Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial is in alphabetical order by firm name.

Transportation - Canada


What the team is known for A prominent Vancouver-based firm with a strong focus on admiralty and maritime matters throughout the West Coast. Notable expertise in P&I defence as well as shipping regulatory matters. Also advises on casualty response and occupational health and safety.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Industry knowledge: "They have intimate knowledge of the sector - you can get things done quickly and efficiently with them."

Notable practitioners  

Founding partner Peter Swanson "is very tenacious, knows the law and defends his clients well." He is noted for his expertise in cargo claims as well as charter party disputes, bills of lading and regulatory issues.

Gary Wharton is well known for his representation of shipowners and P&I clubs, and stands out for his experience in coastal tug and tow files. He also advises on shipbuilding and disputes, and has significant expertise in relation to marine environmental management. One source said: "He is a very competent and able guy who can really see critical issues quickly."

Thomas Hawkins has notable expertise in P&I defence work as well as local insurance matters. He is described as "a good practitioner with sound judgement."

What the team is known for A strong nationwide presence in maritime law, advising both local and international clients, including shipping lines, shipowners, terminal operators, P&I clubs and general marine insurers. Highly regarded for casualty investigation work and cargo claim defence. Also handles rail, trucking and aviation matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Visibility: "They have a wide client base and show up on a lot of the big files."

Work highlights Represented the owners of the 'MCP Altona' in a claim brought by Cameco concerning damage to uranium cargo being transported from Canada to Japan.

Successfully defended Westwood Shipping Lines in a claim brought by Cami Automotive concerning the applicability of the Hague-Visby rules to waybills in Canada.

Notable practitioners 

Jeremy Bolger is a highly respected practitioner in the area who acts for terminal operators, financial institutions, freight forwarders and shipowners on both commercial and regulatory shipping matters. One source said: "He's the senior man in Montréal; he is highly experienced and well connected, and knows his stuff. He's someone you can sit down with and resolve a case."

Peter Pamel regularly acts on casualty investigations, charter party disputes, defence claims and regulatory matters for shipowners and operators as well as shipping lines. He is also increasingly involved in Arctic shipping and navigation matters. One peer said: "He's a worthy opponent and clients are fond of him."

Jean-Marie Fontaine primarily acts for shipowners, operators and P&I clubs on both contentious and non-contentious marine-related files as well as on aviation and land transportation cases.

What the team is known for A well-respected maritime law boutique in Montréal. Acts for P&I clubs, shipping companies, ship services providers and freight forwarders. Also well regarded for corporate and commercial shipping matters, including the buying and selling of ships, shipbuilding contracts, bills of lading and contracts of affreightment.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Market standing: "Leaders in Eastern Canada." 

Notable practitioners  

David Colford has a strong reputation for both contentious and non-contentious matters, with sources highlighting his expertise in cargo matters. One peer said: "He is a very good lawyer. He is responsive, has a good mind, knows the law and is highly competent."

Danièle Dion has significant expertise in P&I and FD&D matters. She regularly acts on oil pollution, ship grounding and personal injury matters.

What the team is known for Acts on all aspects of commercial and contentious shipping law, as counsel to a wide range of marine industry clients. Well known for traditional P&I work and international and domestic hull and liability insurance, as well as maritime litigation, contracts and M&A. The firm also advises on aviation finance and transportation infrastructure development.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Commercial awareness: "The firm is highly responsive and professional. It provides comprehensive legal advice, and also works to find appropriate business solutions."

Bench strength: "The firm balances the level of staff on the file to optimise the blended professional fees at an appropriate level. Senior partners provide good oversight, while utilising and developing younger lawyers. The talent pool at the firm is impressive."

Work highlights Acted for Vancouver and Victoria Shipyards on the negotiation and finalisation of subcontracts to repair, modernise and maintain ships owned by the Department of National Defence.

Acted for James and Malcolm McLaren on the sale of two thirds of the shares of Allied Shipbuilders to a long-time employee.

Notable practitioners 

John Bromley focuses primarily on shipping litigation, with additional expertise in the negotiation of transportation contracts, including contracts of affreightment and charter parties. One source said: "He's one of the top picks in the BC market. He has a great deal of experience and a great sense of practicality in resolving claims."

Shelley Chapelski operates a diverse practice, with a focus on charter party contracts and other commercial work. She also has a strong reputation locally for marine insurance.

William McFetridge has a wide-ranging corporate practice which encompasses shipping, marine construction and general transportation matters. One client said: "He is highly knowledgeable about our business and our values and objectives."

Significant clients Seaspan Marine, SMIT Canada, Northern Transportation Company, Canpotex Shipping Services, Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association.

Basic facts about the department

- 6 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Advises users and providers of transportation services on regulatory, contractual and contentious matters. Represents cargo operators, retailers and distributors of goods in a range of supply chain matters. A well-known aviation practice includes the purchase, sale, leasing and financing of aircraft. The firm also advises on aviation litigation as well as regulatory approvals and licences for air, road and ocean transport. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Communication: "I've never been more impressed with a firm's ability to clearly summarise and explain their analysis, improving our ability to understand critical issues. They have a thorough understanding of transportation and distribution laws and the industries."

Notable practitioners 

Catherine Pawluch has a broad transportation practice advising both providers and users of air, road and rail transport. She is also recognised for her expertise in competition-related cases and foreign investment review. One source said: "She is really an expert on regulatory matters - she is very good, prompt and efficient."

Laura Safran has extensive experience in the aviation industry on contractual, regulatory and contentious matters. One source said: "She turns contracts around very quickly. I trust her immensely. We have thorough discussions and she's extremely careful in protecting the company's interests."

Forrest Hume is well regarded for railway regulatory law and arbitration. One source said: "He is first-class. He knows the agency and regulatory regime very well."

Significant clients Hi Fly Transportes Aereos, Cameco, Federation of International Freight Forwarders, Viterra, WestJet Pilot Association.

What the team is known for Acts across all areas of transportation law, with a strong focus on contentious matters. Operates a strong maritime and shipping law practice which encompasses cargo claims, insurance work and product liability matters. Also represents railway and trucking companies in regulatory matters and personal injury law.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Expertise: "They are really well regarded for insurance, casualty and marine matters."

Notable practitioners  

Gordon Hearn is highly regarded for his expertise in commercial litigation, particularly with regards to trucking and insurance matters.

Rui Fernandes litigates on matters including on cargo claims and insurance defence, and stands out for his knowledge and experience of international transportation matters.

What the team is known for Notable strength in ship casualty work and ship board accident claims. Also acts for shipowners and ship supply companies on commercial matters including contracts and ship purchases and sales. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Expertise: "They are strong in Toronto and they are very competent and know the area well."

Notable practitioners  

Marc Isaacs is well regarded for maritime litigation, including cargo claims, casualty matters and insurance-related cases. One source said: "He's technically very strong."

What the team is known for A well-known player in transportation in Atlantic Canada, with an emphasis on shipbuilding matters. Acts for ports, shipyards and shipping companies as well as suppliers to shipbuilders. The firm also advises on marine environmental law, international maritime law and the Law of the Sea.

Notable practitioners  

Key contacts include John Roberts and Thomas Hart.

Basic facts about the department

- 8 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A well-established practice in aviation, marine and rail sector law, advising on both contentious and non-contentious matters. Acts for banks, insurers, ship operators, railway operators, airlines, and aircraft and component manufacturers. A significant focus on cross-border work, including insurance matters in the London market.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Expertise: "They provide a very good service, especially for their quality of work and record in litigation."

Work highlights Represented Porter Airlines and Porter FBO in a judicial review brought by the Toronto Island Pilots Association concerning the operation and purpose of the Toronto Island Airport.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Desgagnés has a strong commercial litigation practice with a focus on transportation. He is particularly active in shipping matters and is also noted for his work in the aviation sector. One source said: "He's very quick to respond. He gives very practical advice, tells us the strengths and weaknesses of our files and can analyse a matter very quickly."

New to the rankings, Wylie Spicer, QC is active on offshore matters, including casualty matters and the development of oil and gas fields.

Significant clients Bombardier, Canadian Pacific Railway, Bell Helicopter, Royal Bank of Canada, Lower Lakes Towing.  

Since publication, Wylie Spicer has joined Wylie Spicer - Sole Practitioner

What the team is known for A well-respected firm for maritime law in Atlantic Canada. Provides both contentious and non-contentious services in areas such as shipbuilding, ship repair and contract negotiations. The firm also advises on commercial disputes arising under charter parties.

Notable practitioners  

Will Moreira QC has a broad marine law practice in Halifax, and represents shipowners, ship suppliers, marine insurers and marine lenders. One source said: "He is very knowledgeable and a good technical lawyer."

David Henley has strong regulatory expertise and counts numerous banks, shipyards, shipowners, manufacturers and insurers amongst his clients.

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A national transportation practice, advising on both contentious and transactional issues. In maritime matters, the firm regularly represents hull and liability insurers as well as shipping companies. A strong profile in relation to offshore work, including oil and gas pipelines, terminals and rigs.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Expertise: "They have a high level of expertise in a variety of matters. They are intelligent and very knowledgeable in specialised fields. They have very reliable lawyers and they are consistent in their service." 

Work highlights Acted for Osisko, the owner of a gold mine under construction in Québec, on a CAD1 million claim brought against a shipper concerning severe damage to a custom-built extraction system during transit from Spain to Canada.

Notable practitioners  

Peter Cullen is active in the litigious aspects of maritime insurance. In recent highlights, he represented the Navigators Insurance Management Company in a case concerning salt water contamination of cargo carried by the ship 'Valerie'. One client said: "He is highly reliable, experienced and knowledgeable in matters of maritime law."

Laurent Fortier is recognised for his wide-ranging transportation litigation practice. One client said: "He always seems to have the answers at the ready. His responses to questions are delivered promptly and with confidence and he never gives you the impression that he is too busy to assist even on minor situations."

Significant clients Algoma Central, St Lawrence Seaway Management, Chartis Marine Adjusters, ACE Global Markets, Hiscox Insurance.

Other Ranked Lawyers 其他上榜律师

David McEwen QC of Alexander Holburn Beaudin & Lang LLP is a highly experienced maritime, admiralty and marine insurance litigator. He regularly advises on marine insurance coverage disputes, tug and tow issues and recovery for cargo damage cases, among others. He is described as "an excellent lawyer who is very strong technically."

Douglas Schmitt of Alexander Holburn Beaudin & Lang LLP is active on marine casualty disputes as well as marine insurance subrogation, marine insurance coverage disputes and recoveries for cargo damage or loss.

Vancouver-based Christopher Giaschi of Giaschi & Margolis operates a widely respected, broad maritime and transportation litigation practice. He enjoys a strong reputation for cargo matters as well as marine insurance and domestic commercial litigation. One source said: "He knows his law inside-out and backwards and does an excellent job for clients."

Henry Brown of Gowlings advises on rail regulatory law and M&A matters. In highlights, he acted for Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway on the sale of its Madawaska-Van Buren-St Leonard railroad line to Eastern Maine Railway. 

Since publication, Henry Brown has retired from this practice.

John O'Connor of Langlois Kronström Desjardins has a wealth of experience in handling marine insurance claims involving environmental liability and P&I liability as well as maritime accidents and cargo claims. Sources say: "He has an impressive depth of knowledge and is a very thorough lawyer. He is a powerhouse in maritime law."

David Blair of McCarthy Tétrault LLP advises on regulatory matters in the rail, bus and trucking sectors. He also acts for mining companies on transportation infrastructure matters. One client said: "He knows everything there is to know about our company. He's a trusted adviser as much as he is a legal adviser. He's able to advise appropriately and is great at negotiation and strategy nationwide."

François Tougas of McMillan LLP is a highly respected rail regulatory lawyer. He advises on railway and terminal rate and service negotiations, and is praised for his knowledge of the interplay between competition law and transportation. One source said: "He is a very good lawyer. He has a lot of experience and has been through a lot of threshold cases. He's got a background which is really helpful in rail regulatory matters."

Barry Oland of Oland and Company is a well-respected cargo recovery lawyer based in Kelowna. He acts for cargo insurers and underwriters in Canada, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.

William Sharpe is well regarded for his commercial and regulatory expertise in maritime law. He also handles marine product liability matters as well as cargo claims. One source said: "He is very smart and well read in maritime law. Clients will be well served in his hands."

Foreign Experts

Foreign Experts are individuals with expertise in a different jurisdiction to the one they are based in. These individuals are particularly highly regarded for international and cross-border work. Usually, they will be identified in the jurisdiction in which they are based and in their country of expertise.

Senior Statesman

A 'Senior Statesman' is a lawyer who no longer works hands-on with the same intensity but who, by virtue of close links with major clients, remains pivotal to the firm’s success.

Eminent Practitioners

'Eminent Practitioners' are highly influential lawyers in a particular practice area who, due to managerial or client relationship commitments, are less active in day-to-day work but remain key players in the team.

Other Noted Practitioners

Other Noted Practitioners are individuals who have not yet been ranked but are seen to be active and accomplished in this area of law.

Other Noted Firms

Other Noted Firms are firms that have not yet been ranked but are seen to be active and accomplished in this area of law.