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What next? Wigs? Another British law firm lands in Canada Add to ...

A second major British law firm has dipped its toe into Canada’s legal market.

The latest legal merger, which will see the large London-based global firm Clyde & Co. swallow Canadian insurance-law boutique Nicholl Paskell-Mede, took two years to get off the ground.

The deal becomes official Sept. 1 and was announced this week. But talk of the possible merger first surfaced publicly earlier this year, with word that David Angus, a Conservative senator and former partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP, had agreed to help the British firm establish a Canadian wing.

The deal will see Nicholl Paskell-Mede’s 38 lawyers join Clyde’s network of 700 lawyers and 24 offices around the world, something the Canadian firm says will give its clients access to a global pool of insurance-law expertise.

It took two years of courtship, after an introduction from Mr. Angus, to make the marriage happen, Nicholl Paskell-Mede partner Jo-Anne Demers said, before Clyde’s partners approved the merger in a unanimous vote last week. (Her firm did the same shortly before that.)

“Our clients know us, but now we will be able to respond to all their needs if they have any needs on an international level,” Ms. Demers said, adding that the Canadian firm already has an international presence, counting Lloyd’s of London as one of its clients.

Nicholl Paskell-Mede was founded in 1992 in Montreal, and expanded with a Toronto office in 2005. It specializes in insurance law, including acting for the insurers of professionals, such as accountants. But it also does defence work in class-action and product-liability cases. It will now use the Clyde & Co. banner.

The merger comes a month after Montreal-based national firm Ogilvy Renault LLP officially retired its name and joined with London-based legal giant Norton Rose, and amid speculation about other similar moves.

Clyde is not considered one of London’s so-called Magic Circle leading firms, but ranks within the country’s top 20. Like rival Norton Rose, it has been on an international-expansion spree lately, opening a new office in New Jersey last year. It also has U.S. offices in New York and San Francisco.

ON THE MOVE

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP has been on a hiring binge. In its London office, Jonathan Martin, an oil-and-gas merger specialist from British firm King & Spalding, joins as a partner. Andrew Thomas, a former partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, joins as a partner, and will head Fasken’s London-based banking practice.

Closer to home, Fasken has picked up two much-talked-about lawyers.

In Ottawa, Fasken has added Peter Mantas, a veteran of complex litigation and class-action cases and shareholder fights, who will lead Fasken’s emerging litigation practice after leaving Heenan Blaikie LLP. It’s the latest expansionary move for Fasken in Ottawa, where it took over local firm Johnston & Buchan LLP in 2007, and then grabbed some of McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Ottawa team back in 2009.

Fasken has also announced that Karen Zimmer, whose client list is heavy with financial institutions, has left McCarthy Tétrault LLP to join Fasken’s securities and mergers and acquisitions group in Vancouver as a partner.

Meanwhile, Steven Phipps – formerly an in-house lawyer for the City of Edmonton – has joined Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP as a partner in its Edmonton office’s municipal and real estate law group.



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