|Limited Liability Partnership|
Heenan Blaikie LLP is a now defunct Canadian law firm. It practiced in the areas of business, labour and employment, litigation, taxation, entertainment law and intellectual property law. The firm was founded in 1973 by Roy Heenan, Donald Johnston, and Peter Blaikie. Based in Montreal, at one time the firm had over 500 lawyers with offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières and Paris, and a representative office in Singapore. The firm was one of the top ten firms in Canada; as of February 2011, it was the sixth largest law firm in Canada. It became the largest law firm to close in Canadian history after its partners voted to dissolve the firm on February 5, 2014. The firm closed its doors on February 28, 2014.
The firm was founded in 1973 by Roy Heenan, Donald Johnston, and Peter Blaikie as Johnston Heenan Blaikie. After Johnston left to become a Member of Parliament in 1978, the firm was renamed Heenan Blaikie. The firm was one of the first to expand across Canada in the 1970s, helping pioneer the concept of national law firms. It also established a reputation as the landing ground for former Prime Ministers: both Jean Chrétien and Pierre Trudeau joined the firm after their respective political careers ended.
At one point the home of over 500 lawyers, the firm began to suffer financial trouble in 2013. Hurt by falling revenues from a drop-off in business from resource companies, the opening of a Paris office at a time the economy was struggling there, and the end of several major cases at the same time, the firm announced a drop in income per partner of 10 to 15 percent. One week later, the firm faced a rash of defection, with nearly 30 senior partners exiting for more profitable firms. The firm voted on February 5, 2014 to start the orderly dissolution of the firm, the largest in Canadian history, surpassing the previous record set by Goodman and Carr in 2007.
On February 28, 2014, the firm closed its doors, leaving a skeleton crew of support staff to wind down the firm's operations over the next few months.
At the international level, Heenan Blaikie was counsel to the Canadian Employers Council, an organisation that represents Canadian employers at the International Labour Organization (ILO). Heenan Blaikie was also the Canadian member of the National Workers' Compensation Defense Network (NWCDN), an organization of independent law firms in the United States and Canada with an established workers' compensation practice and experience in defending employers and insurance companies in workers' compensation and related actions. In addition to its European and Asian presence, its Paris office served as a foray into the African market. However, the firm's activities in Africa have garnered controversy, as its endeavours there included a working relationship with Ari Ben-Menashe, from whom the firm has since tried to distance itself.
Past notable lawyers and alumni
- The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, P.C., C.C., O.M., Q.C., former Prime Minister of Canada
- The Honourable Donald J. Johnston, P.C., O.C., Q.C., a co-founder of the firm, former Secretary-General of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- Pierre-Marc Johnson, FRSC, former Premier of the Province of Quebec
- André Bureau, O.C., former Chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and current Chair of Astral Media
- The Honourable Michel Bastarache, C.C., former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
- The Honourable John W. Morden, former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario
- The Honourable René Dussault, FRSC, formerly a judge on the Québec Cour d'Appel
- The Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, former Prime Minister of Canada
- The Honourable Justice David Stratas, Federal Court of Appeal
- The Honourable Clement Gascon, Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
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- David J. Bilinsky (2009-09-08). "Simon Chester of Heenan Blaikie Answers 30 Questions". thoughtfullaw.com. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
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- Michael McKiernan (2011-02-27). "Largest law firms in Canada". Law Times (Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd.). Retrieved 2011-11-18.
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- Mcfarland, Janet; Gray, Jeff (2014-02-05). "Storied law firm Heenan Blaikie sunk by a shifting legal landscape". The Globe and Mail (Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd.). Retrieved 2014-02-05.
- "Heenan Blaikie partners vote to wind up operations". Financial Post. February 5, 2014.
- Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew (2014-02-27). "Heenan Blaikie closes its doors". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "Canadian Law Firm Heenan Blaikie Plans Restructuring Amid Defections". The Wall Street Journal. February 3, 2014.
- "Bay Street watches as Heenan Blaikie tries to regroup". Canadian Lawyer Magazine. February 3, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- "New Vancouver law firm rises from ashes of Heenan Blaikie". February 5, 2014.
- Brian Hutchinson and Graeme Hamilton (2011-11-11). "The long reach of Ari Ben-Menashe". National Post (National Post/Postmedia Network Inc). Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- Brian Hutchinson (2011-11-18). "The unbelievable life of Ari Ben-Menashe". National Post (National Post/Postmedia Network Inc). Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- "Jean Chrétien". CBC. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2011-11-18.
- English, John (2009). Just Watch Me: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Volume Two: 1968-2000. Toronto: Random House. ISBN 9780676975246.