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February 2012 Newsletter

February 1, 2012



Dear Friends and Colleagues,


When I was a young boy growing up in Edmonton in the 1970s my mother used to blow dry my hair every day before school.   A few years later, that look would compliment my braces, full headgear (with brown padded backing) and my generally husky physique.  The scars are deep.   And so, sharing with you, all 1654 of you, the adjacent photo, was a major step along the road to regaining my confidence and self esteem and could only see the light of day in the name of charity.   The photo, taken 34 years ago, memorialized my last full season as goalie of the fabled 1978 Parkview Richards hockey club.  Though I came out of retirement 20 years later to play in the Calgary Lawyers Hockey League, my 13 year career in the LHL was entirely unmemorable. What’s the point, you ask?


Well, over the past several months I have half-heartedly sought your help in assisting my fundraising efforts in support of Alzheimer’s research by donating to the Pekarsky Stein Pro Bonos hockey club as it prepares for the upcoming Gordie Howe Stick It To Alzheimer’s Hockey Tournament this April. Thankfully, I don’t have Alzheimer’s nor does anyone in my family suffer from the disease. Perhaps I’m fuelled by enlightened self-interest given what seems to be an increasing propensity for forgetting where I parked or it could be my way of keeping the universe in balance after our firm retreat in Las Vegas last weekend (official photo of office members and spouses below…unofficial photos subject to aforementioned 34 year publication ban).   Can 3 days in Sin City be counter-balanced by doubling down on our philanthropic commitments back home? Likely not, but on behalf of the entire team here at Pekarsky Stein, we’d be grateful if you could help us try.




Your donation to this event will heighten awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias; provide support services; and, support research into the cause and a cure for this disease. Today in Alberta some 40,000 people have dementia, with 17% of these having been diagnosed under the age of 65. This gives Alberta the highest prevalence of early onset dementia in Canada.


Lacing up the skates to play on a team with NHL alumni, friends and clients (not to mention the added pressure of my kids in the stands) is more daunting than when I wore stilettos to ‘walk-a-mile in her shoes’ in support of the YWCA (which should not be taken to suggest I am more comfortable in stilettos than skates). Add to this that it’s mainly Calgary Flames alumni who participate and it makes the whole thing doubly difficult for this Oilers fan to embrace. Clearly, I’m all about the cause and I hope you will be too.


The fundraising competition will be stiff.  Like it or not, the Pekarsky Stein Pro Bonos hockey club is the de facto representative of the Calgary legal community at this event. With your help, we can mobilize the troops to assist us in reaching our ambitious fundraising target. There are corporate sponsorship opportunities available or you can sponsor me personally by simply clicking here or on my handsome photo above.


Enjoy the articles this month. Happy February. Especially if you were born on the 29th.


Talk to you in March,


Strategy in a No-Growth Economy

By Ward Bower

Article Link:  altmanweil.comGrowing market share in a declining or static economy or economic sector is difficult. Generally it requires either pirating customers from competitors or combining with them.


The US Economy


Post-recession US economic recovery is anemic, at best. Projected GDP growth for 2011 was 2% to 3%. Actual results were 0.4% in the first quarter and 1.3% in the second quarter. It is likely that growth will barely top 1% for the rest of the year.  [Read more]

The Bottom Line

By Yves Faguy

Article Link:  cba.orgThere’s ample reason for global firms to have an on-the-ground presence in Canada: our solid financial infrastructure and resource riches make us a strong, reliable base from which to tap into the all-important Asian Market. Unlike in, say, Dubai, as Smith observes, global firms can ramp up quickly here by acquiring a mature, sophisticated firm, rather than having no parachute entire teams in from London or New York and start from scratch.


Even so, profitability differentials, while no longer insurmountable, remain a serious obstacle to mergers. And foreign firms know they can continue to operate in Canada remotely if need be. What’s more, the prospect of losing American referrals scares off many Canadian firms.  [Read more]

Building a New Canadian Legal Pipeline to the World

By John Coleman


Article Link:


This is the first in Canadian Lawyer online’s year-long series Managing Partner Forum. Each month the leader of a Canadian law firm will share his or her thoughts on some of the challenges and successes of running their firms. We kick it off with John Coleman of Norton Rose Canada, who was instrumental in two of the most talked-about mergers of 2011.


Having an ambition to be a professor of Greek and Latin literature in my younger years, I never dreamed I’d find myself being the managing partner of a national Canadian law firm — never mind one that’s now truly global and part of the fifth largest in the world. But after many years practising employment and labour law and almost 30 wonderful years with my firm, that’s where I am today. And I couldn’t be happier. [Read more]

Law Departments Ease Up on Cost Cutting

By Daniel J. DiLucchio, Jr.


Article Link:


Corporate law departments may be easing up on cost cutting according to the newly released 2011 Chief Legal Officer Survey. More law departments have boosted their overall budgets in 2011, and more are increasing their expenditures on outside counsel.


Fifty-six percent of Chief Legal Officers (CLOs) surveyed in October 2011 indicated that they had increased their law department budgets from 2010 to 2011, compared to 51% who did so the prior year. The median amount of the increase also rose, going from 6% in 2010 to 7% in 2011. Forty-six percent of law departments increased their outside expenditures, compared to 43% last year. [Read more]

Defining the Boundaries of In-House Counsel

By Cheryl Fox


Article Link:  canadianlawyermag.comA friend and former colleague, who has spent many years as general counsel to several organizations, recently moved into a role as chief operating officer. There is a piece in this month’s Canadian Lawyer InHouse magazine about Riccardo Trecroce, who also at one point in his career moved into the role of chief executive officer. These moves are still relatively few in number but certainly not unheard of.


During a recent lunch discussion with legal colleagues, I expressed the view that this type of move is not one I see for myself. I like being a lawyer and I like being an adviser to a business, combining my technical expertise with the enjoyment I derive from working as a member of a team contributing to the growth of an organization. [Read more]

Oil Together Now

By Joanne Harris


Article Link:  linkedin.comNorton Rose’s mergers with firms in resource-rich Canada have really shaken up the local legal market. Joanne Harrisreports Canada is home to one of the world’s largest oil reserves, the Athabasca Oil Sands, estimated by the oil industry to be second in size only to Saudi Arabia. These reserves and the country’s other resources are drawing a growing number of ­investors from all over the world. In turn, those companies are beginning to draw in foreign law firms.


Although a handful of foreign firms have opened in Canada in the past, including Baker & McKenzie in 1962 and Shearman & Sterling in 1989, the country has never been a real draw for UK or US practices. That, however, could be set to change following Norton Rose’s arrival in June 2011. [Read more]

Law Firm Mergers: Strongest Year Since 2008

By Ward Bower


Article Link:  altmanweil.comNewtown Square, PA, January 5, 2012 — There were 60 law firm mergers and acquisitions announced in the United States in 2011. The annual total was up 54% from 2010 and at the highest level since 2008, according to Altman Weil MergerLine. Seventeen new combinations were announced in the fourth quarter, including three of the biggest deals of the year.


“The momentum for law firm mergers built throughout 2011 and the year ended very strongly,” said Altman Weil principal Ward Bower. “We think the trend toward larger deals will continue and the pace of mergers could accelerate in 2012. [Read more]

Why Recruiting Looks Easy

By Miles


Article Link:


There is an absolutely wonderful children’s book called 20 Heartbeatsabout a painter who paints a horse for a very wealthy man. I hate to ruin it for you, but I have to say what happens.


The rich man pays this famous painter to paint his favorite horse. But years go by and the painter won’t finish the painting. The rich man finally shows up at the painter’s house and demands the painting. The painter obligingly whips out a piece of parchment, dashes off a horse in black ink with his brush, and then hands the painting to the rich man. All this takes less than the time of 20 heartbeats.  [Read more]


2012 :  The Year Law Firms Ditch Geezer Image and Get Tweeting?
By Jennifer Smith


Article Link:  blogs.wsj.comRisk-averse and hidebound many lawyers may be, but firms are finally waking up to the potential benefits of allowing lawyers to tweet, blog and otherwise get the practice’s name out there, says Adrian Dayton over at the National Law Journal.


Interactivity is the way to go, and it’s about time law firms realized it, says Dayton, an attorney and author of two books for lawyers on social media:


The way firms are using social media is like owning a fighter jet but rather than flying it, rolling it around on a dolly. Firms need to stop using social media sites as billboards and start using them to connect with people who would be difficult to reach otherwise… [Read more]

Rising Stars:  What it Takes to Succeed in Law
By Tim Wilbur


Article Link:  lexpertblog.comThe Lexpert team has been spending many hours over the last few months or so working on our Rising Stars event which took place on Nov. 30. In our latest issue of Lexpert we profiled the 46 winners, who are all 40 or under but have achieved a great deal in their career already.


We also did video interviews with the winners – which we aired during the event (and will be putting online soon for everyone to see). We had a wide array of winners from across Canada – in-house counsel (at both companies and a non-profit), law firm lawyers and a legal academic. [Read more]