In the last two weeks, the MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays have made trades and acquisitions from all over the U.S.  The team is on fire, the Rogers Centre is selling to its 45,000 person capacity and there is a winning energy in the air.  But the Blue Jays,  their fans, and their latest string of new players are not the only ones who are noticing this great city.  Yesterday, Littler Mendleson, the Bay Area Headquartered AmLaw 100 Labour and Employment boutique opened its doors in Toronto and Canada.  Aside from the new spellings it will need to adopt, the opening signals what I have always held true.  Toronto is a world class city, with opportunity for the legal market that expands beyond the “6”.  I could be lamenting the consolidation of the industry and pain of the current exchange rate or the price of oil, but today, I am (possibly naively), buoyed by the energy of the announcement and the paradigm shift it represents for this legal market.  All eyes are on Toronto and thankfully this time, it’s not because of our drama generating former mayor but because of the vitality of the city and the country.  There is no doubt that the legal industry is changing, if you only ever read 3 Geeks, you’ll get a pretty good sense of the angst and possibility of the current climate, and moves like this one, remind me that not all change is bad and in fact change is the necessary evil that forces us to grow and evolve.  So, as the Canadian “Geek”, let me welcome you to Toronto.  May you enjoy the city and its energy as much as I do and Go Jays Go!

The legal market consolidated a bit more today in Canada
as DLAPiper LLP announced that Davis LLP will be joining the Swiss verein’s North
American arm as its newest member firm in April 2015.  The Am Law Daily, summed up the change in Canada over the past few years
the best:

“DLA Piper is just the latest
firm to expand north, always with struggling mid-tier firms. Two other firms
organized as international vereins—Dentons and Baker & McKenzie—were more successful in
absorbing groups of refugees from the dissolving Heenan Blaikie last year.
Dentons had already entered the market in 2013, combining
with
560-lawyer Fraser Milner Casgrain.

Norton Rose was the first, sealing
a deal
 with 450-lawyer Ogilvy Renault in 2010. Calgary-based Macleod
Dixon joined
it
 in 2011, and Fulbright & Jaworski in
2012,
bringing yet another U.S. firm under the same global umbrella with a
Canadian one.”

Rich in natural resources and backed by a stable banking
and finance industry, Canada is ever more attractive to companies and law firms
alike. As a resident Canadian amongst the 3 Geeks, I wanted to share and
reaffirm that there is more to Canada than hockey, beer, Coffee Crisp and ketchup
chips and I am not the only one who is taking notice.

 
Many believed that Canadian leverage was too high compared to US and UK firms, but the Canadian economy is stable, our lawyers are talented and the merger announcements keep coming. Until recently, the Canadian market has been relatively sheltered from major international mergers. Until Norton Rose merged with Ogilvy Renault as of June 1, 2011, and with long standing Alberta based MacLeod Dixon as of January 1, 2012. 
Just last week, on November 7th 2012,  SNR Denton, Salans and Canadian firm Fraser Milner Casgrain announced a three way merger, to create a new global law firm with about 2,500 lawyers and 79 offices. And today, another announcement, effective June 1, 2013 involves Norton Rose again, but this time with Fulbright and Jaworski.  The combined firm will be a global legal practice that will include 3,800 lawyers in 55 offices across the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.  Can you imagine the conflicts that had to be cleared for that one? 
These recent mergers are game changers for US, UK, Canadian and all International firms.  To deny its impact and influence, whether the future brings success or failure would be inane.  It will have an impact and all I can hear is  R.E.M. playing in my head…. “it’s the end…..”