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Merger bolsters law firms

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Don Douglas (left) of Thompson Dorfman Sweatman and Paul Roy of Roy Johnston in Brandon. The firms have merged.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Don Douglas (left) of Thompson Dorfman Sweatman and Paul Roy of Roy Johnston in Brandon. The firms have merged. Photo Store

ONE of Winnipeg's biggest law firms is branching out beyond the Perimeter Highway for the second time in a year.

Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP hopes to get a piece of the action in southwestern Manitoba -- that's oil country -- through its merger with Brandon-based Roy Johnston & Company LLP.

Don Douglas, managing partner of TDS, said he believes Roy Johnston's six lawyers can provide much-desired access to the red-hot part of the province it couldn't get by expanding there on its own. At the same time, TDS will be able to provide expanded legal expertise Roy Johnston doesn't currently offer to its clients. The Brandon office will be known as Roy Johnston/TDS.

"We're coming together to make a stronger merging of practices," Douglas said. "Our objective is to make the Brandon office bigger and stronger."

"We don't have a lot of oil and gas expertise because we don't have a lot of clients that need it but we want to develop it using lawyers in (the Brandon) office."

TDS has 77 lawyers, including 45 partners. Last January, it merged with Christianson Law Corp. in Portage la Prairie. Its three lawyers operate under the Christianson TDS banner.

The Brandon economy has changed significantly during the past 30 years, which has forced Paul Roy, managing partner of Roy Johnston, to search out expertise it didn't have in-house.

"When we started out, we were doing simple farm deals and house deals. The institutions and businesses have become bigger and more sophisticated and they need things that we don't know how to do," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 7, 2014 B8

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