Canadian Lawyer

October 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 25 of 59

24 FEATURE to try and figure out what to do if COVID-19 started having a negative impact that led to significant drops of revenue. Fortunately, "that just hasn't happened," says managing partner David Gunasekera. "It has just been the exact opposite." Business has been so good, Gunasekera says, that the firm recently hired two asso- ciate lawyers and the entire legal team has been working "really hard." As to why the work is still coming despite the pandemic, Gunasekera says that uncer- tainty in the economy has prompted a huge upswing in gold and silver prices that has led to more exploration activity as projects potentially become profitable and compa- nies are looking to raise more capital. The same reason applies as to why more junior miners are becoming takeover targets, with acquirers wanting to jump in before the targets get too pricey. This boom in activity also applies to sectors other than mining, such as the tech sector, as more private companies look to go public through an initial public offering or reverse takeover. "There's a real rush out there, as there is a bit of concern that this access to capital is just a window and not a fundamental change, so they are anxious to take advantage of it now." Gunasekera points to two transactions as examples of the types of deals that DuMoulin Black has handled: the acquisi- tion of Northern Empire of Gold by Coeur Mining for US $90 million and the purchase earlier this year of Otis Gold by Excellon Resources, an all-share deal worth an esti- mated $32 million. While the firm has a sound vetting process for potential clients, Gunasekera says it is happy to get involved with potentially risky but solid ventures. "Part of our job is to ensure companies disclose properly, high- light those risks so investors know what they are getting involved with." Founded in 1966, DuMoulin Black is based in the heart of Vancouver, but its clients and their transactions reach around the globe. Its lawyers have experience in corporate, commercial and securities law in a wide range of industries including mining, life sciences, industry, technology, food and beverage and energy. It currently has a legal team of 17, the most the firm has had in the past 10 to 15 years, Gunasekera says. However, Gunasekera says the firm wants to stay true to its boutique firm values. "The way we like to describe ourselves is that we are a small firm, but we're a large, focused practice group that matches up with any national firm." DuMoulin Black also has no desire to change its focus, he says, preferring to stay "very specific in the type of work that we do." Another advantage of being a boutique, Gunasekera says, is that the firm's roster of lawyers ranges in experience from first-year calls to senior practitioners. "That gives us the ability to staff files with the right people, with, say, a partner, a mid-level associate and a junior associate or student. We don't over- staff files and throw bodies at it, and there's a certain amount of efficiency and cost savings that can come out of that." The firm also likes to emphasize its steady long-term relationships with the exchanges and the regulators, he adds, "giving clients comfort that we can complete the task at hand." Hansell LLP Toronto While the work at Hansell LLP hasn't changed much since the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic hit, "where that work is being done now certainly has," says firm founder and corporate governance expert Carol Hansell as she goes on to describe the TOP 10 CORPORATE BOUTIQUES

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