Vancouver law firm merges with MLT Aikins

Eight lawyers at Hakemi & Ridgedale join 270 others

aaron runge
MLT Aikins' managing partner, Aaron Runge, believes the merger will strengthen his firm's Vancouver team | submitted

The 270-lawyer, Western Canadian law firm MLT Aikins LLP has expanded its Vancouver footprint by merging with Hakemi & Ridgedale, the firms announced this morning.

Hakemi & Ridgedale's eight lawyers are focused on commercial litigation, and will join MLT Aikins' 27 Vancouver-based lawyers,  MLT Aikins managing partner Aaron Runge told BIV.

"We don't have a head office," Runge said.

"We've got our CFO in Winnipeg, our COO in Regina and myself in Kelowna so we're kind of all over the place in Western Canada."

MLT Aikins's offices are in Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Runge said that the firm's Vancouver office already has a significant commercial-law presence, thanks to its work executing mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings (IPOs) and securities work.

Its commercial-litigation presence, however, has been comparatively small in Vancouver – something that will change with this merger, he added.

"In the last few years, we've been among the top one or two law firms in the country for the number of IPOs that we've done, and principally, that work has been done out of Vancouver," he said. "We've got a labour and employment presence. We've got an insolvency presence."

MLT Aikins leases space at the Oceanic Plaza building at 1066 West Hastings St., while Hakemi & Ridgedale has space at 815 Hornby St.

Runge said that his firm plans to lease additional space so the expanded team can work alongside each other at Oceanic Plaza, and that it would relinquish its lease on Hornby Street.

Having 35 lawyers in Vancouver means that MLT Aikins is a medium-sized law firm in the city, and not yet large enough to make BIV's list of Vancouver's largest law firms.

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP was the largest law firm in the city, with 155 lawyers based here, according to BIV's 2022 list, which ranked 19 firms.

Lawson Lundell LLP's roster of 136 local lawyers was enough to help it rank as the city's second largest firm, while Borden Ladner Gervais LLP's count of 132 lawyers was sufficient to rank third.

MLT Aikins' 270 lawyers across Canada rank it as the 13th largest law firm in the country, according to the firm, which cited Lexpert data.