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Three lawyers heading to Goldblatt from Koskie Minsky

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 @ 9:06 AM | By Paula Kulig

Goldblatt Partners LLP has expanded its pension and benefits practice in Toronto by hiring three lawyers away from Koskie Minsky LLP.

Clio Godkewitsch, Simon Archer and Susan Philpott

(l-r) Clio Godkewitsch, Simon Archer and Susan Philpott

Susan Philpott, Simon Archer and Clio Godkewitsch have left the 17-lawyer group at Koskie Minsky and moved a few blocks away to boost the ranks of the six-member group at Goldblatt. The three, all partners, started their new jobs on May 29. They join partner Doug LeFaive, who leads the pension group, and four other lawyers in Toronto, and partner Fiona Campbell in the firm’s Ottawa office.

"Landing these three top-notch pension lawyers enriches our overall labour and employment practice and adds significant depth and expertise to our already well-established pension practice,” said Goldblatt managing partner Steven Barrett in a news release. “We’re thrilled to welcome them to the firm."

In a statement, Koskie Minsky said it "remains one of the largest and most highly regarded pensions and benefits practices in Canada," and that its practice is "growing, and we will continue to provide our clients with top-tier service."

In addition to handling pension and benefits law, civil litigation and class actions, Koskie Minsky has a significant union-side labour law practice and was assigned to represent pensioners and long-term disabled employees of former tech giant Nortel Networks. Goldblatt also services unions and employee associations in all areas of labour and employment law, in addition to working in such fields as criminal law, aboriginal law and civil litigation.

Philpott was called to the Ontario bar in 1990 and the bar in British Columbia in 2013. A former president of the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers, she has been involved in several high-profile cases, including insolvency proceedings at Nortel and Target Canada, the development of the National Hockey League players’ pension plans and the insolvency and restructuring of Air Canada.

Called to the Ontario bar in 2002, Archer was appointed by Ontario’s Finance minister last year to represent the interests of workers and unions in a review of the regulations that apply to the province’s pension funds. He also served as lead researcher for the Ontario Expert Commission on Pensions.

In an interview with The Lawyer's Daily, he called the move "a once-in-a-lifetime chance," adding that it means "a greater role in developing the pension and benefits capacity" at Goldblatt.

Both firms work for unions and retirees, making it "a terrific fit" for all three lawyers. "It was a hard decision to leave but ultimately a good one," Archer said, noting it "was a friendly and amicable parting."

Godkewitsch, who was also called to the Ontario bar in 2002, helped to establish employee life and health trusts in Ontario’s education sector. She also represented more than 15,000 workers at Target Canada when it filed for creditor protection and wound down its operations in 2015.

Correction: This story has been updated from a previously published version. Susan Philpott is a former head of the pension and benefits group at Koskie Minsky.