Goodbye Ogilvy Renault, hello Norton Rose OR

Ogilvy Renault LLP will officially become part of the Norton Rose Group tomorrow, ending the transition process that started when the firm announced the “combination” last November.

Ogilvy Renault becomes the first major Canadian operation to join a global law firm. Starting tomorrow, the firm will be officially known as Norton Rose OR LLP.

The new firm will kick off its celebrations by opening trading at the Toronto Stock Exchange tomorrow morning. A group of about 20 of its lawyers, including Canadian chairman Norm Steinberg, Norton Rose Group’s chairman Stephen Parish, and Toronto managing partner John West.

Ogilvy Renault announced Nov. 15, 2010 that it would join Norton Rose Group. The announcement caused quite a stir in the Canadian legal market with much buzz about what it means for the future of firms in this country.

Together, the enlarged group is one of the world’s top 10 global legal practices by number of lawyers. It has more than 2,500 lawyers in 38 offices worldwide. Ogilvy adds 232 partners in six offices to the group.

And if the firm’s Twitter feed is any indication, there has been a lot of anticipation and excitement at the firm about for the official switch.

“Less than 48 [hours] until Ogilvy Renault officially joins international legal practice Norton Rose Group,” says one recent entry. “We’re pretty excited!”

Todd Storms, a lawyer in the Ottawa office adds: “Ogilvy Renault LLP joins the Norton Rose Group tomorrow; 132 years of Canadian tradition joins 217 years of British tradition.”

Norton Rose has its roots in the United Kingdom, and is headquartered in London, but it is now present in five continents. Its previous presence in Europe, Asia, and Australia, was recently supplemented by a merger with a South African firm. Ogilvy Renault is also the first venture into North America for the global law firm.

It will be interesting to see how the firm does going forward without an outpost in the United States. Will Ogilvy’s U.S. clients, which it has heavily courted over the last few years, stay with the new firm or will many of them be conflicted out because of the greater reach of the Norton Rose Group? Change is upon them.

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