Canadian strength leads to push in mining – by Drew Hasselback – (National Post – October 26, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper. 

How Chambers went to South America and found Canada

Even the most geographically confused individual has to know that Canada is nowhere near South America. So you wouldn’t expect to see any Canadian firms mentioned in a legal directory that lists the best law firms and lawyers in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Yet the 2012 Chambers Latin America and Caribbean directory contains a unique section called Projects, Mining: Leading Canadian Firms. I think it speaks to the growing international recognition that Canadian firms enjoy in the mining world. Here you have a guide that’s supposed to list the leading law firms in Latin America, and yet it goes out of the way to point out that if you’re looking for expertise on mining projects, you should consider approaching the eight Canadian firms profiled on the list — even though only one of them has its own offices in South America.

In fact, if you leaf through the guide or check it out online, you’ll see Chambers even had to invent a special category to reflect this reality.
“We’d noticed that across the continent, there were a lot of Canadian law firms getting involved in deals and advising international clients who were investing in Latin America in the energy and mining sectors,” explains Ruth Collins, the London-based Chambers editor who worked on the Canadian list.

“There’s a lot of foreign investment into Latin America, particularly on the mining side, because you guys are so strong in that area. Moving on this, we decided to look at our existing research and draw together the key firms and the key lawyers involved in this area.”

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Heenan Blaikie LLP, Macleod Dixon LLP, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, McMillan LLP and Stikeman Elliott LLP are on the list as Canadian firms. It’s worth adding that Baker & McKenzie, a U.S. firm with an office in Toronto and a significant presence in the global mining industry, is also mentioned as a recommended firm for mining in several jurisdictions, such as Argentina, Chile and Colombia.

The Chambers and Partners guides are notable because they’re not “pay to play.” The firms written up in the directories make the cut based on surveys and interviews that researchers in England conduct with firm clients and peers. There are tons of legal directories out there, but Chambers’ unique approach to ranking lawyers gives the publisher a certain cachet.

For the rest of this column, please go to the National Post/Financial Post website: