New Beginnings…

This morning, I’ve awoken to a significant change at my firm. The signs have been changed. New business cards have been issued. Even the stickers in the elevator have been swapped. If you go to, you will be redirected to a new site.

Ogilvy Renault LLP is no more. It is now formally known as Norton Rose OR LLP and is of the Norton Rose Group. I have no doubt we will be informally known as Norton Rose. With more than 2,600 lawyers, the enlarged Norton Rose Group is a now top 10 international legal practice with 39 offices throughout Europe, Asia Pacific, Canada, Africa and the Middle East.

When the announcement was made some months ago, there was a lot of coverage – both in the legal forums and in the mainstream media. Now it’s real.

I had hesitated before posting this “news”. I didn’t want it to be seen as “shameless plug” for my firm. Nonetheless, it is news and I thought it would be good mention on a site like Slaw. To make news is one thing… but what does it mean?

There are indeed a lot of questions – many of which I don’t have the answer to you. Nonetheless, I am proud and excited that my firm has taken this step – a first for a Canadian law firm.

Slaw readers are involved and and opinionated. So I ask you all: Will the “international firm” be the new legal paradigm in Canada? Does it even matter to you?


  1. Hi Gabriel,

    I am very fond of Ogilvy Renault so I’m sad about the name change but I think this is a good thing for the firm. I think this will change the legal market because it means that the firm may get a lot more referrals which will make it even more competitive than it already was. Other firms will definitely be watching what happens now with Norton Rose OR and I don’t think this will be the last international merger we see.

  2. Thank you for the update, Gabriel. An “insiders” view is appreciated.

    I am watching with interested, especially since hearing that a number of AMLAW 100 firms have also been looking to Canada for possible merger fodder new partnerships. It will be interesting to observe where this consolidation takes us, and whether it opens up the possibility of other law firm business models.

  3. Thank you for your comments. I think it will be interesting to see how things shake out.

    For a real “insiders perspective” I can share that all of branding has been redone, we are having a party tonight to celebrate and “most importantly”… we got new coffee cups!

    With regard to losing our name – I agree – to some extent. I haven’t been here for very long, but it will be an adjustment. However, “OR” has been around for about 130 years, the majority of which it was not known as Ogilvy Renault!

  4. Given the failure of the MDP experiment in Ontario a decade back, it’s interesting to see this new approach. I think it will stick.

  5. Yes but the MDP experiment failed because of the US response to the Andersen collapse – SOX prohibited arrangements which would have compromised the independence of the audit function.

    The steam ran out of the AICPA’s XYZ initiative (which was an integrated multi-profession of strategic business advisors) at the same time.

    The domestic discussions are recounted in various works by Paul Paton.

    There aren’t similar policy externalities at play in the Norton Rose strategy.

    What will be interesting is to see how the common law jurisdictions follow Quebec in adjusting the regimes dealing with the legal professions to deal with cross-border legal entities that go beyond the Foreign Legal Consultants regime of the last decade.

    And ultimately the market will assess the wisdom of the Norton Rose strategy and whether others follow.

  6. I’m more concerned about the fact that the new website isn’t live.

    I just happened to be searching for something that used to be on the old OV website, and was redirected by Google to a NR url that was not functional. I understand the need to uniformly signal the transition on all messaging and branding, but this situation could have been avoided with proper planning.

    Back in 2009 I mentioned the use of dark sites here on Slaw, which could have been done well in advance.

  7. Gabriel Granatstein


    That’s too bad. I know that our IT and linguistics teams have been working feverishly to get everything done on time.

    As for being re-directed by Google – I do believe it can take a day or two for Google to update its results with new pages… but maybe I am wrong.

    Thanks for the reference to the old post.