Request for Proposals for Legal Services for the Sovereign Wealth Entities

October 3, 2018 2:33 pm
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(Toronto, October 3, 2018) This request for proposals (RFP) is to contract for legal services to be provided to the First Nation Sovereign Wealth Entities for the period October 27, 2018 to December 31, 2019.

Who May Respond: Only law firms or lawyers who are currently licensees of the Law Society of Ontario may respond to this RFP.

Instructions on Proposal Submission

Closing Submission Date: Proposals must be submitted no later than 4:00 PM on Friday October 12, 2018.

  1. Inquiries: Inquiries concerning this RFP should be directed to:

Barret Dokis, Director of Economic & Community Sustainable Development

Chiefs of Ontario Administration Office

468 Queen Street East, Suite 400, Toronto, Ontario  M5A 1T7

Toll-Free 1-877-517-6527 Tel: (416) 597-1266

barret.dokis@coo.org

  1. Conditions of this Proposal: All costs incurred in the preparation of a proposal responding to this RFP will be the responsibility of the submitter and will not be reimbursed by the Chiefs of Ontario (hereinafter referred to as COO).
  2. Instructions to Prospective Contractors: Your proposal should be addressed as follows:

Barret Dokis

Director of Economic & Community Sustainable Development

Chiefs of Ontario Administration Office

468 Queen Street East, Suite 400, Toronto, Ontario  M5A 1T7

It is important that the submitter’s proposal be submitted in a sealed envelope clearly marked in the lower-left hand corner with the following information:

SEALED PROPOSAL FOR LEGAL SERVICES FOR THE SOVEREIGN WEALTH ENTITIES

Failure to do so may result in premature disclosure of your proposal.  It is the responsibility of the submitter to insure the proposal is received by the Chiefs of Ontario, by the date and time specified above.  Late proposals will not be considered.

  1. Right to Reject: COO reserves the right to reject any and all proposals in response to this RFP. A contract for the successful proposal will be drafted based upon the factors described in this RFP.
  2. Small and/or Minority-Owned Businesses: Efforts will be made by COO to utilize small businesses, women and/or minority owned businesses so long as the factors and expectations described in this RFP are met.
  3. Notification of Award: It is expected that a decision selecting the successful Firm will be made within (1) week of the closing date for the receipt of proposals. Upon conclusion of the selection process, only the successful submitter will be notified.

Description of Entity: COO is a political forum and secretariat for collective decision-making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nations communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario. Guided by the Chiefs in Assembly, we uphold self-determination efforts of the Anishinaabek, Mushkegowuk, Onkwehonwe, and Lenape Peoples in protecting and exercising their inherent and Treaty rights. Keeping in mind the wisdom of our Elders, and the future for our youth, we continue to create the path forward in building our Nations as strong, healthy Peoples respectful of ourselves, each other, and all creation.

First Nations in Ontario have recently negotiated and finalized the purchase of 14,391,012 shares of Hydro One Limited (H:CA).  This purchase was facilitated through a limited partnership titled, Ontario First Nations Sovereign Wealth LP.  In total there are 129 shareholders. Governance is managed through the appointed board of directors.  The collective of all related holdings and wealth funds are referred to as the “Sovereign Wealth Entities.”  The financial management and logistical support of the Sovereign Wealth Entities is the responsibility of COO.  The Sovereign Wealth Entities are seeking legal services to support the establishment of corporate governance and ongoing legal advisory services.   These services are to support the Sovereign Wealth Entities and this RFP does not include legal services required for regular operations of COO.

Scope of Services: The submitter shall be readily available to perform the following legal services, as requested by COO and/or the Board of Directors:

  1. Coordinate the transition of corporate governance from an existing interim board of directors to the identified permanent board of directors;
  2. Provide support services as necessary and identified leading to the hosting of an Annual General Meeting of shareholders to be held in late November 2018;
  3. Review, draft, and negotiate contracts and leases (including a management agreement between the Sovereign Wealth Entities and the Chiefs of Ontario – deadline of December 2018);
  4. Advise on corporate and tax-exempt organization legal issues;
  5. Advise on governance and other related issues;
  6. Review financial and other related policies, as well as corporate by-laws;
  7. Attend Board of Directors and Committee meetings as necessary;
  8. Advise on relevant government relations issues; including related loan documentation (a credit facility was established with the Ontario Finance Authority for the purchase of the shares);
  9. Advise on responses to subpoenas, court orders, and requests for information from third parties;
  10. Defend lawsuits, administrative claims, or other legal claims;
  11. Conduct litigation as necessary, and
  12. Other legal services as needed and identified.

Although it is preferable for a lawyer or firm to submit a proposal covering all of the above areas, COO will consider proposals for subsets of these areas.

The submitter shall be prepared to submit detailed billing statements for all services billed at an hourly rate, if any, broken down into time increments of no more than a quarter hour.  Submitter shall also include summaries of work performed and time spent on services for any invoicing provided to the Sovereign Wealth Entities.

Proposal Contents: The submitter, in its proposal, shall, as a minimum include the following:

  1. Legal Experience: The submitter should describe its legal experience, including the names, addresses, contact persons, and telephone numbers of at least three references/endorsements, preferably including references/endorsements engaged in work/services similar to the Sovereign Wealth Entities. Experience should include the following categories:
    1. Experience advising similar organizations and wealth fund entities.
    2. Experience advising boards of directors and supporting the establishment of governance structures for similar entities.
    3. Experience advising First Nation communities and/or First Nation investment fund holders.
  2. Organization, Size, Structure, and Areas of Practice: If the submitter is a firm, it should describe its organization, size, structure, areas of practice, and office location(s). Indicate, if appropriate, if the firm is a small or minority/owned business.  Also include copy of Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy, if the firm has one.
  3. Qualifications: The submitter should have experience in the noted areas listed above under “Legal Experience.” The submitter should describe the qualifications of lawyers to be assigned representation.  Descriptions should include:
    1. Professional and education background of each lawyer.
    2. Overall supervision to be exercised.
    3. Prior experience of the individual lawyers with respect to the required experience listed above. Only include resumes of lawyers likely to be assigned to the representation.  Education, position in firm, years and types of experience, and continuing professional education will be considered.
  4. Price: The submitter’s proposed price should include information on the hourly billing rates of each lawyer or other legal staff who is expected to work on this representation and charges for disbursements, if any, such as legal research, copies, and faxes. Also include a monthly flat fee that would be charged to advise on routine matters that could be handled over the telephone or otherwise without extensive research or other legal work. COO reserves the right to negotiate with the submitter on the structure of the billing and/or retainer fee.

Proposal Evaluation

  1. Submission of proposals: All proposals shall include an original and 3 copies.
  2. Evaluation Procedure and Criteria: Appropriate COO staff, in cooperation with members of the Sovereign Wealth Entities’ Board of Directors, will review proposals and make recommendations to the Board of Directors for final approval. COO and/or the Board of Directors may request a meeting with some qualified submitters prior to final selection.  Proposals will be reviewed in accordance with the following criteria:
    1. Proposed approach to scope of work
    2. Level of experience of the individual(s) identified to complete necessary work
    3. The submitter’s experience with similar clients and legal matters
    4. Response from references
    5. Cost
    6. Interviews, if conducted.

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