What: The Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP 25th Anniversary Party
Where: The Shangri-La Hotel
When: Thursday, September 14, 2017
In 1992, five litigators at McCarthy Tétrault LLP went to the firm’s top brass and made a shocking announcement: they were quitting the firm to start a boutique. “At McCarthys, everybody was a lifer,” recalls Peter Griffin, one of the original defectors and the longtime managing partner of Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP. “You didn’t leave. And you certainly didn’t leave en masse. So they weren’t happy, as you can imagine.”
But the decision to leave turned out to be a prescient one. Bay Street is now crawling with litigation boutiques. The reason so many litigators choose to practise at a boutique is well known: they can take on more lawsuits than a typical big-firm lawyer, who has to turn down any case that conflicts with the interests of her firm’s sprawling web of clients.
That’s not to say, however, that boutiques are tiny. Lenczner Slaght, much to the surprise of its managing partner, has grown at a steady clip over the past two decades. “We left a big firm to try something different, to be the counter culture,” says Griffin. “I never thought we’d be where we are today, at 55 lawyers.”
Last week, Lenczner Slaght threw a party to celebrate its 25th anniversary. And the event — which took place on the entire third floor of the Shangri-La Hotel and drew hundreds of guests — made it pretty clear that, though the firm began as a scrappy outsider, it’s now a major force in the profession. “I’m always conscious of that,” says Laura Robinson, a third-year associate at the firm. “Every time I stand up in court, I know there’s an expectation that a lawyer from this firm will be excellent, prepared and fierce. I take that reputation seriously.”
To learn more about Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP, visit the firm’s website.
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Photography by 5ive15ifteen Studio