The firms are announcing the merger this week with plans to have it take effect in the next two or three months. For Roy Johnston & Co. managing partner Paul Roy, the merger is a way for the six-lawyer firm to provide clients who have gotten “bigger, more complicated” with access to lawyers with a more targeted practice focus.
“We’re tired of telling our clients that we don’t know how to do some things,” he says, noting the greater range of practice areas at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman with its more than 75 lawyers.
“A really big thing for us is TDS can do just about everything,” he adds, citing the need to provide clients services in areas such as cross-border matters, major litigation, tax, environmental law, collective agreements, intellectual property, and immigration.
For Don Douglas, chief executive officer and managing partner of Thompson Dorfman Sweatman, the merger will help his firm get access to good-quality work outside of Winnipeg. Doing so, he notes, helps it differentiate itself from its competitors in Winnipeg and provide its own lawyers with focused practice areas with added work opportunities.
“It just struck me as a good idea,” he says, noting the goal is to strengthen operations in both Winnipeg and the firms it’s merging with. Last year, it undertook a similar merger with a firm in Portage la Prairie, Man., to form Christianson TDS Law.
Douglas notes Brandon was a good area to target given one of the “most economically active” parts of the province right now is southwestern Manitoba. According to Roy, the oilfield, financial, and manufacturing sectors are all doing well.
“Business has been good for the farmers lately,” he adds.
For the time being, the Brandon firm will keep the Roy Johnston name as it becomes Roy Johnston TDS.
“We’re sensitive to the value of the Roy Johnston name,” says Douglas, noting the Winnipeg firm’s name “will become more prominent” over time.