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Chambers Canada Awards 2021 and Guide Launch 2022

About the awards

The awards are based on the research for the 2022 edition of Chambers Canada. These awards reflect a law firm’s pre-eminence in key practice areas. They also reflect notable achievements over the past 12 months including outstanding work, impressive strategic growth and excellence in client service.

Event Details:
Event date
Thursday, 9 September 2021
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Coordinated Universal Time
Event location
Online
Joanna Lane, Editor – Canada, Africa, Caribbean, the Middle East and Offshore - Chambers and Partners
Joanna joined Chambers in 2010 as a researcher on the Global team, before being promoted to Deputy Editor. She took on the role of Editor of the Canada guide in its inaugural year in 2014, and was appointed editor of Chambers Global (ROW) in 2019. Prior to moving to London she worked at a nightlife magazine in Singapore, and taught English in Taiwan. Joanna grew up in Canada, and graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa with a degree in International Development. She also completed her Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at the London School of Journalism.
Ed Draper, Assistant Editor - Canada and Global (ROW) - Chambers and Partners
Ed joined Chambers in 2018 as a researcher on the Canada team. Since joining, he has contributed to the development of the Canada, Global and US guides, before being promoted to assistant editor in January 2021. Ed studied history at Royal Holloway, University of London, graduating in 2016, and had a brief stint in financial services before joining Chambers.
Laurence Mussett, Assistant Editor Canada and Global (ROW) - Chambers and Partners
Laurence graduated from the University of Warwick in 2016 with a BA in History, followed by an MA in Modern History in 2017. He joined Chambers in January 2018 as part of the client team before moving to the Global team as a senior researcher.
Evgenia Alexiou, Senior Research Analyst - Canada and Global (ROW) - Chambers and Partners
Evgenia joined Chambers in 2019 as a researcher on the Canada and wider Global team.Prior to joining Chambers, Evgenia lived and worked in Greece. She has significant experience in customer service and has worked as a student support worker, assisting students in a number of universities across London. Evgenia graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2019 with a BSc in Psychology with Forensic Psychology.
Dan Muir, Research Analyst - Canada and Global (ROW) - Chambers and Partners
Daniel graduated with distinction from Loughborough University with an MSc in International Financial and Political Relations. Specialising in energy sector research and geopolitics, his experiences prior to joining Chambers in 2019 have included market and data research positions across the UK, China and the Netherlands.

Canada Awards 2021 shortlists and winners:

Lifetime Achievement Award: 

Brian Burkett, Fasken 

Brian Burkett is a hugely distinguished member of the Canadian labour and employment law Bar, with a long-standing reputation as a “world-class” lawyer in this field. Based in the Toronto office of Fasken, a multi-disciplinary law firm with offices across the country and internationally, he operates a wide practice which includes both provincial and federal employment work and an increasing focus on human rights, environmental and social governance issues (ESG) and sustainability both in Canada and globally. 

Burkett is the director of the Canadian Employers Council, CEC, an organisation which represents the interests of Canadian employers within the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and International Labour Organization in relation to global developments in workplace law. Through his work with the CEC, he is also involved in the Global Coordinating Group of Alliance 8.7, a global partnership aimed at advancing Sustainable Development Goal 8, “decent work and economic growth,” one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which were established by the United Nations in 2015. SDG 8.7 calls for the end of child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in the global supply chain. 

He has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada on multiple occasions in cases brought under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in a labour context. 

Interviewees enthuse: “He is one of the sharpest knives in the drawer in terms of human rights – he is listened to.” 

Outstanding Contribution Award: 

Sheila MacPherson, Lawson Lundell 

Sheila MacPherson is the administrative partner of the Yellowknife office of Lawson Lundell, a regional law firm with locations across Western and Northern Canada. She has been the only lawyer ranked in Band 1 of the General Business Law section for Northern Canada and the Arctic since the table’s inception in Chambers Canada in 2017 and is widely acclaimed for her contributions to the practice of law and the legal profession in the Canadian north. 

Admitted to the Bar in both the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, MacPherson is recognised for her role in providing legal advice to both territorial governments as well as her role as long-term Law Clerk to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. She operates an active constitutional law and litigation practice that includes experience of child protection matters, including in relation to issues of Indigenous custom adoption. 

In 2017, she was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to an advisory committee chaired by former Prime Minister Kim Campbell to review candidates as part of the Supreme Court of Canada appointments process. She is also a founding member of the governing council of the McLachlin Fund,  which was established in 2019 to honour former Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin’s commitment to access to justice in Canada. 

MacPherson is widely viewed as one of the top parliamentary lawyers in Canada and our sources say that â€œher technical knowledge is unparalleled.”  

Law Firm Leaders Awards: 

Dominique Hussey, Bennett Jones 

Dominique Hussey was appointed Toronto managing partner and vice chair of leading law firm Bennett Jones in May 2020, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In addition to her managerial responsibilities, Hussey operates an active IP litigation practice and is extremely well respected and well-liked by both her clients and her peers. She is the head of the IP litigation practice at the firm and the co-head of its innovation, technology and branding practice group. This unique combination is variously highlighted by market sources, who praise her leadership skills and also describe her as a â€œfun and wonderful person.”  

Her recent litigation work includes acting for Amgen and Amgen Canada in a precedent-setting patent validity trial under the new Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations. Notably, she also acts as Canadian trademark and branding counsel to the Canopy Growth family of companies. 

Hussey is the first black, female managing partner of a Bay Street law firm. Under her leadership, the firm became a signatory of the BlackNorth Initiative Law Firm Pledge in July 2020, committing to certain actions and targets aimed to combat systemic racism and create opportunities for Black Canadians. She was appointed to the board of directors of the BlackNorth Initiative in early 2021. 

Arbitration Chambers of the Year  

Arbitration Place  
Bay Street Chambers  
Vancouver Arbitration Chambers  

Winner: Arbitration Place 

Arbitration Place is one of Canada’s largest arbitration facilities hosting both domestic and international arbitrations. Its resident arbitrators include internationally renowned practitioners and prolific retired judges, including The Honourable Ian Binnie, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Honourable Warren Winkler, former Chief Justice of Ontario and President of the Court of Appeal, and Yves Fortier, past President of the London Court of International Arbitration and former Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations. 

Its roster also includes a group of younger arbitrators from across Canada, including Myriam Seers, who recently joined international dispute resolution boutique Savoie Laporte.  

With offices in both Toronto and Ottawa, Arbitration Place hosts both physical and virtual proceedings.  

One source said: â€œAs a group, it is a pretty formidable place.” 

Boutique Law Firm of the Year  

Brown Mills Klinck Prezioso LLP  
Cassidy Levy Kent LLP  
LaBarge Weinstein LLP  
Sotos LLP  
Wildeboer Dellelce LLP 

Winner: Sotos LLP 

Sotos LLP is a prominent Toronto-based franchising law firm that represents major clients across various sectors, including car manufacturers and dealerships, restaurants, and retail chains. It is unique in its representation of both franchisors and franchisees. 

The firm also wins recognition for its class actions practice. Notably, it is currently acting on a case seeking compensation for systemic discrimination against certain First Nations children by the federal government of Canada. Other recent work includes representing the plaintiffs in an action brought by former Bank of Montreal and CIBC customers relating to a major cybersecurity data breach. 

One client recalled: â€œTheir ability to understand and produce documentation was impressive. They blew my socks off.” Another added: â€œThe amount of work and research they did was extraordinary. We couldn’t have asked for better representation.” 

Their peers call them â€œpassionate” and say: â€œThey have done a lot of meaningful work and have had some significant successes.” 

Construction Law Firm of the Year  

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP  
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP  
Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP  

Winner: Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP 

Singleton Urquhart has become a ubiquitous part of the construction law landscape in Canada. Founded in Vancouver in 1982, the firm originally focused on the representation of architects and engineers in construction litigation. It has grown over the years and now operates a vibrant and broadly acclaimed practice with wide and unique experience across all areas of construction and infrastructure law.  

Their lawyers are variously referred to as â€œindustry leaders” in construction law. Notably, partners Bruce Reynolds and Sharon Vogel were commissioned to advise the Ministry of the Attorney General on a review of the Ontario Construction Lien Act and following this have been mandated by Public Services and Procurement Canada to assist in a similar review aimed at introducing new construction legislation at a federal level.   

Clients enthuse: â€œThe firm is head and shoulders above its competitors,” going on to praise its â€œexceptional service, due in large part to the friendly, easy-going and uncomplicated manner in which they approach their work. They are like a family and make you feel like you are a part of it.” 

The firm opened a Toronto office in 2018. 

Corporate Law Firm of the Year  

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP  
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP  
Stikeman Elliott LLP  

Winner: Stikeman Elliott LLP 

Stikeman Elliott LLP is a pre-eminent national law firm with considerable strength in M&A, securities and corporate finance mandates. It houses a deep bench of attorneys that regularly advise on high-value and complex transactions. The team is also experienced in advising on private equity as well as debt and equity capital markets and demonstrates strong capabilities in both domestic and international transactions. 

The team’s recent work includes representing TC Energy in its CAD2.8 billion sale of three Ontario natural gas-fired power plants to Ontario Power Generation. 

One market commentator reported: “They have a really deep talent pool; even at associate level they have phenomenal practitioners. They have the service down to a fine art.” 

Corporate Lawyer of the Year  

Jonathan McCullough, Bennett Jones LLP  
Vincent Mercier, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP  
Patricia Olasker, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP  
Karrin Powys-Lybbe, Torys LLP  
Emmanuel Pressman, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP  

Winner: Vincent Mercier, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP 

Vincent Mercier of Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP is one of the best M&A lawyers in Canada. He has been recognised as a star individual in the Corporate/Commercial: Ontario table and is the first lawyer ever to have achieved this coveted position since the launch of the first Chambers Canada guide in 2015. 

He is regularly at the forefront of his firm’s most important deals, and recently acted for Premium Brands on its partnership with a group of Mi’kmaq First Nations in Nova Scotia for the CAD1 billion acquisition of Clearwater Seafoods, Canada’s largest wild seafood company. He is a former member of Davies’ management committee. 

Employment Law Firm of the Year  

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP  
Fasken  
Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP  
McCarthy Tétrault LLP  
Stikeman Elliott LLP  

Winner: Fasken 

Fasken is a third-time recipient of the Chambers Canada Employment Law Firm of the Year award. The firm operates top-ranked labour, employment and human rights teams across Ontario, Québec, Alberta and BC and stands out for the federal component of its practice – it is frequently singled out as a firm of choice as counsel to prominent national employers. This year’s work, unsurprisingly, included advising such clients on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The firm is viewed by Chambers as acting at the cutting edge across the entire field of employment and labour. Notably, in 2020 a Fasken team led by department vice-chair Erin Porter was retained by the Canadian Olympic Committee and more than 60 National Sport Organizations across Canada. As part of its mandate, the lawyers provide support to Team Canada and these NSOs in navigating the employment aspects of COVID. 

Fasken also regularly acts for employers before the Supreme Court of Canada and other appellate courts, as well as advising on the employment aspects of M&A deals. 

Its notable clients include Canada Post, Air Canada and Rogers. The firm also represents a number of leading clients in the healthcare sector, including long-term care homes and retirement residences. 

Employment Lawyer of the Year  

Richard Charney, Norton Rose Fulbright  
Stephane Fillion, Fasken  
James Knight, Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP  
Craig Neuman, Neuman Thompson  
Thomas Roper, Roper Greyell LLP  

Winner: Richard Charney, Norton Rose Fulbright 

Richard Charney is a senior partner in the Toronto office of Norton Rose Fulbright, from where he enjoys a reputation as a standout name in the Canadian labour relations and employment arena. He operates a robust and well-recognised practice that encompasses expertise in collective bargaining, human rights and workplace health and safety and he is a regular feature before both provincial and federal labour relations boards and the courts. He also increasingly advises employers on the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on workplace issues including in relation to the challenges of both returning to work and remote working. 

His diverse client roster features government entities and public utility companies, banks and arts and cultural organisations, as well as major corporates. 

Charney served as the firm’s most recent global head of employment for more than a decade before stepping down in May 2021.  

One client enthused: "Richard Charney is one of the best if not the best employment lawyer I have ever worked with.” 

Healthcare Law Firm of the Year  

Bennett Jones LLP  
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP  
Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP  
Harper Grey  
McCarthy Tétrault LLP  

Winner: Borden Ladner Gervais LLP 

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP is recognised for its unparalleled services dedicated to the healthcare sector. With deep roots in the Canadian healthcare system, BLG has leveraged its vast reserves of legal expertise, providing a full-service offering to healthcare clients in the form of its Health Law and Health Sector departments. BLG is particularly renowned for its representation of institutions and hospitals in both lawsuits and disciplinary proceedings.  

Alongside the firm’s premier healthcare litigation practice, clients can be assured of significant sector-focused experience covering governance, construction, real estate, privacy, IT and procurement, among other areas of expertise. 

One client commented: â€œThey have a very strong team that is easy to work with, can meet tight deadlines and engenders a strong sense of working as partners and colleagues. They have made some of the most challenging cases learning experiences for us.” 

Insurance Law Firm of the Year  

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP  
Clyde & Co  
Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP  
McCarthy Tétrault LLP  
Torys LLP  

Winner: Clyde & Co 

Clyde & Co is an international law firm whose reputation within the insurance defence industry is largely without equal. Its Canadian insurance practice is run out of offices in Toronto and Montréal, from where its lawyers advise on some of the largest insurance defence and coverage cases in Canada. The team is frequently involved in multi-party disputes involving foreign jurisdictions and global insurers, and clients benefit from access to the firm’s resources worldwide. 

Litigation/Dispute Resolution Law Firm of the Year   

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP  
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP  
Lenczner Slaght LLP  
McCarthy Tétrault LLP  
Torys LLP  

Winner: Lenczner Slaght LLP 

Lenczner Slaght LLP is a household name in Canadian litigation, with a strong bench of seasoned practitioners combined with a glut of dynamic younger partners and associates. From its Ontario base, the firm is frequently brought in to represent a vast array of clients in a range of contexts; from corporates facing class proceedings, insurance lawsuits and insolvency litigation to individual physicians and executives in negligence and liability claims, Lenczner Slaght’s expertise cuts across the full gamut of dispute resolution. 

The firm’s significant bench of attorneys also includes experts in administrative law, arbitration and ADR and intellectual property, among other areas. Notable lawyers within the firm’s ranks that have particularly impressed this year include Tom Curry, Sana Halwani, Rebecca Jones and Shara Roy. 

Litigation Lawyer of the Year  

Pierre Bienvenu, Norton Rose Fulbright  
Tom Curry, Lenczner Slaght  
Jonathan Lisus, Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP  
Linda Plumpton, Torys LLP  
Kent Thomson, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP  

Winner: Linda Plumpton, Torys LLP 

Linda Plumpton is the chair of Torys’ litigation and dispute resolution practice group and represents clients across a plethora of commercial contexts, covering both class and single plaintiff proceedings.  

Her outstanding practice drew considerable praise this year, with sources using phrases like â€œone of the best in the country” and â€œunparalleled competition law expertise” when referring to her. Touted as a rising star for many years, she frequently acts for a myriad of industry leaders, including those in financial services, energy, aviation and telecommunications. 

She also now holds the distinction of being recognised by Chambers as a Band 1 lawyer in three separate practice areas: Dispute Resolution: Class Action (Defence); Competition/Antitrust: Litigators; Ontario: Litigation: General Commercial. 

Projects & Energy Law Firm of the Year  

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP  
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP  
McCarthy Tétrault LLP  
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP  
Torys LLP  

Winner: McCarthy Tétrault LLP 

McCarthy Tétrault is a full-service law firm with a very deep-seated presence across both the projects and energy spaces in Canada. Its infrastructure and power practices are consistently top-ranked by Chambers, with its teams in these areas supported and complemented by notable expertise in areas such as Aboriginal and environmental law.  

This year, the firm had a particularly strong year in mining, with a young, dynamic, and growing bench of lawyers who are often at the forefront of streaming deals and mining M&A transactions globally. 

The team is unique in its representation of some of the world’s largest mining companies, including Rio Tinto, Vale, and Glencore, to name but a few. 

Projects & Energy Lawyer of the Year  

Chris Bennett, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP  
Derek Flaman, Torys LLP  
Krista Hill, Torys LLP  
Rocco Sebastiano, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP  
Shea Small, McCarthy Tétrault LLP  

Winner: Chris Bennett, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP 

Chris Bennett is the chair of the national banking and financial services practice group at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, and heads the firm’s project finance team in Toronto. He is also, unquestionably, one of the best-known names in Canada in the projects space.  

Although perhaps best known for his project and infrastructure financing work, our sources describe his skill set across the wider projects discipline as â€œunparalleled.” 

He has closed more than 50 P3 transactions over the course of his career to date. 

Real Estate Law Firm of the Year  

Bennett Jones LLP  
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP  
Goodmans LLP  
McCarthy Tétrault LLP  
Stikeman Elliott LLP  

Winner: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP 

Blake, Cassels & Graydon is a prominent national law firm with a top-rated real estate department advising on matters across Canada. Its influence in this sector can be felt across asset classes, including industrial property, logistics and transport, and it is notably at the forefront of work relating to data centre investments.  

The team’s recent work includes advising California-based Equinix on its CAD1.04 billion acquisition of 25 data centre facilities across Canada from BCE. Blakes also advised Canadian Pacific Railway on its acquisition of the full ownership of the Detroit River Tunnel Partnership from OMERS. 

Clients say: "The Blakes team always benefits from very strong bench strength. Their associates are always excellent to work with and involve the partners at crucial points during the process." 

Real Estate Lawyer of the Year  

John Currie, McCarthy Tétrault LLP  
Chris Huband, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP  
Juli Morrow, Goodmans LLP  
Marc Rubin, De Grandpré Chait  
Wayne Whitlock, Bennett Jones LLP  

Winner: Marc Rubin, De Grandpré Chait 

Marc Rubin is one of the most prolific lawyers in the Montréal real estate market and has been ranked by Chambers as a star individual in the Real Estate section for Québec since 2018. He receives superlative feedback from clients and is extremely well respected by his peers as well as major stakeholders in the property industry in Canada.  

He is praised for his incredible book of business and is variously described as â€œthe most active real estate lawyer in the city.” Clients say: â€œMarc is the most recognised and respected real estate lawyer in Montréal and has been involved in multiple billion-dollar transactions and more than 500 deals in the province. His problem-solving and hands-on approach makes extremely difficult transactions go smoothly,” adding: â€œHis ability to talk through and explain complex legal jargon coupled with an innate sense of client care creates an extraordinary relationship of trust.” 

Regional Law Firm of the Year  

BCF LLP  
Langlois lawyers  
Lawson Lundell LLP  
MLT Aikins LLP  
Torkin Manes LLP 

Winner: Lawson Lundell 

Lawson Lundell is a renowned full-service Western Canadian law firm with notable reputation in the corporate and Aboriginal law spheres. The team is also supported by a host of strong complementary practice groups, such as labour and employment, litigation, real estate and energy. 

It is sought out by clients for a range of transactions, including cross-border deals. The firm is particularly unique in its representation of large energy and mining clients in connection with their operations across Canada’s North. The firm can also often be seen acting for government entities and Crown corporations in relation to First Nations consultation. It has also advised Canadian Pacific Railway on Indigenous law matters for more than 30 years. 

The firm’s recent transactional highlights include advising SSR Mining on its USD5 billion at-market merger of equals with Alacer Gold, pursuant to a plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act. 

Its clients benefit from the firm's offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Yellowknife and Kelowna. 

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RainMaker Group
Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP
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Thursday, 9 Sep 2021 • 06:00 pm UTC
Chambers Canada Awards 2021 and Guide Launch 2022