A Montreal law firm known for its work in complex litigation is merging with Langlois LLP.
Richard Provost, managing partner and founder of Fraticelli Provost s.e.n.c.r.l./LLP, says seven lawyers, one articling student, four assistants and one paralegal will be joining Langlois, which is one of the largest firms in Quebec.
Provost will be a partner at Langlois. He’s moving into the firm’s Montreal office this week, along with other colleagues from Fraticelli Provost.
“Langlois is, in my book, the number one firm in the moment in terms of looking towards the future — the approach to the young lawyers, their approach to the practise, everything, every aspect of their firm,” says Provost.
“It’s just going into a large firm that has a small firm type philosophy and approach,” he added. Fraticelli Provost was founded 15 years ago and has always had 10 to 13 lawyers, says Provost.
“[O]ur forte is probably professional liability and construction-related cases, but that really encompasses and covers a very, very large type of litigation,” says Provost.
Moving to Langlois with Provost are lawyers Béatrice Boucher, Karl Jérôme, Jean-François Vézina, David C. Roux, Régine Chanoine and Pascale Boucher Meunier.
Three lawyers with Fraticelli, including one of the principal partners, Olivier Fraticelli, will not be joining Langlois. The merger of Fraticelli Provost with Langlois will bring the number of lawyers with the firm to 121.
Langlois has offices in Montreal, Quebec City and the Lévis metropolitan area.
Provost says preparations to join Langlois began more than a year ago.
“A little bit more than a year ago, we seriously started basically drawing the plans and talking about it,” he says. “In a merger like that, it’s very, very important to do it the right way, because of potential conflict of interest so you have to do it the wise way and make sure ascertain towards the clients that they’re comfortable with the move and it’s a win-win for everyone.”
He says he has known the firm’s chief executive, Jean-François Gagnon, for 25 years.
“We’ve been friends for so many years, and I figured if his life and human vales are transported into this firm, that’s a firm we want to go to,” he says.
“We were actually canvassed by a large number of firms to join with them because of our specialty and because — although we’re a boutique firm — we’re always on a daily basis against the national firms, so a lot of firms were actually looking at us and we picked Langlois because of their approach towards the clients, their approach to the future, the way they treat their lawyers.”
Provost says the Quebec market is busy. Langlois LLP will now be the firm with the most insurance defence lawyers in Quebec, he says.
“Obviously, there’s not only the Turcot interchange, but there’s a lot of infrastructure on the drawing boards of engineering firms, in addition to the reality seeing all these condo towers, like you see in Toronto,” he says. “So everyone knows that unfortunately there will unavoidably be some litigation coming out of that.”
Provost says in a broader sense, the presence of national firms is “mushrooming.”
“There is a very strong need for Toronto law firms — or Ottawa law firms — to delegate or to refer files to firms that are not going to compete with them on their territory,” he says. “A lot of Toronto firms are looking for a very, very strong regional Quebec firm, that doesn’t have a presence in Ontario, so they feel comfortable referring a client without the fear that the client will be taken over. . .that is definitely a huge asset and a huge service that Langlois can offer.”