According to records obtained by The Lawyers Weekly, the Canadian government spent a record $57.1 million on outside law firms in the 2008-09 fiscal year. It’s the most Canada has ever paid out to private law firms in one year and represents a 34 percent increase from legal fees paid in 2007-08. (All expenditures have been converted from Canadian dollars at the rate of $1 Canadian = $ 0.936 U.S.)

Weil, Gotshal & Manges led the pack of outside legal advisers with $7.7 million in billings. The Lawyers Weekly reports that Weil billed Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs for representing Canada in trade disputes with the U.S., including the firm’s longtime role as coordinating counsel for the country in its 27-year-old softwood lumber war with the U.S.

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