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Richard Vachon, Managing Partner

Managing Partner Richard Vachon explains how Woods LLP is adapting to clients’ changing needs

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Woods LLP from you competitors?

Woods LLP is the foremost litigation, arbitration and insolvency boutique in Montreal and in the Province of Quebec, recognized nationally and internationally for its expertise. It is among the most recognized boutique litigation firms in Canada.

As the largest litigation boutique in Quebec (28 lawyers), Woods is capable of acting in the most complex litigation files, and it can put together important teams of skilled attorneys for any type of litigation, including large files that require urgent, injunctive proceedings. Woods is also the only boutique firm in Quebec with expertise in international arbitration.

Also, Woods has the advantage of having a single, unified focus: conflict resolution for its clients. All of the firm’s resources, lawyers and staff are geared towards litigation, which is advantageous in the case of large, complex disputes.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Cybersecurity, Data Protection and Privacy

Cybersecurity is an ever-growing industry and concern for all corporations. With data breaches on the rise across the world, this has and will continue to give rise to litigation of all types: class actions, commercial litigation, and complaints before the Privacy Commissioner, which can lead to administrative or even criminal prosecutions. Also, the enactment of new provisions to the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, as well as existing provincial-level statutes that may take precedence over the federal law, will certainly continue generate litigation in the coming years.

Class actions

Class actions have been a growing industry in Canada in general, but this has and will continue to grow even more so in Quebec, with national class actions often being authorized earlier due to the provisions of the province’s Civil Code of Procedure and the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court cases that have streamlined the authorization process. This growth may be spurred even further by the presence of case funders.

International Arbitration

The presence of Canadian lawyers in International Arbitration, especially those who are multilingual and who are trained in both Civil and Common Law, is on the rise. This will lead not only to more Canadian lawyers being named as arbitrators, but also to more representative work for Canadian firms.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

The firm has continued its growth, in the hopes of offering a broader range of litigation services to its clients. Through an expansion of its offices, the hiring of six lawyers in the past 15 months (four of which are women) and the welcoming of a new partner (Louis Seveno), the firm has continued its growth and ensured that it can continue to grow in the next several years.

This growth has resulted in the addition of excellent young lawyers who are experts in International Arbitration and Constitutional Law, all of which are areas of importance for our clients.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?


First, Skype, FaceTime and other videoconferencing services allow us to meet our foreign clients and have productive work sessions without having to travel. These services are also used more and more for depositions.

Second, advances in file sharing software allow us to quickly send and receive large quantities of documents from our clients, as well as opposing parties. This can allow for a much quicker turnaround on urgent matters, as well as reduced overall time on larger matters.

Third, advances in file organizing software allow team members, as well as clients, to view and comment thousands of important case documents. This work can be done remotely and at the same time by multiple people, which greatly increases efficiency.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

In litigation, especially where the client is a defendant, value often takes the form of maintaining value or avoiding (or lessening) a loss of value. Even where the client is a plaintiff, the amount claimed is meant to restore value that has been lost, not to add value. However, there are a number of occasions where we are able to actually increase the value of our clients’ business, such as where the file has a strategic importance.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

Clients definitely look for stability in their law firms. Building long-term relationships as trusted advisers is definitely a key component of our practice. This requires stability in terms of the attorneys acting for any given client and on any given file, but it also requires those attorneys to be able to give recommendations on ways in which a given client may improve its business practices (such as its policies regarding HR, governance) or reduce its odds of being the subject of litigation down the road.

In three years’ time, I see Woods as having continued its growth, all while having cemented its status as the foremost litigation boutique in Montreal and in Quebec. I see the firm as having an increased footprint on the national scale, as well as in International Arbitration, with numerous partners and associates being recognized as premiere litigators.

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