AFTER 50 YEARS OF LEGAL PRACTICE, AN INDUSTRY LEADER
Not everything in downtown Ottawa was closed on New Year’s Day, 1971. At the Plaza Building on Sparks Street, the law firm of Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall was opening its doors for the first time. Four dedicated lawyers had come together with a single purpose – to create the leading independent law firm in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Clearly, they succeeded.
Thanks in large part to its laser-like focus on client service, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l. today is an acknowledged leader in the NCR’s legal community. From their current location on Albert Street, the firm’s 60 professionals and 60 support staff offer an ever-expanding range of sophisticated services to individuals, businesses, and not-for-profit corporations, unions, institutions, charities, and other professionals.
Without a doubt, the firm has evolved over the past 50 years, says Anthony McGlynn, Partner, and Co-Chair. “We added legal specialties and niches. We moved, not once, but four times.
We expanded, consolidated, then expanded again. And, we moved from the traditional managing partner model to a committee system with non-lawyer senior management.
Today, the most powerful force driving the company’s success is its commitment to diversity. “We recognize that building a more diverse workplace, one that fully and accurately reflects the community we serve, benefits both us and the people we serve,” says Anthony. “We’re proud of the progress we’ve made. At the same time, we know we need to do even more.”
Among those already ‘doing more’ is Neha D’Souza. Neha joined the firm in 2008 and became the firm’s COO in 2017. She spearheaded many of the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, including the establishment of a diversity committee and the introduction of bias-free recruitment training. “By drawing on my HR background,” she says, “I’ve had the opportunity to help cultivate a supportive environment for employees.”
Ildiko Huber, who joined the firm in 2011, says her life at Perley- Robertson, Hill & McDougall is exceptionally rewarding. “I am able to share my experiences with others and to seek and implement changes that improve the entire organization, not just my department,” says the CFO.
In fact, when she expressed an interest in helping improve the firm’s IT services, she was encouraged to do so.
Others are also making a difference. Women like Lynda Bordeleau, a member of the firm since 1994 and a partner since 2001. She credits the support of other partners – including founding partner David Hill – for helping her build a strong police sector practice. She’s now continuing what her partners started – mentoring other women in the firm.
Then there’s Karin Pagé, Chair of the Diversity Committee, who joined the firm in 2007, becoming a partner in 2018. She says she chose Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall primarily “because it provided an atmosphere where I could grow while balancing a successful career and family.”
From the moment she became part of the team, says Karin, she has felt that she had a voice and that the door was always open for her to contribute.
Megan Wallace shares that view. Joining the firm as a summer student in 2008, she says she knew immediately that Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall was the perfect fit. “I felt right away that it would be a collegial and friendly environment that provided a work/life balance and still offered interesting work.” Today, Megan is a partner in the Business Law Group and the head of the Not-for-Profit and Charity Law Group.
For Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall, being the top independent law firm in the National Capital Region at the moment isn’t enough. With the contribution of its diverse and talented team, it’s confident it will remain at the top for the next 50 years.