Heenan Blaikie was a leading brand among Canadian law firms, when it collapsed dramatically in February 2014. At one point it was one of the largest law firm in the country with international offices and its counsel represented a who’s who in the legal elite, including former Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chrétien.

Breakdown, chronicles the growth and evolution of Heenan Blaikie from its roots through to its expansion across the country under the leadership of Mr. Bacal and others in the firm. The story examines the underlying values that were at the core of a truly remarkable enterprise, the virtues of consistency in approach that keyed the development of the legal brand and the ensuing failures in leadership that led to its shocking and swift demise.

Mr. Bacal deftly intertwines the development of his career alongside that of the firm, providing a unique insider’s glimpse into the inner workings of a law firm, facing the ongoing challenges of survival and growth. Mr. Bacal also provides an unprecedented look into how to make the transition from student through to partner and leader, drawing on anecdotes which helped shape the development of his career and the firm’s path. Above all this is a book chronicling the lessons learned from the successes and failures in the development of leadership in an organization.

Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO, Air Canada
“An extraordinary business story whose lessons apply to all businesses, demonstrating the critical importance of culture and leadership skills in any organization.”
Robert Lantos, film producer
“… An entertaining read.”

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Ellis Jacob, President and CEO, Cineplex
“… Great flow and well put together. It all boils down to leadership… an awesome read…”
Drew Hasselback, legal post editor, National Post