Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
From left: Eric Moncik, LLB/MBA 1998, Jeffrey Lloyd, LLB 1989, Pam Huff, LLB 1985, and Jim Christie, LLB 1976

This donor profile is from the Fall/Winter 2011 issue of Nexus.

Blake, Cassels and Graydon LLP has a long and proud tradition of funding promising law students at schools across Canada. But the firm doesn’t often contribute to building campaigns. This one, says managing partner Robert Granatstein, is different. “It came down to the need. The current building is a long way past its useful life and there’s no question that can be a drag on a school’s ability to do what it needs to do.”

It didn’t hurt that the majority of lawyers at the international firm are graduates of the Faculty of Law, and that its biggest office is in Toronto, where Granatstein says the firm feels a genuine sense of responsibility to the institutions that share the city’s space. There’s also a broader mission, which involves promoting and protecting legal education across the country.

“Law firms ought to be concerned about the reputation of Canadian law schools and their graduates,” he says. “It’s in our interest that our students and our schools be highly regarded.”

Blakes recently relocated its own offices—moving up a few floors in the same Bay Street tower—and Granatstein says he’s seen what a positive effect that’s had on the firm’s employees and how they approach their work. He expects the same will happen at U of T, once the new building is a reality.

“I think it just changes the atmosphere,” he says. “There’s no question that it affects people’s outlook.”