Canadian Lawyer

September 2019

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 31 of 55

SPECIAL REPORT TOP PRAIRIE FIRMS 32 FOR THE top firms in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 2019 is a time of moderniza- tion as their leaders say they are adapting to changing client needs and adjusting their operations to attract young talent. With the increasing encroachment of national and international firms, they are confident their deep roots will hold their place. Canadian Lawyer's top Prairie regional firms were chosen by hundreds of voters across Canada. Listed alphabetically, the top Manitoba firms are Fillmore Riley LLP, MLT Aikins LLP, Pitblado LLP, Taylor McCaffrey LLP and Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP. The top Saskatchewan firms, listed alphabetically, are McDougall Gauley LLP, McKercher LLP, Miller Thomson LLP, MLT Aikins LLP and Robertson Stromberg LLP. Last year, Thompson Dorfman Sweatman packed up its operations at the traditional, downtown-Winnipeg law firm hub at Portage and Main and moved to True North Square, a new development owned by the owner of the Winnipeg Jets, not far from Bell MTS Place, where the Jets play. "I'm looking out my window now, and for the first time in my lifetime, as a Winnipegger, there are cranes in all directions, highrises are going up and the city is shifting, and it's consistent with what I've seen in our firm," says Keith LaBossiere, CEO and managing partner of Thompson Dorfman Sweatman. The firm's younger generation is driving a revision of the firm's culture and the firm has put a "heavy premium" on new technology to ensure that working from home — or wher- ever else — is an available arrangement, LaBossiere says. The demand for work- place flexibility is concurrent with growing competition for the talent coming out of law schools, pulling young lawyers in countless directions and putting pressure on law firms to build an enticing environment, he says. "Now, a law degree is a ticket to many opportunities. And so, we've got to make sure that we continue to be an attractive place to work or these younger law students are going to find other businesses or other endeavours to do with their law degrees," LaBossiere says. While Thompson Dorfman Sweatman is modernizing its workplace, in Saskatchewan, McKercher LLP partner David Stack says his firm is modernizing its approach to clients. Fixed-fee arrangements and other alterna- tive billing methods are more prevalent and clients want "proactive advisors," enmeshed in the businesses and able to spot trends, value and opportunities with a genuine interest in their industries, he says. "Clients are asking for more project management and less traditional lawyering," Stack says. As for the Saskatchewan economy, Stack The top firms in the Prairies are evolving to keep up with a shifting economic and social landscape Adapting to the modern world

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