Legal & Public Practice News

126 year-old Vancouver law firm takes the global stage

Bull Housser, one of B.C.’s most well respected law firms, has joined forces with a global law firm in a combination that will give the Vancouver-based firm and its clients worldwide reach.

In September, Bull Housser and Norton Rose Fulbright announced that the two firms would combine in an initiative that will propel the British Columbia firm into the global legal market.

Bull Housser, with its 126 years of history, has 92 lawyers at its Vancouver office. Norton Rose Fulbright is a fast-growing global firm that has established out its Canadian presence in recent years with offices in Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

The result is a partnership that will allow Bull Housser to expand its service offerings for its B.C. clients and provide Norton Rose Fulbright and its global clientele with a trusted advisor in the province.

“Our respective clients want simplified access to our firm across Canada, the U.S. western seaboard and the Pacific Rim. This combination addresses their need for that and provides a Vancouver presence,” says Charles Hurdon, Managing Partner of Norton Rose Fulbright in law

The two firms have complementary strengths, offering market leading capability in energy, mining, infrastructure, financial services, real estate, shipping, ports, life sciences, healthcare and technology.

Moreover, the combination will provide three key advantages for clients: innovative service offerings, improved efficiencies through advanced technology as well as access to leading legal advisors around the globe.

The combination follows a trend of consolidation in the industry in Canada, whereby global firms have formed partnerships with established Canadian firms.

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B.C. expected to lead country in economic growth in 2017: BMO

British Columbia is set to take top spot among the Canadian provinces for economic growth both this year and next, according to a BMO Financial Group report released October 6.

The province’s economy will grow by 3.0% this year, which is more than double the 1.2% growth expected nationally, BMO forecasts. In 2017, B.C.’s economy is forecast to grow a further 2.5%, compared with 2.0% nationally.

“This would continue a run of stable and solid growth averaging 2.8% over the past seven years,” BMO said in the report. “The province’s resource base is much more diverse (natural gas, base metals, forestry and little direct exposure to oil), housing has been roaring, while the combination of sturdy U.S. demand and a weaker Canadian dollar are a net positive for exports and tourism.”

The report points out that because B.C. is Canada’s biggest trading partner with Asia, slowing growth in China would hit this province the hardest.

The recently introduced foreign buyers tax is working to soften home sales, especially in the high-end sector, said Robert Kavcic, BMO senior economist.

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Law firm Bull Housser Tupper merges with Norton Rose Fulbright

One of the world’s fastest-growing law firms will merge with Vancouver’s Bull Housser Tupper (BHT) in a move that will see BHT operate as Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF).

BHT is Vancouver’s sixth-largest law firm with 95 local lawyers, according to Business in Vancouver’s 2016 list of largest law firms.

The firm specializes in legal niches such as real estate, wealth preservation, general business, dispute resolution, litigation and infrastructure projects.

In April, it celebrated its 125th anniversary by moving into 67,000 square feet on three floors of the Telus Garden office tower.

NRF has rapidly grown into a global legal powerhouse.

It was created in 2013 when London’s Norton Rose merged with U.S.-based Fulbright & Jaworski and, with the stroke of a pen, NRF became one of the largest law firms on the planet.

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Add lawyers to loan forgiveness program: bar association

Michael Welsh, who was appointed bar president on August 15, said rural citizens, including small-business owners in remote communities, are suffering due to increasing attrition within the legal profession. Welsh noted that many rural lawyers are baby boomers and have reached the age of retirement.

“A lot of the lawyers who are in the smaller communities have been there a long time,” said Welsh, a litigation lawyer with Penticton’s Mott, Welsh & Associates. “And they’re getting to the age where they’re retiring or winding down their practices and you’re not finding younger lawyers coming into those communities to replace them.”

The CBABC estimates that approximately 75% of B.C.’s lawyers practise within Vancouver, Victoria and Surrey. Welsh said most law school graduates are forced to work for a major firm when they leave school because large companies are the only ones that can afford to pay the size of salaries that can reduce student debts.

A CBABC letter to Premier Christy Clark lobbying to add lawyers to the loan forgiveness program noted that, because the average starting salary for a lawyer usually ranges between $25,000 and $45,000, working in a rural setting or trying to set up a practice is not cost-effective.

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