“I’m one of those people who knew all along they wanted to be a lawyer,” Nancy Hamzo said, smiling. “I went into high school saying, ‘I’m going to be a lawyer. That’s obviously what I’m going to be!'”
Nancy earned her law degree at the University of Ottawa, the city her family had made into their new home after immigrating from Lebanon when she was seven years old, leaving behind a homeland engulfed in a civil war. She didn’t really want to leave her new home after graduating.
“The only reason I moved to Toronto was for the Firm,” Nancy said.
While she was in law school, a partner from Baker McKenzie had visited her campus as the keynote speaker at an event and she was struck by the passion he expressed for both his practice and the Firm.
“Then when I came to interview, the office offered a more personal touch than others I interviewed at while also offering the benefits of this large network of people, globally,” she said.
In an effort to better leverage that global network, Nancy spent time in our Amsterdam office as an associate working on various transactions, then spent a few years practicing private M&A in Toronto before pursuing an opportunity to work on complex global reorganization projects in our Chicago office. Her experience in Chicago changed everything. It sparked her passion for her current practice and lit the road ahead.
“With the support of great mentors like Charles Magerman and Regine Corrado, I wanted to make the Toronto office a centre of excellence for reorganizations work because this work highlighted our strengths as a firm,” she said.
“We started talking to clients to understand their needs and how we can help them achieve their business objectives, not only in Canada but globally. On our projects, we often work closely with colleagues in many countries who are local experts in various areas of practice and we use our legal project management approach to make sure all stakeholders are doing what is needed to get the results that our clients expect.”
Nancy can assist clients in restructuring a company to do a deal, help them work through the corporate and regulatory aspects of the deal and then assist them in making sure they stay together in a happy marriage after the deal is complete.
“I consider myself the end-to-end lawyer,” she said. “I really love what I do because I get to know my clients’ businesses well and in many cases I feel like I am part of their organizations.”
Within her practice, Nancy says there’s been a pickup in M&A activity lately and she advises clients to use the acquisition due diligence to get to know the target and to plan out a successful integration at an early stage.
“I often advise clients to do the integration as soon as possible after closing a deal,” she said. “If you let things sit for a while, the web becomes more complicated and the integration process more expensive.”
Beyond her growing practice, Nancy is passionate about being a mentor, and more importantly a sponsor, for “the talented group of associates I work with everyday.”
She also co-chairs our Toronto office’s women’s networking initiative with Stephanie Vaccari, offering a supportive environment for women to meet and share ideas on their professional development.
Nancy started as a summer student at our Toronto office in 2006. She returned to article in 2007 and finally joined the Firm as an associate in 2008. Earlier this year, she was made partner. After a decade of building her practice, she says the culture of Baker McKenzie combined with our global network of local experts continues to provide a rare combination for her work.
“I would say that there isn’t another place where I can do exactly what I do here,” she said.