On Bay Street, a law firm thrives using a Silicon Valley trick: no fees — The Globe and Mail

Chad Bayne

Oct 25, 2019

In a recent article in The Globe and Mail, Chad Bayne, a founder and Co-Chair of Osler’s Emerging and High Growth Companies Group (EHG), explains how making a “long-term bet” on early stage companies – that includes not charging fees in the beginning – has helped fuel the success of the firm’s practice. Chad, who was featured in the article by author Christine Dobby, says that he looked to Silicon Valley for a framework for working with startups and started the EHG practice on the premise of not charging clients in the initial stages, with a view of the long-term benefits in mind.  

“What we’ve tried to emulate here is essentially the best practices of the Valley, and build something that’s essentially a West Coast firm, but in an East Coast setting,” Chad tells The Globe and Mail.

Nearly 10 years later, Osler’s EHG Group has a strong national platform, with partner Mark Longo serving as Co-Chair in the firm’s Vancouver office. The group acts for close to 1,000 early, growth and late-stage ventures and investors across Canada, the United States and the world. The group has vibrant and ongoing relationships with the most prominent players in both Canada and the United States, including leading venture capital funds, growth equity funds, private equity funds, pension funds, major corporations, institutions and growing private companies. Some of Osler’s clients mentioned in the article include Wealthsimple, Hootsuite  and Layer 6. Osler is also proud to have advised on $1.9 billion in venture capital financings in 2018, representing 41% of the record total funding in Canada last year.

Osler’s EHG Group draws on the firm’s national platform, which includes working closely with its Venture Capital, Employment and Labour, Taxation and Litigation experts and more. Chad says all of this put together – including his engineering background – is part of what makes Osler’s platform so successful, and why many startup tech founders seek out his expertise.  

The original idea was to “go downstream to the early stage companies and bet long,” Chad tells The Globe and Mail. “It’s the lowest friction point at which to get hired as counsel. Of course, they have no money to pay you, but you have to make that long-term bet.”

If you subscribe to The Globe and Mail online, read author Christine Dobby’s article “On Bay Street, a law firm thrives using a Silicon Valley trick: no fees,” on October 25.