Law Times

June 29, 2015

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Dentons buzz dizzying as firm seeks aggressive expansion BY JULIUS MELNITZER For Law Times he media buzz around Dentons is dizzying and, in many ways, confusing as the firm advances ag- gressive expansion plans. It's not that Dentons hasn't made its intentions clear. Being the biggest law firm won't do, and Dentons has left no doubt that it aims to keep growing. Two weeks ago, Dentons con- firmed to the media that it had signed non-disclosure agreements with 21 firms in Europe, Asia, and Latin America with two goals in mind: first, to establish a presence in places where it has none such as Australia, Japan, and Latin Amer- ica; and second, to create depth in certain places where it already has offices such as Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. Manage- ment has also said it's planning to fill practice gaps through lateral hires as well as mergers. All of this comes on the heels of Dentons' combination with Chi- nese firm Dacheng and the fairly recent merger of SNR Denton, Sa- lans, and Fraser Milner Casgrain in 2013. "Dentons is seeking global coverage as quickly as possible and probably aiming to be the first firm with 10,000 lawyers and US$3 billion in revenue," says one prominent international legal consultant who spoke on condi- tion of anonymity. "If the firm can put that together, it will achieve an upper mid-market position that is insurmountable. That won't necessarily draw the bet-the-farm work but it will produce a very good range of clients." Dentons also intends to cre- ate a firm it claims will be funda- mentally different from any other. Management calls the model "polycentric," one that eschews global headquarters in favour of a localized but seamless approach that takes into account regional differences in the way both law- yers and clients work. "The idea is to reorganize it- self to provide clients with really good service by incorporating the most advanced systems and proj- ect management," says the source. "What they say is interesting and c redible, but whether they're able It's time to rank… 2015-16 CANADIAN LAWYER'S TOP 10 ONTARIO REGIONAL FIRMS SURVEY Complete the survey online at and rank your top 10 picks. SURVEY IS OPEN UNTIL JUNE 29TH Untitled-2 1 2015-05-27 12:21 PM Lawyers happy as new courthouse moves forward Lots of questions as planning, site work gets underway in Toronto BY TALI FOLKINS Law Times ork is already beginning at the site of the massive new courthouse planned for Toronto but it's likely to be several years before it opens its doors, according to the Ministry of the Attorney General. "The Ministry of the Attorney General and Infrastruc- ture Ontario are in the planning process for the new court- house, and have begun working with consultants to con- duct surveys, environmental assessments, and soil testing on the site," wrote ministry spokesman Brendan Crawley in response to a request for an update on the courthouse. The site chosen for the courthouse, he said, is a govern- ment-owned piece of land just north of the existing Su- perior Court of Justice at 361 University Ave. Previously a parking lot, it was closed to the public earlier this month. Crawley declined to provide an estimate of when it would be complete but noted similar courthouses have taken five to seven years "to build and become fully opera- tional." The new courthouse, announced in the provincial government's 2014 budget, will "better serve Toronto by bringing together many justice programs and services in a single location." He declined to specify, however, whether the new building would include facilities for civil as well as criminal matters and what would happen to existing courthouses. It's also too early to say anything about the cost of the building, he noted. "Because we will be conducting a competitive procure- ment process, we do not release cost estimates prior to financial close, as this would compromise our ability to obtain the best value bid," he said. "Once the procurement phase for the project is completed, the project cost and contract with the suc- cessful bidder will be released publicly and posted on BEST PRACTICES Co-operation touted in new litigation guidelines P3 ABS FIRM SPEAKS Slater & Gordon responds to coverage P7 FOCUS ON Municipal & Planning Law P8 Preliminary work is underway at the site of the new courthouse planned for downtown Toronto. Photo: Robin Kuniski See U.S., page 4 See Toronto's, page 4 'Because Dentons are trying to build an empire so quickly, the thing to watch is lawyer churn,' says Bruce MacEwen. PM #40762529 & $#&!&jmmm$cYa[bbWh$Yec ntitled-4 1 12-03-20 10:44 AM $5.00 • Vol. 26, No. 22 June 29, 2015 Follow LAW TIMES on L AW TIMES W T

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