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Breanna Needham, Founder and Lawyer with Luceo Legal, at Space, a co-working space in downtown Toronto on March 27.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Legal Moves is a monthly roundup of job changes at Canada’s law firms.

Commercial litigator Breanna Needham, who made headlines four years ago for successfully shaming the Law Society of Ontario into converting its gigantic men-only robing room at Osgoode Hall into a gender-neutral space, is going out on her own.

Ms. Needham, who was previously at DLA Piper, opened the doors to her new shop, Luceo Legal, on March 18. The firm will provide a range of services such as commercial litigation, investigations, dispute resolution and risk management solutions.

“I was at a career crossroads and I’ve been really inspired by several other women in law who decided to create their own path by starting their own firm,” she said.

In her boutique firm, Ms. Needham said she hopes to appeal to small and medium-sized businesses that have unique needs compared to larger corporations.

“For example, in a really fast-paced digital environment, you’ve seen the rise of the side hustle. … Small businesses, local business, startups, they’re often the ones that are facing some of these challenges first,” she said. “A growing problem, particularly with younger individuals, is that their side hustle is often in direct conflict with their main job.”

This can create tension with employers. But while larger companies will likely have policies and procedures in place, smaller businesses may have gaps in this area.

“The goal is to deliver tailored solutions for clients to tackle the challenges they face, not only when they’re dealing with litigation, but also to address managing risk and preventing problems before they happen,” she said.

As for the name of her new firm, Ms. Needham said Luceo is a Latin word that means clear and evident, to shine and to light the way – a description she felt was apt for a new law firm.

McMillan LLP has a new banking and financial services team in its Calgary office, after a group of tight-knit colleagues decided to branch out from their previous firm.

Financial services lawyer Gary Rose met Glen Peterson and Ben Nuttall several years ago when they were working at Dentons’ office in Calgary. Later, David Fendley joined the banking team.

“Often in these situations, you’re kind of thrown in with people you don’t know. It may be a good fit. It may not be. Usually you can make it work. But we found we really liked working together,” Mr. Rose said.

The team, supported by associate Adam Palmer, had similar values, strategies and approaches, not only in dealing with clients, but also with work colleagues. With everything clicking, they thought about the best way to grow.

When the opportunity with McMillan came up, it seemed like a great fit, Mr. Rose said. The firm didn’t have a dedicated banking and finance group in its Calgary office, providing the team a lot of freedom, but the firm also had a great reputation in their area of law nationally. This month, all five lawyers – along with two legal assistants and a paralegal – made the jump.

Also at McMillan this past month, Marc Kemerer, a municipal, land use planning and development lawyer, joined the firm’s municipal group as partner. And Peter Burn, a past member of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, came on as counsel in McMillan’s international trade group. Previously, Mr. Burn also spent time acting as counsel on tax and trade policy to the federal minister of finance and as an adviser to the federal minister of the environment.

This month, Loopstra Nixon announced that Jenna Morley, the former city solicitor of Kingston, will be opening a new office for the firm in that city.

“Our expansion to Kingston represents the continuation of the firm’s strategic plan to grow our footprint to serve clients throughout the province and across the country. Together with our Ottawa office, our new Kingston office helps to solidify our presence in Eastern Ontario,” managing partner Allan Ritchie said in a statement.

At Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Brad Gilmour joined the firm’s regulatory, Indigenous and environmental practice group as a partner in the Calgary office. Mr. Gilmour was part of the team representing the government of Alberta in its challenge to the Impact Assessment Act, which essentially gave the federal government the power to review large industrial projects that could be harmful to the environment in order to determine if they are in the public interest. In that landmark case, the Supreme Court of Canada found the legislation to be unconstitutional in part.

In other moves: Marina Paperny, a former justice of the Court of Appeal of Alberta, has joined Borden Ladner Gervais as senior counsel. Jamie Greenberg, the former general counsel at Wattpad, is taking on a new role with Ottawa-based artificial intelligence software startup Solink Corp. And Claire Seaborn, who has been working as the chief of staff to the federal minister of energy and natural resources, is joining Torys LLP’s energy and infrastructure group in Toronto as counsel.

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