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Dentons Canada Adds Group from Heenan Blaikie

Dentons Canada LLP is adding at least 23 lawyers from the dissolved law firm of Heenan Blaikie, according to The Globe and Mail. The group of lawyers follows the announcement that former Prime Minister and counsel to Heenan, Jean Chrétien, joined Dentons Canada LLP.

Heenan Blaikie ended its operations last week after a large chunk of its lawyers jumped ship over the weekend. Some of the law firms where former Heenan lawyers have landed include Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, BCF and Lavery de Billy.

Dentons did not name the group of lawyers who are joining the firm, but they fall in the corporate and tax law, entertainment and financial services practices.

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Dentons was started just last year when Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP joined with SNR Dentons and Salans. The firm has more than 2,600 lawyers across 50 countries. The chief executive officer at Dentons Canada, Chris Pinnington, said that 15 partners in Toronto will join his firm. He also said that an unknown number of associates will be joining the firm.

One of the partners to join the firm is Norman Bacal, who is the former co-managing partner at Heenan. He said that he will hold a leadership role yet to be determined.

“I have believed for a long time that the future of law firms from a Canadian perspective means affiliating in an international alliance,” Bacal said.

Bacal claimed that close to 15 former associates from Heenan would join Dentons, but Dentons said that it would be less than 15 associates.

There are some 500 lawyers in Canada with Dentons and Pinnington said that the firm will add at least four partners in Montreal and four associates. He also said that an undetermined number of students who are articling will also join the firm in Montreal.

“These are all individuals who have had choices,” Pinnington said in regards to the lawyers choosing Dentons.

Elliott Portnoy, the Dentons global chief executive, spoke about the collapse of Heenan, saying, “It was a great firm, a storied firm, great lawyers, great values. We take no glee in its demise.”

On Tuesday, Gowlings announced that it brought on eight commercial litigation lawyers from Heenan in their Ottawa office. That group includes Pierre Champagne, Benoit Duchesne, Rodrigue Escayola and Louis-Pierre Grégoire, who were all partners at Heenan.

It was announced last Friday that 10 lawyers from the Heenan office in Ottawa were planning to start a boutique firm specializing in constitutional law and litigation.

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