DB: Where are you?
WB: Our office here — Aylesworth combined with Dickinson Wright LLP in January 2011 — is hosting a client reception this evening at the exhibit “Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musee national Picasso, Paris,” at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.
DB: Why a Toronto presence?
WB: Canada is Michigan’s largest trading partner. We saw an opportunity to offer full, cross-border legal services and expertise to our clients, which we believe is unique in the industry. It’s like a one-stop shop that includes full corporate, real estate, finance, insolvency, corporate restructuring, and cross-border transactional and litigation expertise.
DB: How is rising M&A activity impacting cross-border issues?
WB: With all the changes in the global economy, along with other factors, we are seeing a lot of consolidation north and south of the (U.S.-Canadian) border. Quite a number of businesses have operations in both countries, and they are looking at acquisitions, partnerships, or fixing troubled situations. There is also cost-competitiveness across all industries, including legal. We have Canadian lawyers practicing in Canada, and we have American lawyers practicing in the U.S., and we work together as a team. In addition, we are in the early stages at looking at opening other offices in Canada.
DB: What do you think of the go-ahead for a new Detroit-Windsor bridge?
WB: Our expectation is that trade between Canada and throughout North America is likely to grow and expand as our respective economies begin to recover. We view any expansion in trade as positive to our business community and our clients. We are seeing inbound and outbound trade rise as financing becomes more available and private equity increases. That’s been a net positive for our business.