalize Seaspan's share of the $35 Billion in Federal Government Contracts awarded under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.
2012 telus gardens is announced as bull housser's new home Bull Housser and TELUS announce that the 120 year old law firm will become the first tenant in what is targeted to be Canada’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum building.