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May 2012 Newsletter

May 1, 2012


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As those of you who regularly read our newsletter know, our firm spent most of the winter working hard to raise money for the Gordie Howe Stick It To Alzheimer’s Pro-Am Hockey Tournament. I am pleased to report that our rag tag team of friends, clients and colleagues raised nearly $95,000 for the cause. This was the third highest fund-raising total among the 24 teams entered and with our pick at the NHL alumni draft we selected six time Stanley Cup winner, Bryan Trottier, to be our teammate and friend for the weekend. Inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997, Bryan can now add “lifetime honourary Captain of the Pekarsky Stein Pro Bonos hockey club” to his hockey card. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the cause which saw a total of $1,450,000 raised in Calgary alone.

Turning our minds to less philanthropic pursuits, our 3rd Annual Pekarsky Stein Rooftop Round-Up Stampede Party takes place a mere 69 days from now. Circle Monday July 9th on your calendars and watch this space for more details.  Given the weather for our previous round-ups if you plan on growing a nice garden this summer, best cover your flowers before you head to the party.

In terms of the news of the day in the legal profession, the New York firm Dewey & LeBoeuf has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons….financial mismanagement, an exodus of partners (80 lawyers and counting) and a criminal investigation of it’s former chairman. Last night a memo was circulated encouraging partners to look for another job. Not sure if they have a tradition of student skits at Christmas time; suffice to say there’s no shortage of material this year.

In Western Canada, we’re still making headlines related to inbound firms and lawyers seeking to tap into the oil patch. From where I sit, I see mixed messages. Some firms cautiously navigating through a difficult and choppy market; others recruiting and growing aggressively; still others quietly staying the course.  For what it’s worth, there I see more bullishness among the boutique and regional firms than the nationals.  On the corporate side, our White Paper provoked several responses from in-house counsel, mostly confirming our findings around client service and fee sensitivity. The in-house recruiting continues unabated with Calgary based companies large and small adding lawyers to their team at a steady clip.

On a personal note, I enjoyed some time off last week spending 6 days and way too much money at Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. The kids had a blast and I kissed a dolphin. Not much else to report.

Finally, we’ve taken the liberty of adding a few new names to our newsletter. For those of you read it, we know who you are and we thank you. For the other 800 of you, just click unsubscribe if your in-box is full enough. We won’t take it personally, we just won’t talk to you at our Stampede party.

Enjoy May.



Oil and Gas Luring Law Firms out West
By:  Geoff Ellwand
Article Link:

The old equation that Oil + Gas = Legal Fees, has persuaded yet another national law firm, this time Torys LLP, to saddle up and ride into Calgary. It is an adventure that has excited anxiety among competitors, and got not a few restive lawyers dusting off their resumes. The question is, can Alberta’s energy industry produce enough legal work to go around? [Read more]

Surviving the Arena: Three Lessons from The Hunger Games
By:  Josh Camson
Article Link:

The Hunger Games opened a little over a week ago to huge box office success. With the exception of a few racists, the movie got good reviews. I saw it opening weekend and enjoyed it quite a bit. But what I really enjoyed is how the lessons from the movie apply to lawyers.

A large part of Katniss and Peeta’s success during the games comes about because the crowd loves them. People cheer for them and want to support them. Their team of support staff helped Katniss and Peeta steal the show and gain the admiration of the crowd. [Read more]

Dewey & LeBoeuf Said to Encourage Partners to Leave
By:  Peter Lattman
Article Link:

Dewey & LeBoeuf, the New York law firm crippled by financial mismanagement, an exodus of partners and a criminal investigation of its former chairman, encouraged its partners on Monday evening to look for another job, according to an internal memo.

The firm’s leadership has been scrambling in recent days to stave off failure by merging with another law firm and persuading its lenders not to push it into liquidation. “All partners,” said the memo, which was reviewed by The New York Times, “are encouraged to seek out alternative opportunities.”  [Read more]

Gordie Howe and Friends Luncheon
By:  Bill Brooks
Article Link:  www.

Hundreds of guests packed the Westin Hotel ballroom this past Friday for the Gordie Howe and Friends Luncheon in support of the Alzheimer Society. The SRO luncheon was but one of many events taking place during the Scotiabank Pro Am for Alzheimer’s weekend.

Why Your Employees are Leaving
By:  Renee Sylvestre-Williams
Article Link:

One day when I was out getting a coffee, I overheard a man talking on his cellphone.

“We need to be stricter with our hiring practices next year,” he said. “We want to keep them past a year.”

I wanted to turn around and tell him, “Maybe you don’t need to be stricter with your hiring practices. You can bring them in but you’re not keeping them. It could be your corporate culture.”  [Read more]

Paying and Transitioning Leaders
By:  James D. Cotterman
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As we enter a new year, many law firm partners are taking on new leadership roles in their firms. These individuals may be running practices, offices, regions, special firm committees or the entire firm. The role could be limited to a specific issue undertaken in addition to everyday responsibilities for a short duration, or could require the entirety of their time and energy for many years.  [Read more]

Looking to the Future
By:  Michael McKiernan
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Canada’s litigation boutiques are looking to the future. Finding a firm with the right mix of experienced and emerging talent was a recurring theme in this year’s top boutiques search, and some of our winners have been the most successful at striking that balance, proving that succession planning works at firms of all sizes.

“A number of boutiques in Canadian legal history have started with great strength, but have been unable, or simply unwilling, to carry it on.   [Read more]

Who has Control Over Your Time?
By:  Brenna Sniderman
Article Link:

There’s been an avalanche of research over the last several years about the increasingly blurry lines between work and personal life, lines that have smudged to the point where they’re no longer blurry – they’re non-existent. Think about it: when was the last time you went a full Saturday – or even a full Sunday afternoon, or even a full traffic light – without checking your mobile device for work communication? In fact, that reminds me, it’s been a few minutes since I’ve checked mine. Wait here for one moment, and then I’ll continue that thought.  [Read more]

There is no Joy in Mudville: Hockey and Other Blood Sports in La La Land
By:  Tony Wilson
Article Link:

Well, it’s officially spring here in la la land. And for the last six weeks, I’ve made a point of getting up early every Saturday and Sunday to use my cheap-as-borscht Y2Play Pass to ski on Grouse Mountain until noon; catching enough runs before the snow gets slushy in the warm spring sun. It’s not Whistler, but it is only 25 minutes from my house.  [Read more]