Canada’s Miller Thomson to merge with Swinton & Co

Toronto-based firm Miller Thomson is merging with a Vancouver practice to create one of Canada’s top 10 law firms.

By swallowing 50-lawyer firm Swinton & Company, Miller Thomson will grow to nearly 300 lawyers, while gaining a vital presence on Canada’s west coast.

Swinton & Company specialises in securities law, acting for Canada’s largest independent brokerage house Cannacord Capital, while Miller Thomson’s national expertise is in corporate commercial, tax, securities, litigation and environmental law.

Miller Thomson chairman Judson Whiteside says: “The stock exchanges in Calgary and Vancouver merged last year, so [the merger] made sense – the Vancouver firms are looking for a presence in Calgary, and we’re looking for a way in there.

“We also have a large Japanese practice in Washington DC – it was looking for a presence in Vancouver because there is such a large Asian community there.”

Miller Thomson’s clients include energy company PetroCanada, Toronto Dominican Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Glaxo Wellcome and Daimler Chrysler.

Outside Toronto, the firm has offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Markham and Washington DC. In Europe, Miller Thomson has referral links with City firms Denton Wilde Sapte and DJ Freeman, and with German firm Schurmann & Partners.

Following a trend of consolidation in the Canadian market, Whiteside says the firm will now look at Montreal and Ottawa to make its presence national.

Swinton & Company managing partner Donald Sorochan says: “What became evident was that, in order for us to progress, we’d have to pare out some parts of the practice and focus on specialist areas, or build up each of the practices that we have by engaging in national or international associations.”