On March 25th, Davis LLP turns 120. If a law firm’s success is measured by its growth, then Davis’ 120-year history speaks to an unparalleled achievement. This success would not have been possible without the strong foundation built by its founder and the hard work of the staff and lawyers who have served the firm throughout the years.
The firm was founded in 1892 by Edward P. Davis, only six years after the city of Vancouver was incorporated, and merely 25 years after Canada was born. Mr. Davis, who would become one of the most revered and well-known litigators of his time, had moved to Vancouver from Upper Canada. At that time, Vancouver, a city with just 15,000 inhabitants, was in the midst of a growth spurt. Hastings Street had just become the first paved road and The Hudson’s Bay Company was opening its first Vancouver store at the corner of Georgia and Granville Streets. Planning had also begun for Christ Church Cathedral and St. Paul’s Hospital. There was a lot of work available for an emerging law firm.
The firm opened its doors under the name Davis, Marshall and Macneill. The trio quickly attracted key clients and developed a reputation for excellence. Some of the firm’s earliest clients included:
Anglo British Columbia Packing Company, the largest sockeye salmon company in the world;
- Edison General Electric;
- Oppenheimer family, Vancouver’s first and largest wholesale merchants, including David Oppenheimer, Mayor of Vancouver 1888-1891;
- Canadian Pacific Railway and subsidiaries;
- Union Steamship Company, the leading steamship company in the Klondike;
- Vancouver Printing and Publishing Company, printer of the Vancouver Daily Province;
- New England Fishing Company;
- Canadian Bank of Commerce (now CIBC);
- North Star Mining Company; and
- British Columbia Sugar.
Over the following century, the firm continued to grow against the backdrop of economic and political fluctuations, such as the gold rush, two world wars, and the Great Depression. After Davis’ 100-year anniversary, the firm began its rapid expansion across the country. Davis & Company opened an office in Whitehorse and Yellowknife in 1993 and 1994, Toronto in 1996, Montreal and Tokyo in 1997, and Calgary and Edmonton in 2002.
True to its enterprising roots, Davis remains the only national law firm in Canada to have been born in the West and marched eastward. Today, the firm has the professional capacity to serve global clients from anywhere in the world.
Davis continues to grow as the firm attracts lawyers and staff who are committed to the same principle of excellence that was emulated by its founder, Edward P. Davis.