Law Times

July 13, 2015

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Gowlings follows different structure in merger deal By yamri Taddese Law Times owling Laf leur Hender- son LLP is following a different model from previous international mergers as it joins forces with Brit- ain-based Wragge Lawrence Gra- ham & Co. to create a new firm with more than 1,400 lawyers. Unlike the recent mergers that created DLA Piper (Canada) LLP and Dentons Canada LLP, the new Gowling WLG won't follow the Swiss Verein model. Instead, Gowl- ing WLG will structure itself as a company limited by guarantee, a scheme that creates an umbrella organization of which Wragge Lawrence Graham and Gowlings will be members, according to Scott Jolliffe, chief executive officer of the Canadian firm. While it's still not a financially integrated partnership, the two firms will fully integrate their client service and approach to the market, he says. "We found that the U.K. limited by guarantee [model] was a more f lexible structure and one that is a little more transparent," he says. "It's also governed by U.K. common law, which we're much more familiar with than Swiss civil code." The new firm, Gowling WLG International Ltd., will officially launch in January 2016 with offices in 18 cities across Canada, Britain, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. "It's a really wonderful day for Gowlings and a wonderful day for Canada to see a Canadian firm expanding globally in the way we are," says Jolliffe. While other firms from the United States and Britain had ap- proached Gowlings, Jolliffe says Wragge Lawrence Graham was a good fit as it shares many of its strengths, particularly in the areas of intellectual property law and innovation. The firms also share similar cor- porate environments, according to Jolliffe. "They're very much like us. They're good people. They are sort of a people-oriented firm as we are. They are one of the best employers in the U.K. as we are in Canada." While the appeal of an interna- tional market contributed to the Untitled-1 1 2015-07-09 7:34 AM Legal advertising under the microscope Some lawyers want ban as law society looks at amending the rules By Tali Folkins Law Times arcy Merkur has had enough. Whether it's mis- leading information about the amount of expe- rience a law firm has on display with apparent pride on the side of a bus or phallic innuendo suggestive of big settlements strategically placed above men's urinals at the Air Canada Centre, legal advertis- ing in Ontario, in his view, has gotten out of hand. "It's everywhere. It's misleading at various times regard- ing trial experience, overall experience. It's a real prob- lem," says Merkur, a personal injury lawyer and partner at Thomson Rogers. "We think the public has been misled. We'd love some solutions." The problem is particularly acute in personal injury law, he says, because of the frequency of contingency-fee arrangements in that area. Generating new files becomes extremely important to firms, leading to intense competi- tion for clients and, in turn, advertising that some lawyers believe has spun out of control. The worst offenders, in Merkur's view, are firms that boast about extensive trial experience when in fact they have very little. John McLeish, a founding partner of McLeish Orlando LLP, agrees that something needs to change. For McLeish, misrepresentations about lawyers' experience and the settle- ments they can achieve pose a real threat to many people struggling with how to cope financially after an injury. "The average person on the street doesn't know how or doesn't have time to do due diligence," he says. "So they're vulnerable." On top of that, he says, much of the advertising is of- fensive and is "sullying the profession." "For the most part, it's tasteless and tacky and I would de- scribe it as a race to the bottom," he says. The concerns arise as the Law Society of Upper Canada prepares to take another look at the issue. Last month, Con- vocation agreed to a call for input around a set of proposed Uber drama Time for governments to take a stand P6 Darcy Merkur wants to see a total ban on advertising in the legal industry. Photo: Robin Kuniski See Keeping, page 2 See Enforcement, page 2 The lacklustre Canadian legal marketplace was a big motivator in the decision to merge, says Scott Jolliffe. PM #40762529 & $#&!&jmmm$cYa[bbWh$Yec ntitled-4 1 12-03-20 10:44 AM $5.00 • Vol. 26, No. 23 July 13, 2015 Follow LAW TIMES on L AW TIMES D G eLectoraL run Lawyer risks career for political candidacy P5 FocuS on Legal Specialists & Boutiques P10

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