Tribute to Jacques Tétrault, Q.C., founding partner of McCarthy Tétrault
November 15, 2017
Montréal, November 15, 2017 — We deeply regret to announce the passing of Jacques Tétrault, founding partner of our firm, on November 11 in Montréal at the age of 89.
Jacques Tétrault was critical in the historic transformation that the law profession has undergone since the late 60s. Forerunner of a modern era, Mr. Tétrault was one of the people who challenged the rules of compensation based on length of service and campaigned to hire lawyers from varying cultural and religious backgrounds. As counsel and mentor to staff and firm members in Québec and beyond, he was a fair and principled leader who was among the first to champion the rights of women partners and promote diversity and work-life balance.
“McCarthy Tétrault was founded by pioneers, who were not afraid to innovate as they constantly adapted to new conditions,” says Dave Leonard, Chief Executive Officer of McCarthy Tétrault. “At the end of the 80s, when Canadian law still did not allow for the existence of true national firms, Jacques Tétrault knew that for the firm to thrive and reach its full potential, it would have to become a Canada-wide organization. His dream for McCarthy Tétrault became the standard, the precedent that everyone else followed.”
“Jacques Tétrault was one of the master builders of our firm, first in Québec with the merger of Montréal firm Clarkson Tétrault and Québec City firm Drouin et associés in 1985,” says Karl Tabbakh, McCarthy Tétrault Regional Managing Partner for Québec. “Then, he was one of the architects of the merger between Clarkson Tétrault and McCarthy & McCarthy, of which the numerous stages required the approval of the Supreme Court of Canada. In 1990, this historic merger gave birth to the first major Canadian law firm, McCarthy Tétrault.”
An astute visionary with common sense and a keen sense of humor, Mr. Tétrault was an exemplary managing partner, considered by his peers to be the moral compass of the firm. “Mr. Tétrault was an admirable lawyer,” says Gérald Tremblay, counsel and former Chair of the firm, and President of the Québec Bar from 2008 to 2009. “He always impressed me with his strong sense of equity and justice. I once saw him send a draft contract back to a young lawyer, saying that the contract was too favourable for our client and lacked balance. He believed that contractual relationships had to be fair and protect both parties. When it came to managing the firm, he always prioritized integrity, ethics, and holding lawyers to the highest professional standards.”
After brilliantly completing his law studies at McGill University, Jacques Tétrault was called to the Québec Bar in 1953. A high-calibre lawyer with a sixth sense for developing precise, effective and powerful arguments, Mr. Tétrault focused his practice on commercial law, securities and tax law, which he also taught at McGill. His mastery of the law, combined with his impressive interpretation skills, made him a formidable lawyer with an enviable reputation across the country.
We have lost one of the greatest contributors to our firm’s success, both from a professional and human point of view. McCarthy Tétrault’s culture of excellence is a testimony to the remarkable man who Jacques Tétrault was.
We wish to extend our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to Mrs. Hope Tétrault, Jacques Tétrault’s wife, and to their children, Lucie Tétrault, Ian Ogilvie and Annie Belecki, and their eight grandchildren.
About McCarthy Tétrault
McCarthy Tétrault LLP provides a broad range of legal services, advising on large and complex assignments for Canadian and international interests. The firm has substantial presence in Canada’s major commercial centres as well as in New York City and London, UK.
Built on an integrated approach to the practice of law and delivery of innovative client services, the firm brings its legal talent, industry insight and practice experience to help clients achieve the results that are important to them.
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Canada’s leading business law and litigation firm since 1855
Canada's first 'national' law firm — a significant development in the legal industry requiring approval from the Supreme Court of Canada
We deliver integrated legal solutions nationally and globally through our business law, tax, real property, labour and employment, and litigation expertise
Approximately 500 lawyers in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montréal and Québec City, as well as in New York City and London, UK
Canada’s top litigation firm for more than 150 years
One of the top Canadian financial services practices by leading national and international legal directories
One of the nation’s top-ranked tax law practices by leading tax directories
Rated the top real estate law firm in Canada by leading national and international legal directories