BORDEN LADNER GERVAIS
Loni da Costa in the Calgary office of attends to a multifaceted practice that is largely focused on oil and gas. She also has a niche intellectual property practice, with a number of patent-related matters to her credit. Also in Calgary, Matti Lemmens is a multi-faceted commercial litigator, who has been busy as of late with a raft of insolvency work across a diverse spectrum of industries, encompassing everything from energy entities to gyms. Krista Johanson, in the Vancouver office, practices primarily in litigation pertaining to the robust construction sector. Johanson does work for owners and in some cases large-scale engineers, and has even been involved in the reform of construction law. Also in Vancouver, Michelle Maniago focuses on class actions, mostly competition and consumer protection as well as shareholder litigation and privacy work. Another class-action specialist, in the Montréal office, Anne Merminod is a recent addition to Benchmark and a quickly rising future star who is developing her own devoted fan base among peers and clients. Merminod was part of a team that led the successful defense of IIROC in a class-action lawsuit over loss of personal information at the merit stage.
CRAWLEY MACKEWN BRUSH
Michael Byers of Toronto securities-focused boutique Crawley MacKewn Brush is the firm’s most recent nominee to Benchmark’s future star status and has been noted to have taken a more active role, independently as well as in tandem with name partners, in some of the firm's most important mandates. Kate McGrann, a partner quickly establishing herself alongside her more senior peers at the firm, has developed a well-earned reputation as a go-to for inquiries. She was appointed co-lead counsel to the Ontario Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission with a mandate to investigate the spread of COVID-19 within long-term care homes and to recommend ways to prevent a future problem. Prior to that, McGrann had been leading a major municipal inquiry. Clarke Tedesco regularly appears on some of the firm’s most high-stakes mandates with all three name partners, occasionally in a semi-lead role. In one such case, Tedesco appeared as second chair in prosecuting a claim for $700 million in damages arising out of a failed joint venture between a real estate developer and the Ottawa Senators organization.
A relatively new partner at Toronto litigation boutique DMG Advocates, John Mather has attended to a diverse workload that includes appearances in a class action for a well known auto-manufacturer as well as acting as duty counsel to individuals involved in a high-profile inquiry concerning COVID-related deaths at long-term care homes. Mather is also developing a niche in cryptocurrency.
At Montréal litigation boutique IMK, David Ethier, one of the firm’s youngest stars, focuses on commercial and real estate litigation. Ethier also is also a recent recipient of an award from the Québéc commercial and civil litigation bar.
Kajal Ervin, a future star at Calgary litigation boutique JSS Barristers, maintains an active and diverse practice, including class actions, often in the plaintiff capacity. In one example, Ervin is part of a team acting on a class action arising from the sexual exploitation, assault, and abuse of a number of teenage boys over a number of decades, perpetrated by a senior employee of the Young Canadians - a renowned performance group in Calgary, Alberta, associated with the Calgary Stampede. Ryan Phillips focuses on commercial and transactions, construction, energy, government and regulatory, and insurance. He also has unique experience with professional negligence defense of large law firms.
Laura Bevan in the Vancouver office of Western Canada powerhouse Lawson Lundell is a peer favorite. “She is fantastic," extols one peer. "I have a lot of time for her. She is a real force to be reckoned with, [she is] very effective, gets good mandates.” One such mandate is Bevan’s engagement on behalf of Gateway Casinos, a participant in the gaming sector, in a broad and high-profile review of money laundering within several key industries in British Columbia. Also in Vancouver, Lauren Cook is primarily in the regulatory world, representing companies that are being investigated and potentially prosecuted. One such example is a gold mining entity that was investigated for a fatal accident on one of its sites. In the firm’s Calgary office, Jonathan Selnes is a recent entrant into the firm partnership, becoming an equity partner in 2022. Selnes maintains a broad practice, with a focus on the province's robust energy sector. In one example, he was part of a team acting on behalf of Crescent Point Energy in a $10 million commercial dispute.
LAX O’SULLIVAN LISUS GOTTLIEB
Matthew Law of Toronto litigation powerhouse Lax O'Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb has been an integral part of several of the firm's key mandates alongside more senior partners. In one example, he is part of a team that is counsel to a group of standardbred horse breeders who brought a claim against the provincial government and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in connection with the termination of revenue sharing under the “Slots at Racetrack Program” in 2012. He was also a key member of a team acting on a hotly contested dispute concerning the ownership of Rogers Communications. Brad Vermeersch has been an integral part of several of the firm's key mandates alongside more senior partners. In one example, he was part of a team that was counsel to the plaintiffs in claims against their builders’ risk insurer for breach of contract, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, and bad faith. In another, he is a key member of a team that is litigation counsel to the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Constructors, a joint venture builder of a major Light Rail Transit project.
Julien Archambault of Montréal litigation boutique LCM focuses on construction litigation as well as insolvency. Archambault’s keen acumen with construction litigation is owed to an understanding of its intricate issues, a knowledge that extends even beyond legal issues and has roots in a fascination from childhood. Archambault and his team represented Hydro-Québec in a file against a multi-million-dollar claim by Transelec relating to construction work for the addition of a transformer to a substation. He and his team also represented Château B'Nai Brith, the promoter of a multi-floor senior residence, against a multi-million-dollar claim by the general contractor relating to construction of said residence. Marie-Noël Rochon attends to banking and financial services, government and regulatory, and securities. Her specialization allows her to offer a wide range of services that are not limited to litigation and advocacy and extend to consulting services for compliance issues, internal investigations related to alleged misconduct, registration and other regulatory requirements as well as civil and disciplinary litigation services. As second chair, Rochon represents the California States Teachers' Retirement System in one of the first opt-out cases from the Canadian securities class action against Bausch Health Companies. Rochon also represented two investment advisors in the course of disciplinary proceedings brought by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).
NATHANSON SCHACHTER & THOMPSON
Julia Lockhart, a future star at Vancouver litigation boutique Nathanson Schachter & Thompson, has been an integral force in some of the firm's most important mandates of late. Lockhart was part of a team that triumphed for Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District when, in February 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada decided for the firm client on an appeal of an arbitration award concerning a contract dispute, overturning a $2.88 million award made against Metro Vancouver. Peter Senkpiel is establishing himself as one of the firm's de facto leaders, a remarkable ascent for a partner of his vintage. Senkpiel acted as lead counsel in a four-week trial for the plaintiffs in a case involving allegations of breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty and knowing assistance arising from the winding up of four discretionary trusts that held significant hotel properties in British Columbia and the US.
PALIARE ROLAND ROSENBERG ROTHSTEIN
Tina Lie of celebrated Toronto litigation shop Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein attends to a diverse practice that encompasses public and administrative law, public inquiries and reviews and employment law. She also acts on appeals, even in instances where she did not act for the party at first instance. Lindsay Scott, a newly listed future star, attends to a practice that incorporates commercial litigation, employment law and insolvency. In a unique case exemplifying an intersection of these practices, Scott is representing Guestlogix in a pending appeal before the Ontario Court of Appeal regarding the intersection of releases contained in plans of arrangement under CCAA and employment law termination obligations.
SINGLETON URQUHART REYNOLDS VOGEL
Jesse Gardner of the Toronto office of two-pronged construction litigation powerhouse Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel was part of the firm team representing the City of Ottawa in a matter concerning allegations of delays and service problems associated with the construction of the City’s $2.1 billion light rail transit system. Gardner was also part of the team retained by Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario to provide ongoing advice in relation to the completion of the $5.3 billion Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit system and to manage the various disputes that have arisen on the project. James Little, also of the Toronto office, is also part of the team representing Ottawa. Daniel Barber, a recent entrant into the partnership of the Toronto office, has played an integral role in several of the firm's major appointments.
At revered Toronto litigation boutique Stockwoods, Andrea Gonsalves is a multifaceted litigator who is involved in class action work as well administrative law, advising of tribunals, and judicial review applications. Justin Safayeni is quickly amassing a notable stream of acclaim from peers, who view him as "excellent on his feet" and "emblematic of the great Stockwoods qualities." One peer confirms, “We were working on something together that involved some Competition Act issues, and he was great. I view him as having a lot of headroom for growth in this market.”
TUPMAN & BLOOM
Tupman & Bloom’s Arieh Bloom is a Toronto-based commercial litigator with a specialty niche in trust and estates work. One of the younger litigation stars among the city’s legal community, Bloom has already made quite an impression. “Arieh Bloom is this Orthodox whiz-kid from Nebraska and is already knocking it out of the park here,” marvels a Bay Street peer. “For his vintage, he has the most encyclopedic knowledge of trust and estates work. He actually teaches judges about the passage of wills practice, and he does it with a personality.” Bloom’s background as a CPA enhances his practice, and his recent work includes bringing oppression claims on behalf of an estate trustee over the voting rights of the control preferential shares of a family business, and bringing an application for the recognition of a cross-border guardianship application.
Cory Wanless was welcomed into the partnership of Toronto plaintiff boutique Waddell Phillips in 2021 and has built a relatively new practice that focuses on human rights and corporate and police accountability. In an example, Wanless is leading litigations against a Canadian mining company that was alleged to have engaged in egregious behavior in Guatemala including violence and rape. Wanless is also leading matters concerning alleged racial profiling in various capacities of local law enforcement.