Lisa Myers is relocating her practice from Seattle to Vancouver, where she will focus on subrogation, recovery and commercial litigation. Cozen O’Connor‘s other international offices, in Toronto and London, also focus on those practice areas, and having a Vancouver presence will allow that group to expand, managing partner Vincent McGuinness said.
The firm established its office in Toronto nearly 13 years ago. Around that time, McGuinness said, laws in Canada had transformed, making it easier for Americans to practice law there.
“It was a good time for us to explore taking the subgrogation practice we have in the States and representing the same clients in Canada,” he said. That office “knocked the ball out of the park,” McGuinness said, and the firm began doing work across the country as well, in western Canada.
Partner Doug Fox did a lot of that work, McGuinness said, but recently announced that he wanted to change his role within the firm, serving as conflict counsel. Myers, who had started her career at Cozen O’Connor’s Philadelphia office, had relocated to Seattle several years before, and “embraced the opportunity” to move 150 miles north and start a Vancouver office for the firm, McGuinness said.
“Vancouver has such a vibrant and growing corporate community, I relish the opportunity to establish and grow Cozen O’Connor’s presence here,” Myers said in a statement Friday. “Subrogation and commercial litigation is a major concern for the corporate community, especially in connection with the heavy industry that forms the backbone of the Canadian economy, particularly here out west.”
Myers is from Canada originally, having been born in Calgary, Alberta.
Cozen O’Connor’s subrogation and recovery team includes 100 lawyers, according to the firm. While the Vancouver office is starting with just Myers, McGuinness said it will likely add two or three associates in the near future.
“It’s important for our clients to have the presence. You get to know the courts, you get to know the judges, you get to know the local bar,” he said. And “some companies only write on the western part of Canada” so getting their work is easier with an office there.
Additionally, he noted, it’s financially better for the firm not to be flying lawyers into Vancouver on a regular basis.
Cozen O’Connor’s strategic plan in its non-U.S. offices is a bit different from its overall strategic plan, McGuinness noted, given the specific practice focus of the Canada and London locations. Across all practices and offices, the firm grew its head count by 84 lawyers in 2017, and continued to make lateral hires in the beginning of this year.
“We have a strategic plan that has identified the core areas where we want to grow,” McGuinness said. But “We’re going to continue to be opportunistic.”