Canadian firms team up to give clients a united service

Toronto firm Fasken Campbell Godfrey and Montreal's Martineau Walker are merging in an attempt to rationalise Canada's fragmented legal network.

The firms' partners voted to form a 370-lawyer single practice – Fasken Martineau – last week. Faskens is also understood to be in talks with a Vancouver practice, and has set up a New York office.

Faskens' London partner John Elias says business from US-based clients is booming in Canada. Faskens and Martineaus have worked with each other for many years and have operated the joint London office for 13 years.

The mergers are a response to Canada's legal system, which is split into separate jurisdictions. “It is frustrating for international clients,” says Elias.

“Our long-range strategy is to make sure we have a presence in all the major centres in Canada, and it is a factor that is making other firms examine their strategies.”

Also last week, Ottawa's Gowling Strathy & Henderson merged with Calgary's Code Hunter to form a 450-lawyer firm. In October Toronto-based Tory Tory DesLauriers & Binnington joined with New York's Haythe & Curley.

Toronto's Osler Hoskin & Harcourt has closed its London office and relocated to Canada.