Davis LLP is no more. As of April, its offices are part of the mega-firm DLA Piper. At DLA, this is likely a proud moment: the global firm, 4,500 lawyers strong, has long wanted a Canadian arm. (Last year, it nearly joined forces with the now-defunct Heenan Blaikie LLP.) But what did Davis get out of the merger? We reached Robert Seidel — the long-time leader at Davis and newly minted managing partner at DLA Canada — at his desk in Edmonton to ask just that.
As part of DLA Piper, what can you offer clients that you couldn’t before?
Access to far more business contacts.
Contacts who belong to DLA’s network?
Correct. The contact list on our phones has grown from 260 to 4,500 overnight. We can now reach out to these people and say, ‘I have a client who’s interested in this sector. Who do you know? How can we help?’
Roger Meltzer, global co-chair of DLA Piper, has called Davis’s Toronto office a weak point for the firm. How come?
Most national firms started in Toronto. Our origins are in Vancouver and Edmonton. So, not surprisingly, our most established practice areas and major clients are in the West.
Do you have plans for the Toronto market?
Toronto still presents a great opportunity for us — in corporate finance, securities, banking. And the city has a great talent pool. I know Roger wants us to be a disruptive force in Toronto, so it’s pretty exciting.
Do you expect the firm to grow?
Yeah, we’ll grow in size, for sure. But there’s no reason for DLA Canada to go from 260 lawyers to, say, 590. I don’t think the Canadian market is that big.
Are you worried about anything?
Not really. You know, you always draw a breath when you look to the future because, of course, the future is uncertain. And there is nostalgia: Oh, remember when we were just a little firm on Burrard Street in Vancouver. But life is different now. And life will continue to change.
This story is from our Summer 2015 issue.
Illustration by Alina Skyson