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A leading Canadian law firm based in Toronto yesterday announced a merger that will give it a presence in Ottawa and expertise in broadcast and telecommunications regulations.

Effective April 1, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP will merge with Johnston & Buchan LLP, a 13-lawyer boutique firm in Ottawa. "Combined with our current practice, we will become one of the dominant players (in communications law)," said David Corbett, managing partner of Fasken.

Fasken recently represented CHUM when Bell Globemedia bought the cable and television broadcaster for $1.7 billion.

Johnston represented cable TV companies, such as Rogers and Shaw Communications, when each wanted to offer telephone services. It also successfully completed the application for Canadian Satellite Radio to broadcast in Canada.

Johnston has been approached with acquisition proposals from other leading Canadian firms over the years, said Laurence Dunbar, Johnston partner and lawyer.

Fasken approached Johnston about a year ago because it wanted to increase its speciality in communications law, Corbett said.

"There are a number of our significant clients whom this (merger) will be useful for," he added.

Johnston accepted the offer from Fasken because Fasken already has a successful communications law practice, Dunbar said. Six of Johnston's 11 partners have been ranked as the top Canadian lawyers in their field of practice.

The firm was founded in 1980.

"This is a boost for Fasken," said Susan Kennedy, managing consultant of ZSA Legal Recruitment, about the merger.

Not only will it give Fasken a presence in Ottawa, but the nation's capital is where the bulk of telecommunication and broadcast communications regulatory work is done.

Fasken's main competition in communications law is McCarthy Tetrault LLP, Corbett said.

Last month, Fasken announced the first Canadian-U.K. law-firm merger when it joined forces with Stringer Saul LLP, a 32-lawyer boutique firm that specializes in the London Stock Exchanges Alternative Investment Market.

Fasken has five offices in Canada and three internationally. After the merger, it will employ about 655 lawyers.

http://www.fasken.com


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