McInnes Cooper expands with Breton Law Group merger

Posted on August 29, 2022 | By Elizabeth Whitten | 0 Comments


Kevin Kiley, managing partner, McInnes Cooper (submitted photo)


Since word that Atlantic Canadian law firm McInnes Cooper was merging with Sydney-based The Breton Law Group was announced last week, managing partner Kevin Kiley has been on a whirlwind tour of its offices, stopping over briefly in St. John’s and Charlottetown, as well as two days in Cape Breton where he was meeting their soon-to-be colleagues.

The deal was publicly announced on August 23 and will come into effect on September 6. Kiley said it will boost the number of the firm’s employees to around 450. The Breton Law Group will become the firm’s seventh office, all under the McInnes Cooper brand.

Kiley explained the merger was a move that made good business sense. McInnes Cooper is one of the 25 largest law firms in Canada and has a presence in all the Atlantic Provinces. “It was a strategic opportunity for us to make a significant investment in Cape Breton,” he told Atlantic Business Magazine.

This deal has been in the works since last spring. Kiley said McInnes Cooper was looking for opportunities where they could grow and after doing their research, they ended up looking into Cape Breton.

“When we looked at the Cape Breton marketplace, we were seeing what we thought was a growing market. Strong economic activity. Significant infrastructure and investment in that area,” said Kiley.

They then set their sights on looking into the legal firms that were present in the region with what he called “potential synergies” and identified The Breton Law Group. Kiley said McInnes Cooper reached out in May 2021 about a possible merger and discussions have continued since then, adding, “We’re happy to be able to announce the merger this week.”

They’ve also gotten positive reactions from their current clients, some who already do business in Cape Breton, said Kiley.


Jim Gogan, partner, The Breton Law Group (website photo)


The Breton Law Group has five partners, three associates and 14 staff; partner Jim Gogan said he’s personally looking forward to September 6 when the merger comes into effect, noting that their clients will benefit from the additional resources of McInnes Cooper.

While The Breton Law Group is a full-service law firm, they’re also what Gogan calls a business-focused law firm and there is “synergy” between them and McInnes Cooper. He also believes this move will be a boon to its associates, who will benefit from the new opportunities to enhance their careers.

In the past there have been acquisition enquiries, which he said is not unusual or unique to his law firm. “I’ll be humble here about our firm, but I think it’s really a reflection as well of the strength of the Sydney marketplace too,” said Gogan, pointing out that there’s a billion and a half dollars in capital targeted for investment in the Cape Breton area over the next five years.

Kiley and Gogan also view this as a merger of the two law firms rather than an acquisition.

Kiley said he supposed the deal does have characteristics of both, but from a client perspective it’s a merger. “And I say that because it’s a merger of the strengths of both law firms. And from the perspective of a client what really matters to them is their ability to provide strong, strategic advice when they need it and where they need it. So this is a merger of those qualities and those strengths.”

Gogan also stressed that, “we are merging the clients. They’re not actually acquiring us per se, I wouldn’t say in a pure transactional perspective,” so The Breton Law’s partners are becoming partners of McInnes Cooper.

They both declined to disclose the financial details and value of the merger.

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