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Macleod Dixon to merge with Norton Rose

|Written By Gail J. Cohen

Yesterday’s rumours about the merger of Norton Rose OR and Calgary-based Macleod Dixon turned out to be spot on. The global law firm’s foothold in Canada has increased dramatically as has its reach into the area of energy and mining law.

Norton Rose Group chief executive Peter Martyr, Macleod Dixon managing partner Bill Tuer, and Norton Rose OR managing partner John Coleman.

The two firms will be joining forces officially on Jan. 1, 2012. The new firm will be renamed Norton Rose Canada and with close to 700 lawyers, including those from Macleod Dixon in Calgary, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Québec, Caracas and Bogotá, the new firm will become one of the three largest in the country.

This merger significantly increases Norton Rose’s resources across its six key sectors in Canada, particularly energy and infrastructure and mining and commodities. This also now gives Norton Rose a solid team in Calgary, which had been somewhat of a hole after the initial merger with Ogilvy Renault earlier this year.

For Macleod Dixon, which has always had a strong stable of large international energy clients, the merger allows for more global scope to serve them.

“Our decision to merge was the result of a detailed strategic review. Joining Norton Rose Canada is a major global step in serving our clients through a broader and more sophisticated international practice,” said Bill Tuer, Macleod Dixon’s managin partner. “We have had offices in emerging markets for 20 years and investment is flowing into and out of Canada more than ever before. This merger will allow us to assist our clients in most of the important markets around the globe.”

With the merger between Ogilvy Renault and Norton Rose Group, John Coleman has already been instrumental in changing the legal landscape in Canada. This latest announcement rocks the establishment even further.

“This is about creating a new Canadian powerhouse that can serve clients through its international platform,” said Coleman, managing partner of Norton Rose OR. “We will have unmatched strength and reach in the mining and energy business in Canada and throughout the world including Latin America. This merger also bolsters our operations in Calgary making us the market leader in western Canada.”

Coleman also noted the two Canadian firms have highly complementary strengths as well as similar cultures and values.

"We will remain proudly Canadian and the way we serve you locally will not change," said Coleman, who will continue as the managing partner of Norton Rose Canada's enlarged operations. Tuer will join the executive committees of both Norton Rose Canada and the international group.

The merger will also make Norton Rose Group one of the five largest international legal practices by number of lawyers, with more than 2,900 lawyers in 43 offices throughout Europe, Asia Pacific, Canada, Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

“This is another very exciting move for the group and constitutes a significant step towards realizing our ambition of becoming one of the world’s leading providers of legal services,” said Peter M. Martyr, chief executive of Norton Rose Group.

Macleod Dixon’s origins date back almost 100 years in Calgary, an important energy capital. The firm also has offices in Toronto, Caracas, Bogotá, Moscow, and Almaty, Kazakhstan. It was the first Canadian law firm to open an office in Latin America in Caracas in 1997, where it is a top-ranked practice. Macleod Dixon also opened its first international office in Moscow in 1991, and in Kazakhstan in 1994.


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