A Vancouver law firm specializing in construction, real estate and infrastructure law is expanding its operations to Toronto and changing its name to reflect the addition of two high-profile names in construction law.
The firm announced last week the launch of Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP with the arrival of Bruce Reynolds, Sharon Vogel, Peter Wardle and James Little to the team. Reynolds and Vogel were previously at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.
The Toronto office will be located in the Sun Life Plaza at 150 King Street West. The firm will operate as Singleton Reynolds.
“What we do in British Columbia overlaps incredibly well with what Bruce and Sharon did at BLG on the construction infrastructure side and what Peter [Wardle] does in commercial litigation,” Singleton told Legal Feeds. “We have common clients and I have known Bruce for some time — we’re both members of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers [Singleton was a founding member]. That’s when the idea first came forward a couple of years ago at a construction lawyer meeting as a possibility of what a great firm it would be.
“The fit was so perfect,” says Singleton. “Historically, I’ve done a lot of business with clients in Toronto and Ottawa and I broached the idea with them before it was given birth to and they thought it was a great idea and let us know when your doors open. We’ve done that and they’ve come knocking. It’s a continuum of the growth of the firm from when it started 37 years ago. It’s always grown that way.”
Singleton notes that in 1986 he was approached by Bull Housser’s construction law group, and they then joined the firm.
“This, although much bigger than that, wasn’t part of a two-, five- or 10-year plan — it just happened and seemed so right now as so much has happened in the last couple of weeks it’s incredible,” he says.
Vogel and Reynolds were the key lawyers behind the significant amendment to Ontario’s Construction Lien Act. Reynolds and Vogel acted as co-counsel for the Ontario government to conduct an independent expert review of the act. Both were named to Canadian Lawyer’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers list last year.
Singleton Reynolds currently has about 55 lawyers and will be closer to 70 lawyers by year end, Singleton says.
“There are other lawyers who have already indicated they’d like to talk to us in Toronto and Vancouver now we have a national platform,” says Singleton. “I expect to hit 70 pretty fast.”
Singleton says the goal was to represent clients nationally and internationally.
“The current client base is already indicating a keen interest on moving with us in that direction,” he says. “With Bruce and Sharon obviously it’s the construction infrastructure practice; it fits well and that’s the thing that got us most excited about creating this national firm. The other areas they practise in will fit naturally into that — employment law, immigration and continue to attract more business into that practice area.”
Singleton says Peter Wardle is “a great commercial litigator with a lot of complex commercial litigation work and has a common client with us and a stellar reputation and fits well into the firm philosophy.”