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CLEVELAND FIRM HELPS FOUND FIRST U.S - CANADIAN LEGAL NETWORK

 CLEVELAND FIRM HELPS FOUND FIRST U.S - CANADIAN LEGAL NETWORK
 CLEVELAND, June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cleveland-headquartered law firm of Walter, Haverfield, Buescher & Chockley has announced formation of the first U.S.- Canadian law-firm network, called "Great Lakes Law."
 Designed to provide one-stop shopping for legal services within the Great Lakes trading area, the multinational network begins operations on July 1 with more than 300 lawyers from four United States and three Canadian firms.
 Walter, Haverfield, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus, conceived the idea and helped recruit the other members, all of which are business law and litigation firms with between 40 and 75 attorneys.
 "As cross-border trade and business development increase, member firms will be able to provide high-quality legal services, information and advice throughout the industrial center of our two countries," said Michael McMenamin, managing partner of Walter, Haverfield.
 In addition to Walter, Haverfield, initial members include Wilson & McIlvaine (Chicago); Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith (Lansing and metropolitan Detroit); von Briesen & Purtell (Milwaukee); Nelligan- Power and the affiliated international patent law firm of Bell, Walter & Brousseau (Ottawa); and Shibley Righton (Toronto). Great Lakes Law expects to have at least one member firm from each of the Great Lakes states and provinces by the end of 1993, bringing the total number of professionals in the network to approximately 500.
 Through the network's Toronto member, Great Lakes Law also has access to worldwide legal services provided by the international legal network, "Multilaw," which has affiliates in Australia, Europe, the United Kingdom, South America and Asia.
 "Lawyers at Great Lakes Law member firms are well-attuned to legal developments in their state or province," McMenamin said. "In addition, each firm has particular legal strengths that are available to all members of the network. This combination of on-site assistance and in-depth legal knowledge will pay important dividends for clients of member firms."
 For example, local member Walter, Haverfield could assist a Canadian or overseas manufacturer that is establishing a new plant in Ohio to secure a local line of credit, re-zone the tract of land, negotiate a real estate contract, learn state and federal employment law, deal with local government and obtain work permits for key foreign nationals.
 "Clients who are served within the network have an alternative to the so-called mega-firms with their mega-fees," McMenamin added. "By affiliating rather than merging, each member retains the unique character, client-focused service and affordable prices of a mid-sized firm."
 The network, which has taken over two years to organize, was conceived by Walter, Haverfield's McMenamin, senior partner and Columbus office head James E. Betts, and marketing director George Snider. Betts said Great Lakes Law members have been carefully screened to make sure they are complementary in terms of legal practice, attorney depth and skills, professional standards and commitment to attentive client service. He emphasized that while clients have access to the services of any member firm, all firms remain free to refer business outside the network when this would benefit the client.
 In addition to providing a source of legal services in the U.S. and Canada, Great Lakes Law provides members a forum for the exchange of practice management ideas. Also, each of the firms has staff members like Snider who will work together to develop joint seminars and communications programs for clients. Further, network members have agreed to promote a process of continuous quality improvement within their firms.
 There are a number of other legal networks in existence, many of which are designed to link firms with particular practice specialties -- such as personal injury law, collections work or intellectual property counsel for high-technology companies. Several others consist primarily of large American or foreign firms. In addition to limiting its membership to mid-sized firms, Great Lakes Law is the first U.S.-Canadian legal network.
 -0- 6/29/92
 /CONTACT: George Snider of Walter, Haverfield, Buescher & Chockley, 216-781-1212, for Great Lakes Law/ CO: Walter, Haverfield, Buescher & Chockley ST: Ohio IN: SU:


KK -- CL002 -- 4523 06/29/92 08:58 EDT
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Date:Jun 29, 1992
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