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Ontario law firms gear up for energy boomlet

Globe and Mail - April 11, 2005

Alberta's business law firms may be gushing black ink on the strength of oil and gas, but their counterparts in Ontario are gearing up for their own energy boomlet -- in electricity work.

The provincial Liberals' pledge to expand generation capacity in Ontario via private investment has -- ahem -- sparked a wave of recruitment, notably in the select employment category of FLEAs (former Liberal energy advisers).

In the latest Queen's Park raid, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP has scooped up Robert Silver, former special assistant on energy policy to Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Mr. Silver, a one-time partner at Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP who joins BLG's Toronto office as counsel, will practice commercial and regulatory law relating to electricity and natural gas, as well as government relations.

"We have a continuing need, frankly, for more lawyers in our area," said Mark Rodger, co-chair of BLG's energy markets and infrastructure group. "There's so much activity. An understanding of public policy around this is just so key."

One thing Mr. Silver won't be practising, however, is lobbying. Before leaving government, he was careful to consult with the province's conflict-of-interest commissioner, Lloyd Houlden, who laid down the law: no lobbying the premier's office for 12 months.

"There are some restrictions, but for what Rob's going to be focusing on it's not going to be an issue," Mr. Rodger said.

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