Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes), one of Canada’s largest law fi…

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes), one of Canada’s largest law firms, today announced that it has opened offices in Chicago and New York to practice Canadian law.

Blakes is the first Canadian law firm to open an office in Chicago.

“The U.S. market is extremely significant for Blakes’ Canadian law practice,” said Jim Christie, Chairman of the Firm. “When making the decision to open offices in the U.S., we knew we had to be in New York. But it was also very clear to us that the volume of business between Canada and the Midwest is very substantial and growing. We wanted to be in a better position to build on the very significant amount of cross-border work that Blakes currently does in this region.”

Blakes has chosen three experienced attorneys to manage these new offices. Blakes’ U.S. offices will be led by Tim Unwin, Partner and currently Co-leader of the Securities Law Group in Blakes Toronto. A former Managing Partner of Blakes’ first international office in London, Mr. Unwin has extensive experience advising U.S. and Canadian companies engaged in cross-border business, including capital markets transactions. Mr. Unwin will be based in New York.

Geoffrey Belsher, a Partner practicing corporate and securities law in Blakes Vancouver, will be based in Chicago. Mr. Belsher’s practice focuses on corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and cross-border transactions. He was recognized in 2002 as one of Canada’s top 40 lawyers under age 40 by Lexpert magazine.

“Blakes recognizes the increasing opportunities that come from an integrated North American market,” explained Mr. Unwin. “By opening in Chicago, we are proud to be the first Canadian law firm to make a commitment to the Midwestern market.”

Working with Mr. Unwin in New York will be Michael Gans, currently a Partner in the Securities Law Group in Blakes Toronto. Mr. Gans has acted as counsel on a variety of cross-border and domestic transactions and in 2002 was also named by Lexpert magazine as one of Canada’s top 40 lawyers under age 40. He has previous experience practicing law in New York.

About Blakes

Founded in 1856, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP has over 500 lawyers and offices in Canada, the United States, Europe and China. Blakes was the highest ranking Canadian law firm for U.S. M&As in 2003 according to the U.S.-based Global Securities Information, Inc. (GSI). Blakes has also been ranked Canada’s Leading Law Firm by The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2003/2004, published by Who’s Who Legal, with more lawyers ranked as leading business lawyers than any other law firm in Canada. The Firm’s signature, “Blakes means business” is not just a catch phrase but a discipline that defines how Blakes helps clients achieve their business objectives. More information on Blakes is available by visiting the Firm’s Web site at www.blakes

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