Our History - 1919-1945
Food lines during the Depression at the Vancouver City Dump. Photo Credit – The City of Vancouver Archive.
Development of new practice areas to serve the changing needs of clients in times of worldwide economic turmoil.

1919 - 1945

History Line

The Great Depression and World War II caused significant economic turmoil. As a result, the firm developed skills in new practice areas, including insolvency and securities regulation.

During this period, the firm recruited two outstanding individuals who would help shape the firm into what it has become today: David Neil Hossie and Sherwood Lett. David Neil Hossie is remembered as the most capable all-around lawyer in the history of British Columbia. A Rhodes scholar and decorated war hero, Hossie became a master of virtually all areas of practice from negotiating commercial contracts through estate law to civil litigation. Today, the University of British Columbia (UBC) honours his memory with an annual Prize in Corporate Law.

Sherwood Lett was a Rhodes Scholar, decorated war hero, brigade commander, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, and a recipient of the Order of the British Empire. He acted as UBC Alma Mater President, UBC Senator, Governor, and Chancellor. In 1947, he travelled to Japan to advise on Canada's policy toward the peace settlement with Japan and in 1954, he led the Canadian contingent supervising the truce in Vietnam negotiated at the Geneva Conference. In 1955, he became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of B.C. and later became Chief Justice of B.C.

Former Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson, said of Lett, "I know of no Canadian who has served his country in war and peace with greater distinction and more unselfishly."

Lett’s contributions are important as he began the firm's close and still sturdy relationship with Japan as a member of the Japan Society, for which he wrote a paper in 1934 on "Legal disabilities of Japanese including the Second Generation in B.C." UBC memorializes Lett through a scholarship in Law.