Andrew McDougall tells Law Times Magazine he is “not surprised” about Yves Fortier’s recent departure from Norton Rose OR LLP
“There’s a big difference between a national firm and an international firm,” says McDougall.
“It’s a logical step that is a reflection of the reality when you’re operating at that level exclusively as an arbitrator considering the types of cases and what’s at stake with large multinational players. Yves has a richly deserved reputation for being one of the best in the world.”
Before moving to Ottawa, McDougall was a partner at White & Case LLP, itself an international legal giant with more than 2,000 lawyers. Although potential conflicts weren’t a factor in his own move, he says he has noticed a change in his ability to take on appointments as an arbitrator.
“I’m now in a 60-lawyer law firm. It’s a very different environment in terms of the global reach of the law firm. In the past, I had to turn down appointments because of business conflicts but now I’m able to accept everything.”
Conflict restrictions can work both ways at big firms, says McDougall, who notes they can restrain other lawyers from bringing new business to the firm as well.
“When you accept a mandate, that’s something the other partners must take into account once the arbitration starts.”
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