Regional Law Firm Rankings

Monday, 07 May 2012 09:04

The home field advantage

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Regional law firms in Quebec are hoping to prove the home field advantage is just as much a factor in legal services as it is in sports.
Canadian Lawyer returns to Quebec this year for our latest regional firm survey, to find the province’s full-service outfits jockeying with local and national rivals alike for a position on Plan Nord, the multibillion-dollar project for the development of Quebec’s north. “In Quebec, everybody talks about Plan Nord, which I think is simply applying what you already do in a new conjuncture. There’s a lot of opportunity there,” says Chantal Chatelain, managing partner of the Montreal office at Langlois Kronström Desjardins LLP. “The fact of being a regional firm I think is a great advantage because we’re already spread out across the province, we already have the business relationships with entrepreneurs in the construction industry in the north, and we have experience in dealings with government regulations and authority.”
Top-ranked Lavery de Billy LLP and its predecessors have spent the better part of a century cultivating roots in the province, and Richard Dolan, the chairman of the firm’s board, says that continues to give them an edge over larger newcomers to Quebec’s legal market. “Our deep understanding of the Quebec business market has positioned us really well. It allows us to quickly understand the opportunities and challenges that the Quebec market presents to not only our Quebec clients, but also national clients,” he says.
At Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melançon LLP, another firm with more than 50 years of history, co-managing partner Bruno Floriani says the recent economic downturn has increased demand for regional firms like his, even from international businesses looking to expand in North America. “We got looked at a lot more seriously by some in-house counsel who were looking to retain the same quality of service, but perhaps without the infrastructure that goes along with the national firms,” he says. “There is a growing realization among some of the larger international companies that there are very good lawyers in these regional firms that are as good as any of the national firms.”
At the other end of the scale, Delegatus Services Juridiques Inc. makes its first appearance on our list in just its seventh year of business. The firm has established itself with a unique business model that offers senior lawyers flexible work arrangements and pricing options. The strategy has paid off, attracting lawyers from larger, more traditional firms and an impressive roster of clients. “We allow our lawyers to self-determine the amount of time they put in in billable hours yearly, so our work environment is much healthier. They don’t take as many clients maybe, but the ones they have they are extremely well looked after,” says vice president Paul St-Pierre Plamondon. “We’ve tripled our revenues in only a year and a half, because our lawyers are anything but laid back. They care about an excellent life, but they’re also very proactive and entrepreneurial.”
At LKD, Chatelain has also made headway attracting talent from national firms. “What lawyers see as a big advantage is they have more flexibility. They could be a very small fish in a very big pond, or a big fish in a smaller pond. Financially speaking, there’s not that much difference between the two. In fact, sometimes they get a better cut in a firm like ours than one with a very large business structure to support,” she says. “We’re living proof that not only is there space for regional firms, but there’s a vibrant space for us and a need.”
Read on to find the full list of Quebec’s Top 10 Regional Firms. The 2010 positions are noted in parentheses.
Photo: Luc-Antoine Couturier
Photo: Luc-Antoine Couturier
Regional law firms in Quebec are hoping to prove the home field advantage is just as much a factor in legal services as it is in sports.
Monday, 03 October 2011 09:00

Prairie gold

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Photo: Just a Prairie Boy
Photo: Just a Prairie Boy
It’s not easy being a full-service regional firm in Saskatchewan and Manitoba these days. When not turning clients away because you’re just too busy, you’ve got to field calls from national firms looking to link up and establish a presence in some of Canada’s most lively economic zones. And the firms featured in Canadian Lawyer’s list of top 10 Prairie law firms are sure to be on the top of anyone’s list of targets, whether for legal services or a law firm merger. So you can just imagine how swamped they are.
Monday, 02 May 2011 11:31

Global reach, regional focus

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Global reach, regional focusOpportunities have certainly opened up for Ontario’s full-service regional firms in recent years. Since Canadian Lawyer last ranked them along with their Quebec peers in 2006, two of the top three have moved on or out. The top firm, McMillan Binch Mendelsohn LLP, has rebranded itself as McMillan LLP and combined forces with Lang Michener LLP to join the national crowd. And who could forget the March 2007 dissolution of the once-formidable Goodman and Carr LLP, which placed third in the 2006 rankings? “I think that’s to our benefit,” Torkin Manes LLP managing partner Jeffrey Cohen says of these departures from the mid-market. He says the hollowing out has made it easier to identify the clients his firm is chasing, and better tailor its services and marketing efforts to them. “We’ve stayed the course. We know who we are; we understand where our limitations are, and we don’t worry about what we can’t do. We focus on what we can do.”
Sunday, 03 October 2010 20:00

In the limelight

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Economic growth and development have led to an optimistic outlook among Atlantic Canada’s top 10 full-service law firms. Increased investment and development in the region mean more opportunities for all firms on this year’s list — large and small, say managing partners. The firms made this year’s list through Canadian Lawyer’s annual survey based on the votes of lawyers across Canada. To qualify, these firms needed to offer a wide range of legal services and have offices only in Atlantic Canada — New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
Sunday, 04 July 2010 20:00

The crème de la crème

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The crème de la crèmeCanadian Lawyer’s latest top firm survey takes us to Quebec, where regional, full-service firms have established a confident foothold.

One of those firms is BCF LLP, and its managing partner, Mario Charpentier, says any regional firm in Quebec hoping to survive must keep a close eye on its clients’ interests. He believes strong rapport with entrepreneurs and CEOs of mid-market companies is the key to his firm’s survival in the face of heavy competition from large firms. “We can attract those clients, and we win our battles on this ground,” he says.

 

Monday, 05 April 2010 06:20

Best in the West

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Best in the WestIt wasn’t long ago that a wave of mergers formed a cluster of large, national law firms and prompted legal industry pundits to declare the death of the regional firm. There is no way they can stand up to the boundless resources of big law, the experts cried. Fast-forward a decade or so, and it’s safe to declare that doomsday scenario, shall we say, a tad premature. “As Mark Twain said, rumours of our demise are greatly exaggerated,” says Edmonton-based Field LLP managing partner James Casey.

 

Tuesday, 03 February 2009 08:02

Making connections

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When the binoculars on the CN Tower in Toronto turn south and west, they look towards a region that gets its strength from diversification, both within and between its cities.
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 05:52

Turf wars

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The Atlantic Canada market continues to consolidate, as firms fight to keep deals down home and ride an economic boom thanks to high commodity prices, expanding oil and gas revenues, and unique legislation that allows unlimited liability companies.
Monday, 16 October 2006 10:49

Winning the west

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Winning the westIn our second annual peer-ranked survey celebrating the leading mid-sized firms from Manitoba to B.C., we examine the challenges and opportunities unique to the region.
Sunday, 10 September 2006 21:00

Coveting mid-market deals

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While national law firms duke it out for the shrinking pie of corporate work in Canada’s rapidly consolidating capital markets, central Canada’s regional firms say their strategy to remain independent and target mid-market deals and entrepreneurial clients will leave them standing at the end of the day — something, they say, that many so-called national law firms won’t be able to accomplish. Here's our latest ranking of central Canadian firms.
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