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Great plains of justice and excellence
Canadian Lawyer recognizes the Top Prairie Law Firms in Saskatchewan and Manitoba for 2023–24, a recurring roster of exceptional legal service providers that continue to shine for their unmatched expertise and high-quality work in Western Canada.
Over 400 respondents voted to return the same top 10 law firms to the winner’s circle, serving as a testament to their enduring reputations and dedication to delivering optimum client results.
The top Prairie law firms have not only maintained but strengthened their competitive advantage with an unwavering commitment to these factors highlighted by participants in CL’s survey:
practical client-centred service
lawyers who are leaders in their field
competitive and ethical billing practices
breadth and depth of expertise and experience
professionalism and integrity
All the top-rated law firms demonstrate a relentless pursuit of excellence, ensuring they remain at the forefront of the profession.
“We get to know the client and understand who we’re working for because that’s a critical part of being able to serve their interests”
Collin K. HirschfeldMcKercher LLP
Industry-leading reputations power Top Prairie Law Firms
One of Saskatchewan’s largest and longest-serving full-service Prairie law firms exemplifies what a best-in-class legal services provider should be. It’s regularly sought out for broad legal expertise, highly skilled lawyers recognized as leaders in their fields, and top-notch client interaction.
McKercher LLP has excelled across many areas, according to this year’s survey data:
Solicitors and trial lawyers are professionals who have obtained advantageous results for clients referred from other law firms.
The staff possesses a combination of deep legal expertise, practical business solutions, and empathy for the human struggle inherent in the legal problems they solve.
“The key to our continued success includes having the best and brightest in all our positions, which includes our management team, support staff, and lawyers,” explains Collin K. Hirschfeld, executive committee chairperson.
“We all strive together to improve ourselves continually and to make McKercher the way it is and what it will be going forward into the future.”
“It’s an unofficial motto that if you do good work, the work will come, and that’s always been our strategy; we will continue to be excellent at what we do, put our clients first, and solve problems efficiently”
Jennifer PereiraRobertson Stromberg LLP
Robertson Stromberg LLP
The boutique firm has long-established deep roots in Saskatoon, with its lawyers consistently recognized and considered leaders in their practice areas. The full-service firm delivers impressive results across various practice areas by emphasizing practical solutions.
Respondents highlighted the firm’s prowess in the following ways:
“We think we punch above our weight class in all practice areas, and our lawyers practice in Saskatchewan, but they also go into Manitoba and Alberta from time to time, and their reputation is that we’re good at what we do,” says litigator Jennifer Pereira.
“We consider ourselves to be a full-service firm, so no matter where our lawyers land in that full service, there is an expectation that they become the best at what they do.”
“We have a group of people who are collegial and supportive of each other, which makes for a pleasant work environment and lends itself to sustaining successful lawyers and a successful
Karen PoetkerPitblado Law
An example of another top Prairie law firm consistently recognized for punching above its weight, the Winnipeg-based operation prides itself on being client-driven, responsive, and prioritizing practical solutions for clients.
Survey participants remarked the firm is industry-leading in its:
fair billing practices and reasonable negotiation tactics
depth of talent, propelling it to the forefront of legal innovation
“We’ve changed our governance model in the recent past, and we have a strong group of younger partners who are at the helm right now, supported by years of experience and advice of senior partners,” explains Karen Poetker, partner and the first female chairperson of the firm’s executive committee. “I think that demonstrates our firm’s commitment to new and progressive ways of doing things.”
Driven to deliver exceptional service and quality
While these firms possess common hallmarks of top-tier legal teams, they differentiate themselves with unique approaches to client representation and service and workplace culture.
Getting to know the client and understanding their needs is paramount to delivering the best resolution at McKercher. Integrity, respect, collaboration, and creativity are also prioritized.
With nearly a century of providing legal advice and services locally from its Saskatoon and Regina offices and across the country, the top Prairie firm’s strong pro bono policy offers opportunities for its lawyers to contribute meaningfully to society.
“Culture is important to us because we realize that it’s not all about dollars and cents for people,” Hirschfeld reflects. “We’ve built a culture that encourages diversity and for people to be involved in their community; I regularly refer to our firm as the McKercher family because we welcome everybody.”
Robertson Stromberg strongly encourages its people obtaining a broad early education in the law, from associates to articling students. As they develop their interests, that attention shifts to supporting them in developing expertise, a focus that has brought the firm repeated recognition.
“From a client-relationship perspective, we understand as lawyers that we are problem solvers, and we understand that clients just want to get the job done,” remarks Pereira. “We aim to do it efficiently, and we’re always looking for the most practical solution as opposed to the most complicated.”
Like the other award-winning firms, Pitblado’s practice areas remain strong, a testament to its approach of viewing client relationships as long-term and not transactional.
“The No. 1 factor contributing to our success is our people,” notes Poetker. “We are not short on talent or dedication to the law, evidenced by our numerous and repeated best lawyer rankings and several King’s Counsel designations.”
Tackling challenges for continued success
There are constant demands in the legal profession, from staying ahead of new and emerging technology and recruiting top talent to maintaining cohesion through the rise of flexible and remote working.
The top Prairie firms tackle those with a comprehensive approach that highlights their ability to adapt and be creative:
McKercher: The firm stays ahead of the rapid pace of technological change by investing in its people and tech tools.
“One of the most important things is staying grounded,” adds Hirschfeld. “We aren’t complacent, and we strive to foster a culture of improvement.”
Robertson Stromberg: While recruiting and retaining junior lawyers is a common challenge in a highly competitive market, the firm has maintained its talent with access to first-rate work and prioritizing staff needs.
“I think people want access to meaningful work and a good quality of life,” remarks Pereira. “We’re ensuring we listen to their needs and have those conversations with our lawyers.”
Pitblado: As work environments transform, the firm nurtures positive relationships among staff to develop the next generation of leaders.
“We have a fair number of lawyers coming into the office regularly, junior lawyers in particular, who enjoy being at the office where they can interact with each other and also seek the guidance and mentorship of more experienced lawyers,” Poetker adds. “It’s of critical importance and benefits the whole firm.”
This year’s top Prairie firms illustrate that striving to build upon legal expertise and knowledge, trustworthiness and reputation, and exceptional client service has allowed them to stand out and will allow them to continue leading the profession forward.
Top Prairie Law Firms in Saskatchewan and Manitoba 2023–24
- McDougall Gauley LLP (Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Estevan)
- Miller Thomson (Saskatoon, Regina)
- MLT Aikins LLP (formerly MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP) (Regina, Saskatoon)
- Fillmore Riley LLP (Winnipeg)
- MLT Aikins LLP (Winnipeg)
- Pitblado Law (Winnipeg)
- Taylor McCaffrey LLP (Winnipeg)
- Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP (Winnipeg, Portage la Prairie, Brandon, Boissevain, Gladstone, MacGregor, Morden, Neepawa, Saskatoon, Steinbach, Winkler)