red line  THE AMPERSAND  red line

Bringing people together in a more personal, authentic way
than an ‘and’ could ever do.

August 2012 Newsletter

August 25, 2012

Stampede 2012 photos

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Remember the tune to that great school bus favourite, “99 bottles of beer on the wall”?  Here we go:  846 bottles of beer on the roof…846 bottles of beeeeeer…33 degrees…I’ll have another please…845 bottles of beer on the roof.  Everybody, now!  845 bottles of beer on the roof…845 bottles of beeeeer…you get the picture.   Planning an outdoor Stampede party in Calgary for 300 of your closest friends requires a certain resolve and the following recipe:   Two parts masochist, one part sense of humour and a dash of hope with just a pinch of prayer.   Two years ago we battled cow sized hail; last year it was a stiff north wind.   This year it was heat.   It’s truly a party of biblical proportions.  Next year we’ll slay the first born.

What a party.  33 degrees and nary a thunderstorm in sight.  What can I say?  Clean living.  Thank you to those who braved the heat and everyone involved in throwing a great party.    When Mike, our friendly neighbour and the proprietor of The Cellar wine store (and official supplier of all Pekarsky Stein functions) hand delivered our invoice a few days after the party, I told him to be gentle.   His look said it all.  A curious mix of ‘holy smokes, do your friends know how to drink’ combined with a sheepish ‘we may have gone a tad over budget on the beer’ sort of expression.   But we’ll cut him some slack.  Who knew we’d throw our annual rooftop Stampede party on the hottest day of summer?   …844 bottles of beer on the roof…844 bottles of beeeeer…and white wiiiine…

Some good reads this month.  Hopefully you’re accessing this newsletter from the back of a boat, the end of a dock, the top of a trail or from the comfort of a lawn chair with a cold drink in hand.  Summer is short.  Enjoy it.   See you in September.





The New Subclass?

By:  Michael McKiernan

Article Link:

“We. Are. The 99 per cent,” went the refrain echoing around Wall Street and Bay Street at the height of the Occupy movement in late 2011. But the same cries could soon be coming from within the glass towers that line the streets at the world’s financial centres if big law firms face the backlash some analysts are predicting from marginalized lawyers chasing an increasingly elusive seat at the equity partnership table. [Read more]



Norton Rose Merger a Talent Magnet, Firm Says

By:  Bar Talk

Article Link:

Norton Rose Canada has been on a hiring spree.

This week, the firm announced that Wylie Spicer, a prominent specialist in maritime, energy and Arctic law and a former managing partner of McInnes Cooper in Halifax, was joining Norton Rose’s Calgary office.

Mr. Spicer will be helping Norton Rose’s energy clients as Ottawa auctions off 900,000 hectares in the Arctic for offshore development, the firm said. [Read more]



Law Firm Growth Options & Five-Year Outlook

By:  Thomas S. Clay

Article Link:

The 2012 Law Firms in Transition Survey asked firm leaders about their growth plans for 2012 and their expectations for firm growth over the next five years. This special report from the survey highlights lateral growth, new offices, mergers and acquisitions and breaks out the results by firm size.  [Download the special report]



Moving in (House) for the Right Reasons

By:  Fred Krebs

Article Link:

A recent survey by The Lawyer provides further evidence of the attraction of practising in-house. From articling students to private practitioners with years of experience, there is proof that going in-house provides an intriguing alternative to the traditional practice in a private law firm or government service. [Read more]



The 2012 Canadian Lawyer Compensation Survey

By:  Heather Gardiner

Article Link:

The difficult economic environment of the last few years is being reflected in the salaries of Canadian lawyers, both in-house and in private practice. According to the results of Canadian Lawyer’s 2012 Compensation Survey, the median salaries of newly called lawyers are lower than last year. For example, the median salary of a first-year associate is $72,500, down by approximately $3,500 from last year. It’s the same case for newly called in-house counsel, who are showing a median salary of $77,500, a steep decline of $7,500 from last year. [Read more]


Law Firm Turnarounds

By:  William F. Brennan

Article Link:

Dewey & LeBoeuf, the 20th largest law firm in the country according to the 2012 NLJ 250, has declared bankruptcy and is in the process of dissolving. According to the firm’s management, in 2011 it had more than $900 million in revenues with average profits per equity partner of about $1.8 million. How could such a prominent law firm end up in such a mess? [Read more]


The Going Rate

By:  Robert Todd

Article Link:

What to charge? It’s a question that vexes lawyers and law firms every year when the talk turns to the bottom line. It can be a guessing game at best to find the right balance between affordable rates that meet clients’ expectations and making enough money to pay the rising cost of fuelling the law firm engine. This has particularly been the case in recent years, with individual clients and major corporations aiming to prudently navigate volatile economic times. [Read more]


Merger Slowdown Attributed to “Dewey Effect”

By:  Ward Bower

Article Link:

Newtown Square, PA, July 2, 2012 — The number of law firm mergers and acquisitions announced in the United States dipped to eleven in the second quarter of 2012, according to Altman Weil MergerLine. This follows six strong quarters of deal flow that averaged 15 mergers per quarter between October 2010 and March 2012.  [Read more] 


Law Firms Need to Take Care of Their Talent

By:  Lauren Stiller Rikleen

Article Link:

Lawyers today will tell you that a law firm should be “run like a business.” But what does this really mean for the profession? And for its clients?

A business dependent on the intellect of its workforce ought to invest heavily in talent management and leadership development. This includes understanding employee needs and putting in place policies and operating principles that maximize engagement. [Read more]