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Real estate boutique law firm Lando is joining Gowling WLG in Vancouver

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 2:41 PM | By Paula Kulig

Murray Braaten

Murray Braaten

Vancouver’s active real estate sector played a key role in a decision by Lando & Company LLP, a boutique law firm that was founded 85 years ago, to join global law firm Gowling WLG.

The move to Gowling WLG’s Vancouver office on Aug. 1 “definitely required careful thought, but we thought it made sense for us to move forward. We’re just so busy, and the real estate area is so active in British Columbia that we need more assistance and more support,” Murray Braaten, who joined Lando in 1982 and has been its managing partner for 30 years, said in an interview.

“We’ve been a small firm doing almost only real estate for probably the last 20 years or so. It’s, in my view, just getting harder and harder to do, with the size of transactions that you’re doing, in a small-firm format."

Six lawyers from Lando’s seven-member legal team are joining Gowling, including Braaten, Mark Ferbers, Paulina Kam, Kenneth Howe, Barbara Wohl and Richard Rabson. Braaten said he and Ferbers will be partners at Gowling WLG, Kam will be a senior associate, Howe and Wohl will be associates and Rabson will be associate counsel. The seventh member, Alexander Mackoff, is joining a smaller firm.

The Lando group has strong expertise in commercial and investment real estate, commercial lending, real estate development, strata property law and construction, and Braaten noted that in the real estate area, “we’re larger than [Gowling WLG] in Vancouver. So it was just a really good fit."

"This is truly an exciting period of growth for our Vancouver office and our Canadian real estate and real estate lending practice,” said Peter Lukasiewicz, CEO of Gowling WLG Canada, in a news release. “By welcoming the team from Lando, we’re expanding our capabilities and capacity to serve our clients in British Columbia and Alberta, across Canada, and around the world."

Braaten, who acts primarily for lending institutions and commercial and residential real estate developers, has extensive expertise in real estate and resort development, finance, restructuring and foreclosures. Ferbers partnered with Lando in 2004 and has broad expertise in real estate and general business law, including commercial leasing, finance, construction and development. He is also a seasoned litigator who specializes in real estate, and corporate and commercial litigation, with a focus on foreclosures and builders’ liens.

Gowling WLG approached Lando and discussions took place over a number of months, said Braaten. “I’ve been most impressed with all of the discussions we’ve had and the approach that Gowlings has taken to us joining them,” he said.

Going from a small, more personal, operation to a global firm won’t have much of an impact on the way the Lando team does business, added Braaten. “Gowlings has agreed that we will join them and operate under a much larger platform, of course, but in a boutique sort of way, as we have been.”