Donahue, the Ernst & Young-tied firm in Canada, has decided to close two of its three offices
By the end of the year Donahue will operate only in Toronto, having shut down its offices in Calgary and Montreal. The decision was prompted in part by the departure of a 23-lawyer energy team from its Calgary office to Canadian rival McCarthy Tétrault (as revealed by www.thelawyer.com/lawyer news on 9 July). The team, comprising seven partners, two counsel and 14 associates, boosts McCarthy's energy, regulatory, corporate finance and M&A capability. But while McCarthy grows to more than 100 lawyers in Calgary, Donahue has been decimated. In Montreal, four of the office's six original members have decided to move to Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg. Donahue's downsizing has been inevitable since the collapse of Enron Corporation threw a spotlight on the independence of lawyers in multi-disciplinary partnerships. Former Donahue partner Harold Huber said that the decision to leave Donahue was client driven. Clients said they were no longer comfortable using an accountancy-tied firm. He added that McCarthy was a good fit because it offered an international platform. Glen Ireland, McCarthy's London managing partner, said: "The addition of this large team is a significant boost to our energy practice in Calgary and reinforces our ability to service our clients in international project development and financings across the energy sector." Donahue declined to comment.