Peter MacKay, the former federal attorney general and minister of Defence, will be joining global law firm Baker & McKenzie LLP's Toronto office, ending media speculation around potential leadership by MacKay of the Conservative party.
Peter MacKay will be a partner at the firm, working in litigation, government enforcement and compliance.
There had been media speculation about MacKay returning to politics in light of the leadership race for the Conservative party, but MacKay says he wants to focus on practicing law.
“What I can tell you is that I have made a very clear decision to resume the practice of law, and so that’s where my focus is,” says MacKay.
“I made that decision some time ago, when I exited politics to spend more time with my family, to be more available to them, but also, just to return to the private sector was always my intention, as a career, to practice law.”
MacKay says it will be the first time he’s made his home in Toronto, where he will be settling with his family, including two young children.
He says he is hopeful about having a healthy work-life balance.
“That was part of the calculus, I think it’s a good fit here. It’s a very family friendly environment, among other qualities attributable to Baker & McKenzie,” says MacKay.
Baker & McKenzie currently has about 80 lawyers in Toronto, and about 4,400 lawyers worldwide.
“All law firms react to what’s happening with their clients, and what their clients’ needs are,” says Kevin Coon, managing partner of the Toronto office. Coon says the firm has focused on “a pretty slow and steady strategic build.”
“If you look at the Fortune 500 list, there’s about 87 Canadian-headquartered companies, and many of those doing business globally now, and looking at how to do that in a compliant manner,” says Coon. “We’ve been focusing on their needs as they go global.”
Coon says the firm also focuses on global companies coming into Canada.
“Compliance is certainly one of those areas that we have built rapidly in North America, and globally. In Canada, we’ve been building it as well,” says Coon.
MacKay isn’t the only high-profile former politician to go back into practice. Former Ontario premier Bob Rae is with Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, and former Ontario premier David Peterson is with Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP.
Update Jan 26 to correct formatting and style.