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Law firm Dentons has recruited five new partners from Cassels, Brock & Blackwell LLP in an effort to strengthen its insurance law practice.

In total, nine legal professionals will join Dentons from Cassels, including three associates and a law clerk.

“If we were going to be the recognized leading global law firm in Canada, we needed to scale up in a number of major markets including Toronto,” said Blair McCreadie, Dentons’ Toronto managing partner. “Adding star talent like this is really critical to that strategy.”

Laurie LaPalme, who joined Dentons from Cassels to lead its Canadian insurance group, said joining a multinational firm such as Dentons will make it easier to serve their insurance clients.

“Insurance is a global industry, which is why moving to Dentons is very important for us,” she said. “Most of our clients are global; they have offices all around the world. And if we want to properly service them, we have to be at a firm that is able to see their needs and address their needs.”

The challenge for insurance lawyers, she says, is helping clients comply with various jurisdictional regulations in a moment when the regulatory environment is shifting, and emerging technologies, such as ride sharing, impose the need for new solutions.

“The things that keep our clients awake at night in the present day weren’t even in their contemplation seven, eight years ago,” said Arthur Hamilton, a partner who joined Dentons from Cassels, and once served as the top lawyer for the Conservative Party during Stephen Harper’s tenure.

At Cassels, Mr. Hamilton said he and Ms. LaPalme prepared insurance clients for a regulatory landscape that was becoming more aggressive in terms of sanctions and enforcement.

“What Laurie and I started developing was being able to get to these clients and say: ‘We’re seeing these trends. We’re seeing this coming. We’d like to come in and help you to make sure that you’re not on the wrong side of a regulator, and pro-actively take care of things before they become a problem.’”

Partners Derek Levinsky and Marisa Coggin will join Ms. LaPalme and Mr. Hamilton in Dentons’ Toronto office along with associates Taschina Ashmeade and Katie-May O’Donnell, and April Campbell, a law clerk.

Associate Tara McCarthy will join Dentons’ Calgary office, along with partner Laurie Livingstone, who represented the Conservatives with Mr. Hamilton at the federal Gomery commission, which looked into the Liberal sponsorship scandal in 2004 and 2005.

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