As of lunchtime today, Heenan Blaikie LLP has lost at least 11 more lawyers to rival firms and sources say the partners will be voting on the firm’s dissolution at a meeting tonight.

While rumours of the firm’s demise have been swirling for months with a series of high-profile lawyers leaving the firm, the pace has become quite dizzying in recent days.

As Legal Feeds reported on Monday, Heenan Blaikie’s senior partners have been discussing the future of the firm, amid financial woes said to stem from the tough economy and the completion of several major files.

There have been a long string of departures in recent months, but these appear to have accelerated in the past week and sources today said a partnership vote on the firm’s future will come as early as tonight.


Some firms have been “overwhelmed” by the sudden upturn in interest from partners looking to make a lateral move, says Carrie Heller, president at The Heller Group Legal and Executive Search.

Firms are contacting partners directly, as well as being approached by partners interested in a potential switch, she says.

“It’s an interesting time if you’re a non-Heenan partner looking to make a move,” she says, adding: “The timing is more challenging, because there’s such a sense of urgency with the Heenan partners.”

While firms are always interested in partners with solid books of business, associates looking to switch firms may face greater difficulties, she warns.

When mid-sized Toronto firm Goodman and Carr LLP closed down in 2007, most associates quickly found new jobs, according to Heller, but the tougher financial climate in 2014 will make this much more of a challenge, she believes.

Lawyers moving with an entire practice group could have an advantage among firms looking for a cohesive, ready-made team, Heller suggests

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