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Bar Talk (Christopher S. Reed/© Copyright 2007 by Christopher S. Reed)

Bar Talk

(Christopher S. Reed/© Copyright 2007 by Christopher S. Reed)

Bennett Jones to open in Abu Dhabi Add to ...

It was just last November that Bennett Jones LLP announced it was the first Canadian law firm to open an office in Dubai. Now, it will announce Wednesday that it is opening a second office in the United Arab Emirates, this one in the capital, Abu Dhabi.

It is the latest sign that Canada's law firms are aggressively going global. Hugh MacKinnon, Bennett Jones's chief executive officer, said that while Dubai remains a centre of deal making in the region, Abu Dhabi is where the government and the UAE's mighty sovereign wealth funds are located, so it makes sense to be there.

The firm plans to staff the new Abu Dhabi office with five lawyers in the near future, with two Canadian partners to start. Its Dubai office currently has six lawyers, five partners and one senior counsel.

The non-merger

Lax O'Sullivan Scott Lisus LLP, a Toronto litigation boutique well known for indulging in funny Christmas cards and April Fool's jokes, got more than it bargained for with its latest prank.

In a mock press release playing off the recent mania for law firm mergers, the firm announced it was merging with "London based mega firm Kronick, Blatter, Peign," and was changing its name to "Lax Blatter."

(Bar Talk is ashamed to admit we did not catch the joke until trying to Google the alleged London firm's name, when saying it aloud made it clear why the announcement was embargoed until April 1.)

Clifford Lax says the firm was shocked by how many fell for its prank: "Obviously, the legal profession has a problem scrutinizing documents … The response was totally unexpected and by far larger than anything we have previously done."

He asked that Bar Talk mention the fake merger "so that we do not start to receive cheques made payable to Lax Blatter." And so we have.

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