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Big changes in legal landscape as Ogilvys makes shocking move

|Written By Julius Melnitzer

Ogilvy Renault LLP stunned the legal world with its announcement on Monday that it will be joining the international legal practice known as Norton Rose Group on June 1, 2011.

The move makes Canada’s 11th-largest firm, with offices in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and London, England, the first Canadian law firm to go global.

“My prediction is that this move will create a lot of changes in the Canadian legal landscape as other firms try to follow our example,” said Norman Steinberg, Ogilvys’ Montreal-based chairman.

South Africa’s fourth-largest firm, Deneys Reitz, also announced today that it would be joining Norton Rose at the same time.

The additions make Norton Rose a top 10 global legal practice with 2,500 lawyers in 38 offices worldwide. It also puts the firm in the global top 20 for profitability.

Steinberg said the group will operate in the same way that global accounting firms have been operating for decades. For the time being, that means profits will remain local, with financial integration a matter for review in the future.

“Forget about financial integration. It’s a marriage in the real sense of the word,” says Stephen Parish, group chairman of the Norton Rose Group.

John Coleman will continue to be managing partner of Norton Rose in Canada and will join its executive committee as will another, as yet unnamed, Canadian partner.  Steinberg will continue to be chairman of Norton Rose in Canada.

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