Dispute resolution

A venerated Montréal litigation boutique, IMK (formerly Irving Mitchell Kalichman) was initially a vehicle for its three senior name partners, one of whom is since deceased and the other who went to the bench. Doug Mitchell,considered “still one of the top pleaders in Montréal,”remains the firm’s talisman partner, responsible for cultivating a thriving team at the “next-generation” level while also remaining remarkably active himself. “Doug Mitchell is everywhere,” declares a peer. “He’s an arbitrator, he’s a litigator, and he’s constantly in demand for both. But he also has a relatively deep and talented team behind him.” The team got deeper this year when the firm added international arbitration authority Pierre Bienvenu to its bench from Norton Rose Fulbright. “That’s a good get,” speculates a peer. “IMK used to work more against Pierre and now they have him. This is a great practice for younger lawyers to get into, and there’s no better mentor than Pierre.” Despite this increased strength at the senior level, peers assert, “A lot of the real horsepower at IMK now is at the younger level.” The firm is also noted for the freedom and diversity of both its bench and the work its lawyers cultivate. “They do plaintiff and defense work, and they do class-action work too. The plaintiff work they do is mostly public interest work. They did a trial on the rights of trans-gender and non-binary people, and they also have a case against Facebook! It deals with algorithmic discrimination.” Another peer notes, “They have a lot of talented and very respected lawyers and a lot of juicy litigation on the go. I like their approach.” In another example of the firm’s versatility and willingness to take on files of a more novel nature, Mitchell was appointed amicus curiae by the Supreme Court of Canada in a recent case involving alleged genetic discrimination. It is also noted that “IMK is moving away from being strictly conflict-referral work – they still get this work and have great relationships with the big firms, but they’re moving to having some of the work coming directly to them.”
     Audrey Boctor, who began her career at Cleary Gottlieb in New York and joined IMK in 2010, is a generalist, who is engaged in a lot of enforcement of arbitration awards, corporate commercial work, appellate work and a niche in public law. “Audrey is the queen of the public law cases,” states a local peer, “and she wins 99% of them!” Another raves, “Audrey just has this demeanor that is great,” extols a peer. “You want to work with her, and she gets involved in some very cutting-edge files.” Among other matters that exemplify this testimonial, Boctor led the Canadian Vaping Association in a successful challenge to the constitutionality of provisions governing the testing and promotion of vaping in Québec. A peer raves on Boctor’s behalf, “Audrey is getting a lot of calls for Supreme Court of Canada work! She’s also getting a lot of calls from law firms when they are in trouble, and these are some of the most respected litigation firms in Montréal and Toronto!” Boctor also conducted a one-month trial in May 2022 against the Government of Canada, representing a Canadian citizen who escaped prison in Mexico and landed in Québéc. Mexico sought his extradition to serve out the rest of his sentence. The extradition was approved, and it was allowed by the Canadian government under the conditions that he would not be tortured, conditions that were allegedly not met. Jean-Michel Boudreau is primarily a class action practitioner, largely in the defense capacity except in the instances of a human rights element being concerned. Boudreau is another peer favorite, with one going so far as to address him as “the super litigator of our [younger] generation,” noting, “He just has this distinguished approach.” Another peer elaborates, “Jean-Michel writes and drafts very well in both [French and English] languages, [he is] very poised and a classy guy to deal with. He encompasses all the attributes of a good lawyer." Boudreau and Boctor defended Apotex, notably in British Columbia, in a national class action. “That is a first for the firm to go to another jurisdiction and lead the case,” testifies a peer. The IMK team is still the local Québéc counsel for this client in the massive class action concerning opioids.