Over the last 90 years, Guild Yule LLP has maintained its reputation as a firm that offers the highest quality of professional services. The values and standards set by earlier generations of counsel have remained but it is comprised of a young, dynamic group of lawyers, who practice law in a spirit of collegiality and openness, are proud of its past, and are committed to continuing to earn the trust of their clients, and the respect of their peers.
Guild Yule LLP traces its origins back to the year 1924, when the Vancouver firm of Taylor, Mayers, Stockton and Smith dissolved upon the retirement of Sidney Taylor K.C., and Taylor’s partner, E. Courtenay Mayers, struck out to form his own practice along with his student, W. C. Thomson. Mayers was a distinguished barrister, who had trained at the Inner Temple in London, England. He had prepared the first Digest to the B.C. Reports for the Law Society, and was the author of Admiralty Law and Practice, the first Canadian text on the subject. For several years prior to having joined Taylor’s firm, Mayers had practiced in Victoria and Vancouver with E. V. Bodwell Q.C. of the firm Bodwell, Lawson and Lane, representing some of the Province’s leading transportation, mining and insurance interests.
W. S. Lane, a colleague from Bodwell’s firm, joined Mayers and Thomson in 1926, forming a partnership that continues today as Guild Yule LLP. They were later joined in their practice by, among others, Charles H. Locke K.C., a highly regarded senior counsel from Winnipeg, who subsequently was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada; Kenneth L. Yule, who hailed from Regina; and in the 1930’s, by Jack Nicholson, who later served as a federal cabinet minister and as Lt.-Governor of B.C., and by Fred Sheppard, a law professor from the University of Saskatchewan, who eventually was appointed to the Court of Appeal. After the Second World War, they, in turn, were joined by another prominent Winnipeg counsel, C.K. Guild, the firm then being known as Locke, Lane, Guild & Sheppard.
In the late 1940s C.H. Locke, K.C. was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada and in the 1950s F. Sheppard, Q.C. was appointed to the B.C. Court of Appeal. In that latter decade, the firm was joined by G.R. Schmitt, Q.C., who had a LLM from Harvard and who was recruited from the Faculty of Law at the University of Saskatchewan, Frank Collier, Q.C. (who was later appointed to the Federal Court of Canada), E.E. Hinkson (who later became a B.C. Court of Appeal Justice), H.A. Hollinrake, Q.C. (who also later became a B.C. Court of Appeal Justice), and Pat Nowlan, who later became a Member of Parliament representing his late father’s constituency in Nova Scotia.
The 1960s saw a number of experienced Vancouver counsel join the firm, including Henry Hutcheon, Q.C. (who later became a B.C. Court of Appeal Justice), and George Murray, Q.C. (who was later appointed to the B.C. Supreme Court). Newly called lawyers who joined the firm in that decade included W.J. Sullivan, Q.C., Ron Holmes (who later was appointed to the B.C. Supreme Court), L.S.G. Finch (who later became the Chief Justice of British Columbia and returned to Guild Yule in January 2014), and K.C. Mackenzie, Q.C. (who later became a Court of Appeal Justice), who held a Doctorate of Law and after articling with the firm took an appointment in the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia for some years before returning to Guild Yule.
The remainder of the 20th century saw the development of more bright, young, dedicated lawyers who had articled with the firm, such as John Truscott, Q.C., Paul Walker, Q.C., Tony Saunders, and Carla Forth Q.C., (all of whom were later appointed to the B.C. Supreme Court) and Laura Bakan, Q.C., (appointed to the Provincial Court of BC) as well as Donald Yule, Q.C., and Mary Margaret Mackinnon. The firm attracted a number of other preeminent counsel who joined the firm after working elsewhere, including Ian Mackie, Jim Leith and Vernon Pahl.
In the 21st century experienced and respected counsel who share the Guild Yule tradition of excellence and commitment to the client and respect for each other joined the bright, dedicated, new lawyers who had articled with the firm. The new counsel includes Mark Skorah, Q.C., Jim Doyle, Julie Lamb, Q.C., Neil MacLean, Adam Howden-Duke, Alexander Kask, Tim Hinkson, and Russell Bailey.
Since the 1950s lawyers from the firm have taught insurance law in the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia. In addition, one of the firm members holds an appointment as an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC and teaches the medical students law as it may apply to health care. The firm has been active in the education of other lawyers through the Law Society’s Continuing Legal Education program.
Senior lawyers work diligently to instill in their juniors a rigorous approach to legal analysis, tempered with pragmatism and a sense of fairness. Long before mentoring and open doors became fashionable, they were a reality within the firm. Guild Yule LLP thereby obtained a reputation as one of Western Canada’s preeminent law firms; a place to which clients could turn for scholarly, yet practical legal advice, as well as unparalleled advocacy before Courts, Commissions and Tribunals.