The Firms

April 13, 2011 6:38 PM

Paul Weiss Opens in Toronto with Shearman Hires

Posted by Brian Baxter


Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison has opened an office in Canada with two top Toronto-based partners hired from Shearman & Sterling, the firm announced late Tuesday.

Capital markets and M&A partners Christopher Cummings and Adam Givertz joined Paul Weiss on Tuesday, according to a statement announcing the new hires. In addition to the hires, New York-based corporate finance partner Andrew Foley, a member of the firm's Canada practice, will relocate to Toronto, the firm said.

"We thought it was the perfect opportunity given the strong business environment and deal flow in Toronto and thought it would open up the broader Canadian market," Paul Weiss chairman Brad Karp tells The Am Law Daily. "We've had a long history of having a leading Canadian practice, and we thought these were the right people to lead this effort."

Cummings and Givertz are considered two of Canada's top M&A lawyers. The duo handled Canadian insurer Fairfax Financial's $1.4 billion acquisition of Zenith National Insurance in 2010 and ING Canada's $1.7 billion sale to an investor group in 2009. (Cummings served as Shearman's local managing partner in Toronto.) Foley joined Paul Weiss from Shearman in 2000 and specializes in capital markets, securities, and corporate governance work.

Paul Weiss has several large Canadian clients. The firm helped Calgary-based fertilizer producer Agrium win antitrust approval in December 2009 of its hostile merger with CF Industries, and advised Vancouver-based mining company Teck Resources on its $14 billion acquisition of the Fording Canadian Coal Trust in 2008. Paul Weiss also represented Montreal-based AbitibiBowater, the largest producer of newsprint in North America, during its bankruptcy proceedings.

Other Canadian clients of the firm include leading energy companies like Husky Energy, Encana, and Nexen, as well as financial services firm Onex, Karp says. Paul Weiss also advised the government of Canada on General Motors's IPO last year. The firm will continue to work with top Canadian firms on certain matters, adds Karp, declining to name the firms.

"I hope that we'll continue to represent blue-chip Canadian companies and their underwriters in significant M&A and capital markets transactions," Karp says. "We've been very involved in the oil and gas, mining, forestry, chemicals, finance, and transportation sectors, and I think you'll see us advising Canadian clients in all those industries."

Edwin "Ted" Maynard, the cohead of Paul Weiss's capital markets and securities practice and the head of the firm's Canada group, told U.K. publication Legal Week that Canada's economic strength was a major reason why the firm wanted an on-the-ground presence in Toronto.

"[Canada]'s the U.S.'s largest trading partner by far, and it has been a very robust source of important work for our firm, and this was just the right time for us to open [in Toronto]," Maynard told Legal Week.

Canada's current exchange rate with the U.S. dollar is almost one-to-one, and the country's economy has been booming at a time when many other countries have been suffering from the aftereffects of the global economic crisis. Canada's abundant natural resources have attracted a flurry of interest by foreign buyers, leading to an increase in transactional work. Mergers between several large Canadian law firms have mirrored that upsurge in activity.

In November, British firm Norton Rose acquired Ogilvy Renault as part of a three-way merger creating an international megafirm. Major international firms like Clyde & Co and DLA Piper also are considering expanding into Canada, according to our previous reports.

The Financial Post notes that Shearman was the first major U.S. firm to establish a presence in Canada when it opened in Toronto in 1989. Shearman announced on Tuesday that it had appointed a new management team for its Toronto office, which now has nine lawyers. Toronto-based capital markets partner Jason Lehner and counsel Richard Alsop and Pamela Gibson, who are based in New York and London, respectively, are part of the new leadership team.

According to preliminary Am Law 100 financial data, Shearman saw gross revenue decline 8 percent in 2010 to $737 million, while profits per equity partner (PPP) dropped the same percentage to $1.57 million. (Final rankings and full results of The Am Law 100 for 2011 will be published in the May 2011 issue of The American Lawyer.)

Paul Weiss saw gross revenue rise 13 percent to $751 million last year, according to a preliminary report, and PPP at the firm also increased 13 percent to roughly $3 million. Paul Weiss's Toronto office is the eighth for the firm, and its fifth outside the U.S.


Photo: iStockphoto/ThermalX

Make a comment

Comments (0)
Save & Share: Facebook | Del.ic.ious | | Email |

Reprints & Permissions


Report offensive comments to The Am Law Daily.

The comments to this entry are closed.

By: TwitterButtons.com

[email protected]

From the Newswire

Sign up to receive Legal Blog Watch by email
View a Sample