Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Litigation: General Commercial Department

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What the team is known for A leading team with an impressive capacity for handling large commercial disputes both at trial and before the appellate courts. Expertise encompasses securities litigation, shareholder disputes and insolvency, as well as class action defence and competition law. Demonstrates further proficiency handling industrial tort claims and disputes relating to the recovery of care costs and environmental damage. The team is commended for its litigation capabilities in sectors such as mining, lottery and gaming, automotive and telecommunications. Also highly experienced in co-ordinating multi-provincial litigation files.

Strengths One source commented: "The lawyers I have dealt with have been extremely knowledgeable, with a firm and thorough understanding of an extremely complicated series of transactions, and have provided me with excellent advice and guidance. They have proved themselves diligent in getting to the root of each issue and providing exemplary support."

Clients rely on the firm for the "team’s knowledge and capacity to deliver quality and reliable legal advisory services, even within tight timeframes."

Work highlights Represented the Liquor Control Board of Ontario in a CAD1.5 billion class action alleging that the client, Brewers Retail and its owners conspired to allocate markets and fix beer prices.

Notable practitioners

Andrea Burke operates a varied practice covering corporate and securities disputes, including both single-plaintiff and class action suits. Clients describe her as an "excellent litigator" and comment that "she has a calm disposition and utilises her experience in the profession in strategising and arriving at legal solutions."

Head of the Toronto litigation department Kent Thomson is one of the pre-eminent commercial litigators in the city. Sources endorse him as a "skilled trial lawyer" and "a strong advocate for clients." He handles high-profile cases covering everything from contractual and shareholder disputes to competition and IP suits, including class action claims.

Luis Sarabia demonstrates particular proficiency handling litigation and arbitration cases in the mining sector, in which field he represents both companies and shareholders. Sources praise him as a "very smart lawyer." His experience includes international arbitration mandates, to which he brings additional fluency in Spanish.

Sources praise Matthew Milne-Smith as "very tactical and strategic," noting: "He has great range in his ability." He is particularly praised for his negotiation skills, which add to his impressive commercial and broader civil disputes practice.

Sandra Forbes is a renowned litigator with notable strength in class actions. She is particularly well versed in disputes relating to competition law and investigations. Interviewees describe her as "phenomenally analytical," adding that "she gets to the core of the issue very quickly" and "understands nuances very well."