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February News Letter 2014

February 1, 2014




Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Busy start to 2014 for the good ship Pekarsky Stein.   After closing the office for 10 days over the Christmas break, the crew returned well watered, fed and rested.  Good thing, too.   In the past few weeks a perceptible change in mood (and wind direction for you regulars) has been evident.  We have been invited to pitch for numerous senior level mandates while securing others from long-time clients who appear to be coming out of hibernation and hiring again; the days are getting longer and the Oilers and Flames are even winning.

Whether it’s a Manager of Talent Development for a growing public company; a Board Member for Edmonton Economic Development Corporation; a Director, Corporate Finance for the Alberta Accountants Unification Agency; a Chief Information Security Officer for a major pipeline company or a Controller for a rural waste management firm it is abundantly clear (to us at least) that we have successfully spread our wings well beyond our early legal-only search capabilities.  Lest you think we ditched the girl we brought to the dance, worry not; in the last month we successfully closed five in-house legal counsel positions in Edmonton and Calgary with exceptional client companies such as Agrium, Enbridge, Black Diamond and Brion Energy.

Further evidence we still know a thing or two about the legal world can be found in our mid-November 2013 blog post where I wrote:

The first quarter of 2014 will be telling….The sellers will sell, the buyers will buy but no firm will simply implode.  That’ll be the second quarter.”

Missed it by that much.  The latest news out of one of Canada’s largest national firms would suggest the clock has struck midnight.  I take no joy from this news, though it is a stark reminder that the traditional billable hour model combined with the traditional law firm compensation scheme is perilously outdated.  Unless, of course, you plan on taping the Super Bowl on your Betamax after dropping off some film to be developed on your way to the drive in movie theatre before stepping into a phone booth to leave yourself a message on your answering machine reminding yourself to finish making that mixed tape for your girlfriend.

Yet I still maintain that those firms with the financial wherewithal and moral courage to buy into a down market will seize upon a once-in-a-generation opportunity to grab talent, clients and market share.   They, too, will need to rethink their business plan but absent a depth of talented lawyers there won’t be much of a business to plan. Simply put there are a shrinking number of top firms chasing a shrinking number of good deals.  As noted in the article, “There’s just not enough business to go around in Canada.”  Reminds me a bit of something I read somewhere. Pick your favourite Ed Whalen-ism to describe the year ahead…ring-a-ding-dong-dandy…malfunction at the junction…coal miner’s glove match…we will see a little bit of everything in the coming months.

Speaking of which, even the quiet Stephen Avenue pedestrian mall beneath our Calgary office window has recently sprung to life.  The long-ago vacated Bank of Montreal Building, for years home to a ragtag collection of loitering musically challenged pierced miscreants, will soon house a GoodLife Fitness club and the even longer-ago vacated Bank of Nova Scotia Building, where many a restraunteur have made a small fortune (by taking a large one and turning it into a small one) will soon be home to the Bank and Baron pub.  While we hope that both ventures are successful, and we will absolutely do the neighbourly thing to ensure the success of one (guess which?), here’s an idea for those beautiful old heritage stone bank buildings:  a bank.



In Edmonton, Rick continues to bring a fresh new face to the search scene, pounding the pavement, spreading the word and securing mandates.  In just three short months, Rick has established an amazing presence and a viable search alternative for the good people of our Capital City.  In fact, he’s hiring.   If you’re interested in learning more about our little circus, please contact Rick.

Speaking of additions, the firm is one step closer to promoting a Partner from within, adding a Principal in Calgary with superb ties to the local community and joining forces in a strategic partnership with a like-minded boutique firm from Toronto.  Watch this space for more details.  The ability to retain our small firm feel whilst providing big firm reach and expertise to our clients across the country takes us one step closer to, well, the next step.

Well folks, in the meantime and in between time, that’s it, another edition of the Pekarsky Stein newsletter.

Have a great February.




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