The fast-growing labor and employment law firm Littler Mendelson announced on Tuesday that it has entered Canada, adding a new office in Toronto with a seven-lawyer team.
Jeremy Roth, co-managing director of Littler, said in an interview on Tuesday that expanding into Canada was a natural evolution in the firm’s strategy of becoming a single source solution for multi-national employers.
“In-house counsel are trying to reduce the number of firms they use and the more solutions you can help provide under a single source, the more relevancy you have in that discussion,” said Roth.
He said that one general counsel recently told him she had plans to reduce the number of outside law firms she hires, from 200 to ten. Roth said that while the consolidation of outside counsel is an industry-wide trend, it is perhaps being felt even more so in the labor and employment space.
“You see a lot of the HR strategies and in the labor and employment legal strategies being managed by a single point of contact for North America,” he said. “That happens a lot.”
As such, the firm has executed on a global strategy for at least the past five years. In March, it opened an office in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and last October, it opened in Peru by combining with labor boutique Estudio Gonzalez & Asociados. It opened its first international office in 2010, in Venezuela.
Littler’s entry into Canada, Roth said, “really revolves around all our clients in various industry sectors” such as energy, financial services, retail and manufacturing.
Six of the seven lawyers come from Kuretzky Vassos Henderson, a boutique firm well-known in the Canadian labor and employment community, including shareholders Monty Verlint, George J.A. Vassos and Barry Kuretzky.
One lawyer, Sari L. Springer, comes from Cassels Brock, a large Canadian law firm, and will manage the new Toronto office. She told Big Law Business that she, like her colleagues, was attracted to Littler’s international platform.
“The key benefit of joining with Littler is its corporate client base around the world,” said Barry Kuretzky, a senior partner of Kuretzky Vassos, in a statement. “Canadian clients with operations in South America, for example, are thrilled at the prospect of accessing the expanded network that Littler offers.”
Littler has more than 1,000 lawyers worldwide.
(UPDATED: This article has been updated to include comments from Jeremy Roth, co-director of Littler, and Sari Springer, a lawyer joining Littler in Toronto)