Top Canadian firms withdraw from partnership

LEADING Canadian firms Olgivy Renault and Osler Hoskin & Harcourt (OHH) are demerging their international partnership, Osler Renault.

The two firms, which practise separately in Canada, established a joint international venture in 1989, establishing Osler Renault offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and London.

OHH partner in London David Drinkwater said the demerger followed Olgivy Renault's decision to open an office later this year in Toronto, where OHH is based.

He said both firms originally had their principal base in two different cities.

“The two firms concluded regrettably that being in direct competition in the Toronto market was incompatible with the continued joint venture internationally.”

Olgivy Renault has Canadian offices in Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City. It opens its Toronto office in summer this year.

The firm's partner in London, Michael Fortier, said the decision was influenced by clients in Quebec who wanted the practice to represent them in Toronto.

It was already advising Toronto clients on Ontario matters, and also wanted to advise these clients on issues within their own state.

“Ontario is going to be an area of tremendous growth in the next five years,” said Fortier, adding that Montreal was relatively stagnant.

In London, OHH and Olgivy Renault will continue to practice from the same address, but in different offices.

Olgivy Renault will cease to be represented in Singapore following the demerger, but OHH will maintain an office.

OHH will also retain a Hong Kong office, while Olgivy Renault plans to keep one partner in the country. It is not known where the partner will work from.