Canadian Lawyer InHouse

April/May 2020

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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Page 17 of 43

16 TOP 10 ONTARIO REGIONAL FIRMS THE TOP 10 Ontario regional law firms serve a wide range of local, national and global companies in a host of different legal areas including litigation, construction, insurance defence, insolvency and IP, to name but a few. Clients value the high-quality work, specialized knowledge and the reasonable fees offered by these leading firms, so relationships often last for many years. Voted in second place among the Ontario firms, Pallett Valo LLP counts many large brands among its clients, including Cineplex Inc. and Parmalat Canada Inc. As Cineplex prepares for its acquisition by U.K.-based Cineworld, which is expected to close in spring 2020, Canada's largest movie chain relies on external counsel for a variety of work. "We don't hire firms. We hire lawyers," says Thomas Santram, vice president, deputy general counsel at Cineplex. "We're looking for excellent legal representation, wherever that may be." The entertainment company has been working with Pallett Valo for seven years and Santram values the high-quality service provided, together with fair pricing. "Pallett Valo provides Bay Street quality work. It just happens to have a Mississauga address," says Santram. "I like that they are not over-billing each file just because we're a big company, and they are careful about staffing the file appropriately." The firm has worked for Cineplex on construction law and insurance defence law and has been involved in various lease negotiations in the cinema business. Santram's priorities for 2020 in- clude being proactive in monitoring changing laws, as well as integrating the company into its new corporate family when the acquisition is complete. Also dealing with an integration process, Pallett Valo's client Parmalat Canada Inc. (a subsidiary of the Lactalis Group) purchased the natural cheese business of Kraft Heinz Canada last year, which included three brands — Cracker Barrel, P'tit Québec and aMOO- za!, so the dairy manufacturer is working to integrate its new brands into the business. Parmalat is gradually transitioning to its new identity — Lactalis Canada. The organization hires national, regional and local law firms to assist with a range of issues including litiga- tion, complex M&A and real estate matters. "When I work with lawyers at Pallett Valo, they provide clear and practical recommen- dations so there's no guessing or complicated legal memos to sift through," says Tony Cug- liari, vice president, legal affairs and general counsel at Parmalat Canada. Pallett Valo's construction lawyer, Scott Price, recently provided advice on Parmalat's $50-million development of a milk plant in Winnipeg. Top 10 Ontario Regional Firms Clients value the top-quality work and lower fees of Ontario's leading regional law firms, writes Lucy Saddleton

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