Vancouver’s Hunter Litigation Chambers makes no bones about its agenda; this litigation-specific outfit has won commendations from peers and clients for its focus on disputes and its success with attending to them. The firm’s culture and approach has garnered as much praise as its work product; one client cheers the firm’s “excellent and timely legal advice” while noting that the firm is “very responsive to emerging issues, willing to take on the ‘strange and unusual’ and creative [in its] problem-solving.” Another client opines, “I’m glad to see that they work with and are training female juniors.” Peers observe that, “Hunter does a lot of unusual cases, such as ongoing work related to indigenous rights and title, forestry law compliance issues and government policy issues. They do a lot of things and do them all well.”
Senior partner (and former BC Supreme Court judge) Bill Smart is revered by all members of the Vancouver legal community. “Bill displayed his usual finesse in cross-examining people in a money-laundering matter,” confirms one peer. Another insists, “Bill is the titular head of the firm,” and one opines, “He commands the confidence of clients and is also good with grooming young lawyers.” It is also noted that “Bill Smart is actually attracting some straight criminal work! He’s got work concerning a women’s soccer coach and the Law Society on some disciplinary issues.” Another peer notes, “Bill and the Hunter team did a very good job on that Cullen Inquiry matter. They were very strategic.” This alluded-to Cullen Inquiry, a broad-reaching public inquiry on the part of the BC government, focused on allegations of money laundering in the province. The Hunter team acted on behalf of the British Columbia Lottery in this investigation. This would not be the only high-profile securities work the firm attended to over the past year. Randy Kaardal juggles a caseload of commercial and employment litigation, with the latter practice finding the firm in the somewhat rare position of representing employees. Kaardal successfully represented the Executive Director of the Securities Commission in a case referred to the Supreme Court by the Attorney General of BC in the sweeping Bridgemark Financial matter, which ensnared several entities and individuals alleged to have committed securities fraud. “Randy was involved in a file that gained some publicity,” offers a peer. “It was a force majeure frustration-of-contract case concerning a forestry mill. He was just successful in the BC Court of Appeal on this.” Kaardal also continues to represent the BC Lottery on a file in which a party claimed they were entitled to damages because they couldn’t get a casino built on the North Shore. The case was set for trial but ultimately settled.
Firm namesake Claire Hunter is also a frequent mention, with recognition and respect coming from peers within BC as well as beyond its borders, from Toronto and even Montréal. “Claire is very responsive and provides timely legal advice,” states a client. “She is a very clear communicator and is well respected by the courts. I always know I am in good hands [with her representation.]” A peer testifies, “Claire continues to be a force [and is] working super-hard. I’ve had a number of cases where she’s handled things in a way that were efficient, expertly done and very professional.” While Hunter’s caseload encompasses a broad spectrum of work, she is primarily engaged in a niche concerning Constitutional law cases at present. Hunter has a trial scheduled on a language-rights course by the Francophone School Board and is also spearheading a Constitutional challenge to solitary confinement in prisons. Hunter and Kaardal are also increasingly engaged in what has been described as “family-adjacent” matters involving high-net-worth individuals.