Norton Rose enters South America via merger with Canada’s Macleod Dixon

Norton Rose is to gain a presence in South America for the first time after confirming its merger with Canadian outfit Macleod Dixon.

Peter Martyr
Peter Martyr

The firm today announced that Macleod Dixon will join the Norton Rose group on 1 January 2012. It makes the firm into one of the world’s five largest firms by headcount, giving it 2,900 lawyers in 43 offices.

The firm will also acquire an office in Kazakhstan. Macleod Dixon has offices in Caracas, Bogotá and Almaty as well as a Moscow team to complement Norton Rose’s existing one.

Norton Rose’s Canadian operations, currently operating under the name Norton Rose OR, will see their name changed to Norton Rose Canada. Norton Rose OR head John Coleman will stay on  as managing partner of Norton Rose Canada, while Macleod Dixon managing partner Bill Tuer will join the firm’s global executive committee.   

The merged Canadian operations will become one financial entity with a single profit pool.

The announcement follows a vote over the weekend and yesterday (3 October) that produced an “overwhelming” result in favour of the deal, according to global chief executive Peter Martyr.

Martyr told The Lawyer the merger project dated back to the firm’s first Canadian merger with Ogilvy Renault in 2010 (15 November 2010). He said the firm’s international offering “is something that absolutely suits Macleod Dixon, and vice versa”, adding that the deal was a “no-brainer”.

Martyr said in a statement: “This is another very exciting move for the group and constitutes a significant step towards realising our ambition of becoming one of the world’s leading providers of legal services. This merger delivers real strength in energy and mining in Canada, as well as in emerging markets such as Latin America and Central Asia.”

Coleman said: “I believe this changes the legal landscape in Canada. We’ll have unmatched strength and reach in the mining and energy business in Calgary, and throughout the world including Latin America.”

Tuer said: “Our decision to merge was the result of a detailed strategic review. Joining Norton Rose Canada is a major global step in serving our clients through a broader and more sophisticated international practice.  We have had offices in emerging markets for 20 years and investment is flowing into and out of Canada more than ever before.”

Earlier today The Lawyer reported that the firm was in talks with Macleod Dixon (4 October 2011).