Canadian Underwriter

Canada and the World

August 1, 2012   by Suzanne Sharma

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Company: Clyde & Co

Senior Partner: Michael Payton

Year Founded: 1933

# of Employees: 2,348 worldwide; 85 in Canada

Public or Private: Private


Clyde & Co is a relatively new name in Canada, having merged with Canadian insurance law firm Nicholl Paskell-Mede in September 2011. However, Clyde & Co has long been a well-known name in the UK, with roots dating back to 1933. Over the last 30 years, the firm has established offices in the Middle East, Asia, US and elsewhere in Europe.

Clearly growth is a goal for Clyde & Co, so when the opportunity in Canada came along, the firm took action.

“What we were seeing, particularly in the last two to three years, is that Canada is becoming high profile for our clients and somewhere they’re looking to develop business,” says James Burns, management board partner and executive partner for North America, Clyde & Co.

At the time, Clyde & Co was looking for companies that had compatible practice areas, such as professional indemnity, D&O, financial institutions, fidelity and reinsurance. Nicholl Paskell-Mede was a great choice, says Burns, because it was a firm they had worked with in the past, and was highly regarded in the insurance market.

We’re not a firm that stands still. We’re looking at markets that are booming and the insurance market is looking to grow within.”

Reasons to Watch

Clyde & Co continues to seek additional opportunities for growth in Canada, particularly Calgary, where the law firm hopes to develop its energy practice.

Additionally, the company aims to strengthen its position as a leading international insurance law firm, according to Burns. Clyde & Co is actively considering opportunities to grow its practice in Latin America, including Mexico and Chile, and Australasia.

“We’re not a firm that stands still. We’re looking at markets that are booming and the insurance market is looking to grow within.”

Recent Triumph

One of the largest mergers in insurance law history in the UK is that of Clyde & Co and Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG). The merger occurred in November 2011.

“BLG was one of our major competitors in the UK,” says Burns. “However, when we compared the two firms we found areas they were stronger in and vice versa, so the practice areas of the two firms were complimentary. Because of the merger, we were able to add a professional indemnity and D&O team, a very strong casualty and healthcare team, as well as a Manchester [UK] office.”


With great growth comes growing pains, and for Clyde & Co one challenge has been maintaining its global corporate culture. The firm is spread across 27 offices around the world, and strives to communicate its culture and brand to all staff and clients.

“It requires constant attention, and is something we’re constantly working on together as one global practice,” says Burns.

New Initiative

Clyde & Co prides itself on being ahead of the game by launching offices in developing markets. Its Hong Kong location was established 30 years ago and Dubai 20 years ago, both bringing the company great success. Next up the company has its sights set on Mongolia, a country with significant natural resources. This falls squarely into Clyde & Co’s strategy to expand its energy practice.

The company recently announced an association with Mongolian law firm Khan Lex Advocate, which advises clients on their dealings with the legislative, executive and judicial branches of Mongolian government, and offers securities, corporate, tax, foreign investment, employment and immigration and dispute resolution advice. Khandsuren Khuu, a Mongolian-qualified lawyer will be based in Clyde & Co’s London, UK office.

Charitable Causes

Clyde & Co supports many global charities, most recently WaterAid and African Revival.

Canadian Offices

390 Bay Street, Suite 800, Toronto, Ontario M5H 2Y2


630 Rene-Levesque Blvd. West, Suite 1700, Montréal, Quebec H3B 1S6



Copyright 2012 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the May 2012 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.