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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)

Another cross-Atlantic legal merger is inked Add to ...

Another large British law firm is coming to Canada.

London-based Clyde & Co., a full-service law firm with a specialty in insurance law, has swallowed up insurance-law boutique Nicholl Paskell-Mede, which has offices in Montreal and Toronto.

Talk of the merger, officially announced Monday, first surfaced 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 approximately 40 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.

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.

Legal circles in Canada are rife with merger talk. U.S.-based global law firm DLA Piper -- the world's largest, at least by head count -- has said it was also interested in establishing a Canadian branch, and had explored talks with a handful of unnamed Canadian firms.

The merger between Clyde and Nicholl Paskell-Mede, which does work for Lloyd's of London syndicates, officially takes effect Sept. 1, the firm said in a news release.

Clyde & Co. partner and board member James Burns said in a statement that the Canadian firm was a natural fit: "Canada is an extremely attractive market with a robust and diversified economy. The Canadian insurance market is going from strength to strength and the U.K. insurance market is building up its presence in Canada."

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 an international expansion binge lately, opening a new office in New Jersey last year. It also has U.S. offices in New York and San Francisco.

Nicholl Paskell-Mede was founded in 1992, and while it specializes in insurance law, it also does defence work in class-action and product-liability cases.

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