Canadian firms expect a huge upsurge in US work

Canadian firms are expecting a big boost in work from US clients, according to a survey released to The Lawyer last week.

The survey of the top 250 US corporations and top 250 US law firms, carried out by leading Toronto-based firm McMillan Binch, showed that a quarter of US corporations intended to increase their use of Canadian counsel over the next five years.

The survey also revealed that US corporations and law firms most frequently used Canadian law firms for acquisitions work.

Margaret McNee, a McMillan Binch partner specialising in mergers and acquisitions, said: “The relative strength of the US dollar and the stability of the Canadian economy makes Canadian corporations appealing targets for US corporate acquisitions.

“Recently, we've seen US companies outbid Canadian competitors for Canadian companies.”

There is almost no competition in Canada from any US or European law firm. New York-based firm Shearman & Sterling's practice in Canada is limited to providing US-legal counsel to its clients.

Andrew Kent, a partner at McMillan Binch, who commissioned the survey said: “The US market is huge and we wanted to understand some of our customers' needs a bit better.”