Shipping - Canada
THE FIRM This firm has a significant marine presence via its Montréal office, and is acclaimed for its strong history in this area. It advises extensively on cargo defence for major shipping lines, including Maersk, Zim and Evergreen Line, as well as handling other issues for domestic and foreign shipowners, operators, charterers and P&I clubs. Notably, the firm serves as counsel to the Canadian Shipowners' Association, and acted for the government of Canada in respect of a diplomatic conference on ship arrests in Geneva in 1999. Work also extends to representing clients with respect to offshore oil and gas exploration.
Sources say: "In Montréal, we believe without question that BLG is the best."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Senior partner Jeremy Bolger is regarded as a top lawyer in this space. "If someone were to tell me they needed the best maritime lawyer in Montréal, I'd tell them to go see Jeremy," one peer said. He advises on commercial, administrative and regulatory matters and is the immediate past president of the Canadian Maritime Law Association (CMLA).
Peter Pamel is the national leader of the firm's maritime law group and the leader of the firm's Team North initiative. He has significant expertise with respect to Arctic shipping and mining in northern Québec.
Jean-Marie Fontaine is a talented young lawyer who is singled out as a rising star within the practice. "He would be on my all-star team," one source enthused. He focuses on collisions, cargo claims, ship construction and charter party disputes.
THE FIRM This full-service firm is highlighted for its commitment to maritime law and for the investment it has made in this area. Based in Vancouver, the team advises on a range of shipping law matters from coast to coast as well as in Northern Canada, and is a listed correspondent for a number of P&I clubs in the UK. Notably, the firm acted for Seaspan Marine in respect of multibillion-dollar contracts under its National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS). It also advises Northern Transportation on tug and tow operations in the Arctic, Atlantic Canada and Greenland.
Sources say: "An excellent group of lawyers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Bromley has a notable workload in shipping, and is widely acknowledged as one of Bull Housser's key figures in this area, alongside the impressive Shelley Chapelski. Chapelski has a very extensive practice, advising on maritime contracts, insurance and creditor's remedies, while Bromley focuses largely on litigation. Prior to joining Bull Housser, the pair operated a boutique maritime law practice in Vancouver. Sources say: "John and Shelley are knowledgeable, approachable and thorough in all of their dealings with us." Merle McKenzie is the firm's chief casualty investigator and the manager of the marine group.
THE FIRM This Vancouver marine stalwart enjoys a strong reputation on the west coast of Canada. It advises on both transactions and litigation, and is a regular point of reference for International Group P&I clubs. It advises on ship finance, construction and repair, as well as on the preparation of transport documents, terminal service and security service agreements. Additionally, the firm frequently assists foreign companies on their relocation to Canada or their establishment of Canadian branches. On the contentious side, the firm represents clients before all levels of court as well as before the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada and other regulatory bodies.
Sources say: "A top-level firm in Vancouver."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Key contacts include Gary Wharton, Peter Swanson and Thomas Hawkins. Founding partner Peter Bernard retired in the summer of 2012, but continues to offer services as a mediator and arbitrator and sits as a member of the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada.
THE FIRM This Montréal-based litigation firm has a strong tradition in the marine law field. It is best known for its defence work on behalf of P&I clubs, and also advises on contracts. Related work includes matters concerning pollution, ship inspection, immigration and tax.
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Colford is the Québec vice-president of the CMLA. His contentious shipping practice covers contract disputes, cargo claims and tortious liability.
The talented Danièle Dion started her shipping law career as marine counsel to the Canadian government. She is noted in oil pollution, personal injury and ship grounding, among other areas of service.
THE FIRM This top regional firm is rated for the breadth of its commercial shipping practice, and its strength in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in particular. Its clients include Irving Shipbuilding, which was recently awarded a CAD25 billion contract to build 21 Canadian combat ships under the NSPS programme. The team also advises on marine insurance claims, including cargo claims, P&I cover and pollution.
Sources say: "Leading in Atlantic Canada."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Based in Newfoundland, Cecily Strickland serves as the Eastern vice-president of the CMLA and is described as "a star within her organisation." Peers highlight her involvement in a number of "really exciting cases," while clients enthuse: "She's just brilliant - she thinks outside the box and is approachable and well rounded."
David Henley is a key player in Halifax, where he advises on ship finance, construction, repair and contract negotiation, as well as marine claims and offshore-related matters.
Also in Halifax, Will Moreira QC is commended across the country as a "highly experienced and able advocate." He has acted as counsel in both domestic and international arbitrations in the maritime sector.
Richard Southcott is the regional managing partner for Nova Scotia. His clients include banks, International Group P&I clubs, energy companies and fishing interests.
THE FIRM This Toronto boutique is recognised as a top local player. It advises on all fields of maritime law, including ship collisions, personal injury, salvage claims, port management, ship purchases and sales, coastal trading and pollution.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gordon Hearn and Rui Fernandes are key contacts.
THE FIRM This five-strong maritime and transportation law firm is viewed as a strong choice in Toronto, from where it acts on matters concerning both the east and west coasts. The firm is especially prominent in dispute resolution, and is well known for its work on cargo damage claims. Its clients include shipowners, builders and suppliers, as well as major shipping companies, marine insurance brokers, port authorities and P&I clubs.
Sources say: "They have been doing a wonderful job."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Marc Isaacs is singled out as "the go-to guy in Ontario" for shipping matters. Peers praise his industry knowledge and note his increasing visibility in the field, while clients agree he is "exceptionally good."
THE FIRM This firm has cultivated a significant maritime law practice in Atlantic Canada. It advises on ship purchases and sales, Canadian flag issues, and other regulatory requirements relating to Canadian waters. Additionally, its dedicated shipbuilding team advises on industrial and regional benefits (IRB) and supplier requirements in connection with the Irving Shipbuilding project.
Sources say: "A good, vibrant marine practice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Hart is a litigation partner who handles insurance and maritime matters.
At Alexander Holburn Beaudin & Lang LLP in Vancouver, David McEwen QC is singled out as a top choice for complicated marine claims. His extensive practice covers insurance and recovery, marine casualty and yacht construction disputes.
The well-known Christopher Giaschi of Giaschi & Margolis is the current president of the CMLA and is recognised for his full-time maritime law practice in Vancouver.
John O'Connor of Langlois Kronström Desjardins is a prominent lawyer in Québec City. His broad-based practice includes work relating to ship finance, and environmental and P&I liability disputes.
Also in Montréal, Richard Desgagnés is the chair of the transportation team at Norton Rose Canada LLP. He advises on a range of maritime affairs as well as on aviation law.
Peter Cullen is the resident maritime law specialist at Stikeman Elliott LLP in Montréal. He acted for Algoma Central on its acquisition from Upper Lakes Group of its interests in Seaway Marine Transport.
William Sharpe of William M. Sharpe, Barrister & Solicitor is notable in Toronto for his regulatory work. He advises on ship operations and litigation as well as policy development.