Hughes Hubbard & Reed is at the top of a list of outside legal advisers to Canada's federal government, which paid the Am Law 100 firm roughly $8.1 million out of the $34 million it spent on legal services in 2011.
The Lawyers Weekly, a Canadian legal publication, obtained the documents delineating the country's outside legal bills under Canada's Access to Information Act. (All expenditures listed here have been converted from Canadian dollars at the rate of $1 Canadian = $0.974954 U.S.)
The fees -- paid to private sector lawyers for noncriminal work such as civil litigation and other legal services on behalf of Canadian federal government agencies like the Canada Revenue Agency, Industry Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice -- represent a decrease from the $38.7 million the Canadian government spent during its last fiscal year, according to The Lawyers Weekly.
Three years ago, Canada spent a record $57.1 million on outside firms, according to our previous reports. Weil, Gotshal & Manges landed the lion's share of the billings during Canada's 200809 fiscal year with $7.7 million in fees, mostly due to the firm's work in a long-running cross-border lumber war between the U.S. and its northern neighbor. (Pierre Pettigrew, Canada's former minister of foreign affairs, has called the dispute the "biggest trade battle on the planet.")
But a key lateral hire by Hughes Hubbard from Weil last year brought the firm a bevy of business from north of the border. Joanne Osendarp, a partner in Hughes Hubbard's international trade and customs and international arbitration practices in New York, joined the firm in February 2011 from Weil, along with counsel John Ryan.
Osendarp, a graduate of the University of Ottawa's law school who made partner at Weil in 2005, has served as Canada's principal lawyer in the U.S. throughout its softwood lumber dispute. Canada chose to stick with Osendarp in its ongoing tiff with its largest trading partner over timber, according to The Lawyers Weekly, and Hughes Hubbard has reaped the benefits.
Other firms that received more than $1 million in legal fees from the Canadian government last year were Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg; Lawson Lundell; Macleod Dixon (now part of Norton Rose); Gilbert Simard Tremblay; Spiteri & Ursulak; Lenczner Slaght; and Bennett Jones, according to The Lawyers Weekly, which has the full list of the country's outside legal advisers. Weil received roughly $542,000 from the Canadian government last year.