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Cameron McKenna is setting up a small Toronto projects office headed by Larry Leonoff, the former general counsel of Ontario Hydro.The firm is understood to have combined with Leonoff to form Leonoff & Associates as a means of complying with a strict protectionist policy against foreigners practising Canadian law.The affiliated firm will service Leonoff’s old company, Ontario Hydro, which has been the subject of a series of critical reports by Canadian and US regulators on the management of its nuclear power stations.The office will be Camerons’ third in north America. All focus on projects and energy work.Last September it became the first UK firm to set up a permanent office on the west coast of the US, when it launched a six-lawyer office in San Francisco. Its three-year-old Washington operation now has 15 lawyers, following its acquisition last September of niche regulatory firm Morley Caskin.Canadian firm and power specialist McCarthy Tetrault, which has been advising British Energy on the acquisition of nuclear power stations in Canada, downplayed the threat posed by Camerons.McCarthy Tetrault London managing partner, Glen F Ireland, said: “Camerons is not there to compete for everything in Canada. “This is not going to be the thin end of the wedge for them. They have come in commando-style and could just leave after a few years.”He said US firms posed the greatest threat to the Canadian market. “Camerons will not be a full-service practice. The US firms will do that,” Ireland said. Cameron McKenna was unavailable for comment.

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