Integration of law firms is a done deal - Sent Using Google Toolbar

Integration of law firms is a done deal

Integration of law firms is a done deal

Lavery, de Billy swallows rival and plans marketing and branding campaign


Published: Friday, October 05

It is officially a done deed and plans are already in the works for a major marketing and branding campaign to exalt the new status.

Lavery, de Billy LLP said this week that 34 lawyers specializing in business law, commercial litigation and bankruptcy and insolvency, along with some 40 translators, paralegals and legal and administrative support staff from the Montreal office of Desjardins Ducharme LLP, formally became one team with its stable of 46 business lawyers on Monday.

The firms had previously announced the combination of their business law, commercial litigation and bankruptcy and insolvency teams and the creation of one the biggest strictly Quebec-based (vs. national platform law firms) teams with 80 lawyers (175 lawyers firm-wide) on Aug. 17 after Desjardins Ducharme began the move toward final dissolution.

Now the focus is on integration - and logistics - as lawyers from the two firms work out of two offices (they need the space), Lavery de Billy's main office at Place Ville Marie and Desjardins Ducharme's two-floor spread at the National Bank Tower on de la Gauchetière.

Lawyers will be changing window views between now and Christmas as partners are grouped in one building or the other along practice lines. And the huge task of merging accounting and computer systems already is complete.

Lavery de Billy managing partner Richard Dolan is no stranger to integration issues, having been at the firm for the 1992 merger of Lavery O'Brien with Gagnon de Billy Cantin Beaudoin Lesage & Associates that added about 50 lawyers to the firm at that time.

Coming in the not-too-distant future will be a branding and marketing campaign to highlight the firm's new heavyweight status as a provider of business law services (the firm also has strong niches in labour and environmental law).

The number of business lawyers jumped more than 40 per cent with the addition of Desjardins Ducharme lawyers and given that when people change law firms, perceptions can change, Lavery de Billy wants to make sure that the business community - including law firm competitors -- is aware of its new identity in the fight for local clients and deals.

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Lawyers formerly with Desjardins Ducharme are still positioning themselves elsewhere.

Christian Faribault, a securities and public financings lawyer, who was to have joined Lavery, de Billy with 34 other business lawyers, has been courted away by Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and will join BLG's business law team on Oct. 15.

And Jacques Lemieux, also formerly a corporate lawyer with Desjardins Ducharme, officially joined the business law group of Ogilvy Renault LLP as of Monday. Lemieux practises in corporate acquisitions, sales and mergers, and other business specialities. Ogilvy Renault had previously boosted its bench strength in the summer with the arrival of Thomas (Tam) Davis, a corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions specialist, bringing the number of players on the business law team to 59. (Two new arrivals are expected by the end of the month but Ogilvy Renault is not yet revealing who the new recruits are.) Davis had previously been with the Montreal office of McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

Elsewhere, Dominique Fortin, who was a securities and mergers and acquisitions lawyer at Desjardins Ducharme, joined the Montreal office of Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP.

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Fasken Martineau LLP has recruited Serge Lapointe from the private sector to be part of a national patent agent team it said it is in the process of building.

Lapointe, who will join the Montreal technology and intellectual property practice group, has worked in the sector for the past 10 years, including his most recent stint as director of intellectual property for Neurochem Inc.

He specializes in appraising patent portfolios in the life sciences sector and has also performed due diligence (checking the books of companies) on behalf of institutional investors.

He has the title of Dr. - his doctorate dissertation at Université Laval focused on the purification, characterization and cloning factors that stimulate the motility (a biological term) and survival of bovine sperm.

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Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP chose Montreal this past weekend for a professional development and networking retreat attended by more than 450 lawyers from its nine offices across Canada.

The colour was pink as several lawyers wore pink shirts, pink wigs and pink sunglasses because the meet took place on the same weekend as the CIBC Run for the Cure in support of the fight against breast cancer (a cause Blakes has chosen to support).

Donations gathered from the retreat totalled $48,000, surely helped by the testimony and fund-raising appeal of a Blakes lawyer who recently completed her treatment for the disease.

If you have any information to share about what is happening in the legal community, send it to kleger@sympatico.ca