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Canadian firms plan diversification after Heenan Blaikie lesson

By Neasa MacErlean

20 January 2015 at 07:18 BST

As Canadian law firms make plans for 2015 - a year which could see the go-ahead for ABSs - one leading lawyer predicts that they will diversify in order not to fall victim to the specialist approach which brought down Heenan Blaikie last year.

Canadian firms are looking to diversify Muskoka Stock Photos

Brian Grant, managing partner of Lerners in Toronto, said: 'One of the many potential lessons we could learn from Heenan Blaikie is that if you put all your eggs in one or two baskets, then you set yourself up for difficulties when economic conditions change. So certainly going forward, I would think law firms will, to the extent they can, look to diversify their revenues and reduce their reliance on one major source of revenue or business.' 


There is considerable speculation in the legal market as to whether the Law Society of Upper Canada will give a green light to the creation of Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) which, as in the UK system, allow non-lawyers to invest in law firms. David Levy, partner in personal injury practice Howie Sacks & Henry is one of those who is not keen. He said: 'The most significant challenge we could possibly foresee is if the law society decided to do something drastic and unnecessary to the structure that we have.' Source: Law Times News


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