Dentons Canada absorbs 46 Heenan Blaikie lawyers after DLA talks fail

Dentons Canada has picked up 46 lawyers from collapsed Canadian firm Heenan Blaikie, weeks after DLA Piper pulled out of a deal to acquire a 70-strong team.

Speculation that Dentons was taking on the teams that DLA Piper had previously held discussions with (7 February 2014) escalated weeks ago, when Canada’s former prime minister Jean Chrétien announced plans to join the firm as counsel.

Dentons Canada initially took on 23 lawyers from Heenan’s Toronto and Montreal offices but did not rule out the possibility of more hires at the time (13 February 2014).

It has now picked up a further five partners across the collapsed firm’s Toronto, Montreal and Calgary offices, as well as an unspecified number of support staff.

Dentons’ Canada CEO Chris Pinnington said: “The dissolution of a respected firm like Heenan Blaikie is a sobering event for all of us in the Canadian legal community. However, we are pleased that our new colleagues have chosen Dentons as the firm best suited to meet the needs and expectations of their clients and to enable them to continue to build their successful practices.”

The move comes weeks after Baker & McKenzie hired a 13-strong team from Heenan Blaikie’s Toronto office, taking on its corporate & securities, tax, and banking and finance practices led by partners Kevin Rooney and Sonia Yung (13 February 2014).

A number of other firms in Canada have their eye on the failed firm’s staff. Virtual general counsel service Avokka, for example, is also looking to pick up lawyers from Heenan Blaikie after launching in Toronto late last week. 

The 40-year old Montreal-based firm, whose partners voted to dissolve the practice earlier this month, had eight offices in Canada, as well as a small base in Paris.

Its collapse has also resulted in the creation of a Vancouver-based litigation outfit – Gall Legge Grant & Munroe – which has been set up by Heenan’s founder Roy Heenan, according to Reuters.