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

June 2012 Newsletter

June 1, 2012

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are very pleased to announce the addition to our team of Paige McDonald, who will join us July 1st as a Client Partner. Paige comes to us from Spencer Stuart, the leading privately held global executive search firm, where she spent the past two years working on a variety of complex search assignments and played a key role in establishing that firm’s Calgary office.


Prior to her time at Spencer Stuart, Paige was a Principal of McDonald Allen Executive Search, a firm specializing in recruiting executives to firms in a variety of industries but primarily focused on the financial industry and financial roles in Oil and Gas companies. Over the course of her 12+ years in the search business, Paige has worked with, and been mentored by, some of the best and most respected search professionals in the industry. Her arrival at our little firm will greatly enhance Pekarsky Stein’s ability to serve our existing clients and continue to add new ones. We hope it will also allow Terry and I to play more golf. Just kidding. No I’m not.

You can meet Paige and the rest of the team on our roof in a mere 39 days at our Third Annual Pekarsky Stein Rooftop Roundup. If you haven’t yet RSVP’d to this stellar event taking place on Monday, July 9th, you may do so now by clicking here. We will see just how good the Fire Chief’s sense of humour is while we eat, drink and be merry in the heart of downtown during the height of Stampede festivities on the roof of one of Calgary’s oldest buildings with 300 of our closest friends.

For those of you regular readers, so much for the Dewey Lebeouf holiday party skits. Amazing to me how a firm can rack up that sort of debt but also a cautionary tale when hiring laterally and trying to ascertain the true portability of a portable practice.  If you’re a law firm partner, have a read of the Law Firm Debt article below and see if you pass the solvency test.

In other news, the fourth quadrennial turned biennial once in a lifetime golfing extravaganza took place in Northern Ireland last week, once again seeing Team Young (for which I still qualify) triumphant. I dutifully sprayed Pekarsky Stein golf balls across the Irish countryside. What I won’t do to market this firm…

Enjoy June.





Lessons for Law Firms from Dewey & LeBoeuf Bankruptcy
By:  Tim Kiladze
Article Link:

The news that the venerable U.S. law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP has filed for bankruptcy isn’t exactly surprising, considering that its partners have been fleeing for months, but the final hammer has clarified some key lessons that other law firms should learn from the debacle.

First and foremost, too much debt will sink you, no matter what kind of company you are. I haven’t seen hard numbers across industries, but if you were to look at some of the biggest failures over the past, say, twenty years, too much debt is almost always a root cause. (Think CanWest.)  [Read more]

Partner Compensation:  The Real Score
By:  Marzena Czarnecka
Article LInk:

It’s one of the toughest jobs at a law firm: determining how partners are going to divvy up the pie. What compensation system works best?

This is the basic business model of the law firm: the lawyers, associates and partners bill clients. The associates get salaries — these are part of the general overhead of the firm, along with rent, IT systems, and other personnel. The partners – the equity partners, the owners of the firm – get a share of the profit. [Read more]

Cassels Snags Three for its New West Coast Outpost
By:  Jeff Gray
Article Link:

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP recently moved out of its Toronto shell with the opening of a Vancouver office, aiming both to better serve the local mining industry and expand its international reach from a West Coast perch. Now, the law firm has snagged three established B.C. mining lawyers away from the local office of Lawson Lundell LLP. [Read more]

Law Firm Debt:  Will We Ever Learn?
By:  James D. Cotterman
Article Link:

I have been commenting on appropriate debt and liquidity levels for law firms for most of my 24 years consulting to law firms. Recent events indicate that not everyone who should be paying attention has been.
Where are we?

If Your Interviewer Won’t Stop Talking, You’re Gold…
Posted By:  Kris Dunn
Article Link:

At a Starbucks today on the road. Listening to a manager interview a barista candidate.  The candidate hasn’t had to say a word in 20 minutes. No joke.  Love Starbucks. Good people. Word of advice to all the candidates out there:
If your interviewer won’t stop talking, you are gold. Let them talk.

How a Well-Developed Articling Plan Contributes to Your Firm’s Success
By:  Deborah E. Gillis, Q.C.
Article LInk:

Articling students, partners, and law firms needn’t face the upcoming articling term with dread. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t the last time around, and prepare ahead to meet the opportunities and challenges that are bound to arise.

Law graduates and firms across the country are preparing for the beginning of articles. As we all know, some articles are a positive experience for the clerk and the law firm while, sadly, others are a less than ideal experience for one or both parties. [Read more]

Three Steps to More Effective Practice Group Leadership
By:  Eric Seeger
Article Link:

In Altman Weil’s work with law firms of all shapes and sizes, managing partners tell us, almost without exception, that some of their practice group leaders are less effective than they’d like. Because law firms compete primarily at the practice group level and outstanding law firm performance is driven by outstanding practice group performance, it is a business imperative for firms to improve the performance of their group leaders. This article sets forth three ways to achieve more effective practice group leadership in your firm. [Read more]

6 Ways Envy Destroys Career Advancement
By:  Glenn Llopis
Article Link:

Stop comparing yourself to others. This is why most people never get ahead in their careers. They waste valuable time trying to be what they are not – rather than valuing who they naturally are and building upon their own foundation of skills and knowledge for growth. People that advance in their careers focus less on what others say about them and more on how their creativity, competencies and leadership skills can add-value to the organization they serve. Envy is a dangerous but natural emotion that we are faced with each day. [Read more]

By:  Evelyn Amaro
Article Link:

You are at your desk, or at home watching TV when you get a call from a recruiter who has found your contact information using the many secrets of the trade (sorry – that’s one secret I intend to keep). Before you hang up the phone, remember that recruiters can hold the keys to the hidden jewels of the job market. Use them and they may just open the door to a new career opportunity. I am not saying this because I am a recruiter, because I’m not – I just work for them. What I have learned working behind the scenes is the important role a recruiter can play in a person’s career path.[Read more] 



I recently snuck away to Northern Ireland for a week of golf, R&R and Irish whiskey. Suffice to say I was better at the whiskey than the golf but we had a grand time on the emerald isle.