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Brisk business and a dwindling talent pool are prompting law firms to fortify their efforts in recruiting from their neighbors to the north. Many of the country’s top firms are increasingly relying on law schools in Canada to provide them with the fresh talent they need in private equity, mergers and acquisitions, general corporate work and more. The strategy appears to be a good fit between Canadian students who want a hand in the big deals-and the big salaries-that large U.S. law firms can provide, and hiring partners seeking associates who possess an international edge. “We’re hiring bright kids who are by definition mobile and have a lot of optimism,” said George Tsougarakis, hiring partner at New York’s Hughes Hubbard & Reed. Before 2001, Hughes Hubbard brought aboard a few students each year from Canadian law schools, mainly for the firm’s international arbitration practice. Tsougarakis said the firm recently strengthened its Canadian recruiting, primarily at Faculty of Law McGill University in Qu�bec and intends to participate in on-campus interviews next year at the University of Toronto. Basic supply and demand is creating the Canadian push from U.S. law firms. Gross revenue among the nation’s most profitable law firms rose to $52 billion last year, a 10.6% increase compared with 2004, according to The American Lawyer, an affiliate of The National Law Journal. At the same time, applications for this year’s academic class at U.S. law schools dropped by 6.3%, according to the Law School Admission Council. Last year, they fell by 5.2%, marking the first decline in applications since 1997. Meanwhile, on-campus recruiting at U.S. law schools last year rose by 5% or more in the number of employers visiting law schools, according to the National Association for Law Placement. A ‘global perspective’ Apparently, firms are spreading their reach beyond the borders. University of Toronto Faculty of Law hosted more U.S. firms during its on-campus recruiting sessions this fall, said Lianne Krakauer, assistant dean-career services at the law school. New to campus this year were Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, she said. Returning to campus after a hiatus were Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom, among others, she said. Attractive to U.S. firms is the “global perspective” that Canadian graduates offer, she said. That many of them are bilingual also helps, she said. Law firm leaders in the United States also have a certain perception about the Canadian way of conducting business, she added. “They have a sense that Canadian lawyers have a kind of civility,”Krakauer said. McGill University in Qu�bec also had a champion recruiting season with U.S. firms, said Ali Martin-Mayer, director of the school’s career development office. Some 18 U.S. law firms visited its campus, the highest number of firms ever that she could recall. She also saw more U.S. firms requesting r�sum�s from McGill students, even though they did not make the trek to Qu�bec. She said that the feeling among Canadian students is that a job with a top U.S. firm is second only to a clerkship with a justice for the Supreme Court of Canada. “Our students are motivated to go to the U.S.,” she said. McGill University and University of Toronto are two of the most popular schools among firms in the United States. Other schools from which U.S. firms routinely recruit include Osgoode Hall Law School York University, in Toronto, and University of British Columbia Faculty of Law, in Vancouver. The Official Guide to Canadian Law Schools published by the Newtown, Pa.-based Law School Admission Council, lists 17 law schools in Canada. Osgoode has the largest full-time enrollment, with 870 students, while the Faculty of Law University of New Brunswick has the fewest, with 240 students. McGill University graduate Ryan Unruch started at Ropes & Gray in Boston three weeks ago. He received his law degree in June and took the Massachusetts exam in July. He expects to get the results next month. The “diversity of opportunity,” he said, was the motivation for him to take a job with a U.S. firm. “There are more cutting-edge transactions,” said Unruch, who plans to focus his practice on investment management work. He said that the perception among his classmates was that snagging a job at a strong U.S. firm was a plum assignment. Unruch has a brother who practices with New York’s Cravath, Swaine & Moore. A Montr�al native, he said that the pay at U.S. firms is better, although the cost of living is higher. In addition, the North American Free Trade Agreement has made it easy for professionals to move seamlessly between Canada and the United States, he said. Although he received offers from other U.S. firms, Unruch said he chose Ropes & Gray because his personality clicked with the firm culture. And he is about an hour’s flight away from home. Besides their proximity, Canadian schools are particularly popular among U.S. firms scouring for talent because they offer degrees in common law, similar to the juris doctor degrees that U.S. students receive. But unlike in the United States, students who plan to practice in Canada must complete what is called “articling” after they take the country’s bar exam, but before they are fully admitted. Articling is a kind of supervised internship with a Canadian law firm lasting about one year. Also unlike U.S. schools, law schools in Canada are less stratified, said Nick Rumin, a recruiter with Sivin Tobin Associates in New York. While U.S. law schools generally fall into four tiers based on the quality of education, Canadian schools break into two, with several offering top-notch training, he said. Financial services and private equity are particularly ripe practice areas for Canadian-educated attorneys, he said, adding that more firms are recognizing the “underutilized talent” available from Canadian law school graduates. Agreeable states Each state’s requirements for licensing Canadian graduates vary, but New York and Massachusetts are particularly accommodating. In general, students with a Canadian law degree can take the bar exam in those states once they graduate. Other states require permission from the local bar authority. Still others require Canadian graduates to be admitted in another U.S. jurisdiction or a jurisdiction in Canada. Some states require Canadian graduates to obtain a certain number of years in practice or, as in California, require graduates to have completed additional training at a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Graduates of foreign law schools are not eligible for admission in 20 states, including Florida, Michigan and New Jersey, according to information provided by the ABA. John Cannon, co-hiring partner for Shearman & Sterling’s U.S. offices, said that his firm started recruiting from Canadian law schools in the 1980s. Initially, the New York-based firm collected r�sum�s at University of Toronto, but 10 years ago it started conducting on-campus interviews there and at McGill and Osgoode. These days, he recognizes that he has more competition from other firms. But he said that the firm is relying on its reputation as an international player to keep Canadian students interested in joining. He said the firm has no big plans to change its recruiting strategy. “We’ve kept it the same,” he said.

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