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November 10, 2010 2:44 PM

Another Big Firm Merger, This Time Up North

Posted by Brian Baxter

Two of Canada's largest law firms, McMillan and Lang Michener, have agreed to form a 400-lawyer firm with offices in five Canadian cities and Hong Kong, according to The Canadian Press.

The merger between the two firms will be effective as of January 1, 2011. The newly combined firm, which will keep the McMillan name, will be led by the firm's current CEO, Andrew Kent. (Click here for a video release that has the management from both firms touting the merger's merits while sitting side-by-side at a conference room table.)

The Financial Post describes the union of McMillan and Lang Michener as a near perfect fit. Both firms are based in Toronto, but Lang Michener has offices in Ottawa, Vancouver, and Hong Kong and McMillan has operations in Montreal and Calgary. The merger will provide the new McMillan with greater national reach and with an outpost in Asia.

The merger talks started last December. Ultimately, it was Lang Michener's strength in outward-bound markets like Vancouver that kept the talks going and led the way to a deal, reports The Montreal Gazette (the paper has a lengthy Q&A with management from both firms).

The new McMillan will seek to boost its presence in key industries like mining, forest products, oil and gas, financial services, technology, communications, manufacturing, and transportation, the Financial Post reports.

Based on rankings compiled by Canadian Lawyer magazine, the new McMillan will be the twelfth-largest firm in Canada, ahead of Calgary-based Bennett Jones and just behind Montreal-based Ogilvy Renault.

The American Lawyer reported two years ago on how Canada's energy boom had been a boon to the bottom lines of firms with offices in Calgary.

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