Heenan Blaikie to restructure as reports emerge of exodus from Ottawa office

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Prominent law firm Heenan Blaikie is set to begin a restructuring process amid reports that almost one-third of the lawyers at the Ottawa office have left the firm.

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By Jacob Serebrin

The firm’s partners met over the weekend to discuss “restructuring and the future of regional offices across Canada,” according to a statement the firm released on Sunday.

Partners of the firm, which has eight offices across the country, decided at the meeting to “proceed with a major restructuring in the near future.”

However, it remains unclear exactly what options are on the table.

“While discussions continue, the top priority remains Heenan Blaikie’s clients and serving them with the same dedication and attention to detail as ever,” said Norman Bacal, former national co-managing partner and founding partner of Heenan Blaikie’s Toronto office, in the statement.

“There will be no interruptions in service during this period.”

The restructuring announcement comes at the same time as reports are emerging that around seven lawyers will be leaving the firm’s Ottawa office.

The entire labour practice has left the firm, according to an article in the Financial Post. This includes Dan Palayew, co-managing partner of the Ottawa office and the practice group leader of the Ottawa Labour and Employment group.

Heenan Blaikie did not immediately respond to OBJ questions about the newspaper’s report.

Prominent members of the Ottawa office include former Prime Minister Jean Chretien and former Supreme Court judge Michel Bastarache.

Heenan Blaikie’s website lists 30 different lawyers as working out of the firm’s Ottawa office.

Organizations: Financial Post, Ottawa Labour, Supreme Court

Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada, Toronto

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