Uncertainties in Canada’s resource sectorExisting and future land claims and doubts on environmental rules have added a layer of uncertainty to an already difficult environment in the Canadian mining and resource sector, as companies struggle for development cash in a nervous and unsettled market.
Published in Issue Archive
Monday, 06 January 2014 08:00

The next big flameout?

Illustration: Sara Tyson
Illustration: Sara Tyson
What’s up at 40-year-old Heenan Blaikie, the law firm known for hiring former Liberal prime ministers Jean Chrétien and Pierre Trudeau? It has been shedding lawyers at an alarming rate.
Published in Commentary
Monday, 07 May 2012 09:04

The home field advantage

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, 20 February 2012 19:10

Mining for new lawyers

Cassels Brock’s Paul Stein says the new program will help educate lawyers with real mining knowledge.
Cassels Brock’s Paul Stein says the new program will help educate lawyers with real mining knowledge.
In keeping with its business law focus, Western University’s Faculty of Law is expanding its mining law and finance program thanks to a $750,000 donation from Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP.
Published in Latest News

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