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Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Toronto

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP - Toronto
  • 199 Bay Street
  • Suite 4000
  • Commerce Court West
  • Toronto
  • Ontario
  • Canada
  • M5L 1A9
  • Tel:+1 416 863 2400
  • Fax:+1 416 863 2653
  • Email:Contact Us
  • Web:Visit website
  • Chairman: Brock W Gibson, QC
  • Firm Managing Partner: Robert M Granatstein
  • Number of partners: 271
  • Number of lawyers: 582 (includes partners)
  • Languages: Arabic, Cantonese, English, French, German, Mandarin, Spanish

Firm Overview: In 2013, Blakes was named “Law Firm of the Year: Canada” for the fourth time by Chambers and Partners. As a result of input received from other law firms and clients worldwide for the Chambers Global guide, 111 of their lawyers were ranked as leading practitioners in the Canadian section of the 2013 edition, more than any other Canadian law firm.

Main Areas of Practice:  

Banking & Finance: Recognised as the leading financial services practice in Canada with expertise in all types of domestic and cross-border financings and securitisations, as well as the establishment and regulation of financial institutions. Blakes is regular counsel to most of Canada’s major financial institutions, as well as US, European and other non-Canadian financial services providers.

Communications: Involved in some of the most significant recent transactions in the communications industry in Canada. Provide strategic counsel to major telecommunications, internet access, wireline telephone service, IPTV cable television companies, emerging media and entertainment businesses on broadcasting regulations, wireless spectrum auctions, spectrum allocation and usage matters, competition law, and other regulatory matters.

Competition: Repeatedly acknowledged as the leading practice in Canada with globally recognised expertise. Represent clients to facilitate their strategic objectives in compliance with the Competition Act and Canada’s rules on foreign investment. Frequently retained by major domestic and international companies and by leading international law firms to provide strategic counsel and representation in merger reviews before the Competition Bureau.

Corporate/M&A: Blakes has one of the largest and most active mergers and acquisitions practices in Canada, advising public and private companies in all industries on domestic and international transactions, including associated regulatory, tax and corporate issues. The firm handles transactions ranging from Canada’s most significant, novel and complex to start-ups and founder transitions and has been Canada’s busiest M&A law firm each year since 2007 according to Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters.

Energy/Natural Resources: Expertise in oil and gas, renewable energy, electricity, mining and forestry. A multidisciplinary approach that draws on lawyers in the fields of corporate, securities, M&A, regulatory, environmental, forest tenure, litigation, labour, tax and aboriginal law to ensure commercial success of clients in these industries.

Environmental: Leading national Canadian practice, advising on growth and management strategies while effectively resolving disputes and assuring environmental compliance with respect to contaminated sites, major projects, waste management, permitting requirements, spill responses, greenhouse gas emissions, the import, export and disposal of hazardous substances as well as due diligence procedures and training.

Information Technology: One of the largest and most highly-regarded technology law practices in Canada. Blakes advises on risk management, regulatory compliance, complex transactions such as acquisitions of technology companies, IT and business-process outsourcing and procurement arrangements, financing of such companies as well as commercial matters, including drafting technology transfer, development, distribution, and licensing agreements.

Infrastructure/PPP: Multidisciplinary team advising on all aspects of national and international projects involving infrastructure, public-private partnerships, and alternative financing and procurement.

Insolvency/Corporate Recovery: Blakes Restructuring and Insolvency has a significant practice advising creditors and debtors alike, with a high level of expertise in cross-border insolvencies and restructurings. Clients include domestic and international banks, companies and their directors, and other insolvency practitioners.

Intellectual Property: Internationally recognised as a leading practice, advising on high-value, leading-edge technology patent portfolios and providing strategic counsel to some of the most well-known North American and international brands.

International Trade: Recognised in WTO and NAFTA dispute settlement, free trade negotiation, bilateral investment treaty arbitration, antidumping/countervailing disputes, customs, export/ import controls, compliance reviews and audits, NAFTA origin determinations, government procurement appeals, bribery and foreign corrupt practices, trade policy and legislation, sanctions/embargoes and extraterritorial laws.

Litigation: One of the largest and most successful litigation and dispute resolution practices in the country. Serving clients across multiple jurisdictions and industry sectors on business crimes, corporate matters, class action, competition, constitutional and Charter of Rights, construction, e-discovery, energy, environmental claims, insolvency, insurance, media and defamation, pension and employee benefits, product liability, securities, tax and international commercial mediation and commercial arbitration.

Private Equity: Full range of services to funds seeking to invest in, acquire, dispose of or refinance Canadian businesses. Includes advising on fund raising and fund formation activities.

Real Estate: One of Canada’s largest and most diverse practices, spanning real property acquisitions and dispositions, mergers and acquisitions, financing, capital market transactions, real estate investments trusts (REITs), securitisations, leasing, hospitality and recreational properties, development and restructuring.

Tax: Leading international tax practice, including transfer pricing and tax litigation. Unparalleled expertise in cross-border M&A, private equity, multi-jursdictional reorganisations, corporate finance, energy and mining tax, taxation of financial institutions and sales taxes; thriving tax controversy, tax litigation and transfer pricing practices.

Additional Offices Across Canada: Montréal, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver

Associated Offices: Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia; Shanghai, China

Areas of Practice

  • Banking & Finance
  • Communications
  • Competition
  • Corporate/M&A
  • Energy/Natural Resources
  • Environmental
  • Information Technology
  • Infrastructure/PPP
  • Insolvency/Corporate
  • Recovery
  • Intellectual Property
  • International Trade
  • Litigation
  • Private Equity
  • Real Estate
  • Tax

Branches

  • 199 Bay Street,
  • Suite 4000,
  • Commerce Court West,
  • Toronto,
  • Ontario
  • Canada
  • M5L 1A9
  • Tel +1 416 863 2400
  • Fax +1 416 863 2653
  • Email : toronto@blakes.com
  • Website : www.blakes.com
  • 126 East 56th Street,
  • Suite 1701, Tower 56,
  • New York,
  • USA
  • NY 10022-3613
  • Tel +1 212 893 8200
  • Fax +1 212 829 9500
  • Email : newyork@blakes.com
  • 181 West Madison Street,
  • Suite 3610,
  • Chicago,
  • Illinois
  • USA
  • IL 60602-4645
  • Tel +1 312 739 3610
  • Fax +1 312 739 3611
  • Email : chicago@blakes.com
  • 23 College Hill,
  • 5th Floor,
  • London,
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC4R 2RP
  • Tel (020) 7429 3550
  • Fax (020) 7429 3560
  • Email : london@blakes.com
  • 7 Dong Sanhuan Zhonglu, Suite 901,
  • Office Tower A, Beijing Fortune Plaza,
  • Chaoyang District,
  • Beijing,
  • China
  • 100020
  • Tel +86 10 6530 9010
  • Fax +86 10 6530 9008
  • Email : beijing@blakes.com
  • 5th Floor, GB Corp Tower,,
  • Bahrain Financial Harbour, PO Box 10945,
  • Manama,
  • Bahrain
  • Bahrain
  • Tel +973 17 15 15 00
  • Fax +973 17 10 49 48
  • Email : bahrain@blakes.com
  • Apicorp Building,
  • P.O. Box 1404,
  • Al-Khobar,
  • Eastern Province
  • Saudi Arabia
  • 31952
  • Tel +966-13-847-5050
  • Fax +966 3 847 5353
  • Email : saud.ammari@blakes.com

Corporate & Finance - Bahrain

This Canadian firm has established a solid presence in Bahrain, bringing significant experience in the oil and gas sector. The busy office services a number of international corporations on projects in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, as well as advising a number of high-profile local clients on outbound investments. Highlights include advising APICORP on a USD200 million syndicated loan for Glencore Energy's purchase of oil products. The firm also counts Sadara, YASREF and Tatweer Petroleum among its clients. Tim Sunar continues to receive excellent feedback for his work on corporate mandates. Daniel Fournier QC, based in the firm's Calgary office, has extensive experience in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and enjoys an excellent reputation in the market.

Native Title - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 11 partners

- 7 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A strong multi-jurisdictional practice, with a focus on consultation and accommodation in the context of natural resource transactions. The firm also has significant expertise in related litigation, tax and real estate matters.

Work highlights Acted for Seabridge Gold on the environmental assessment and permitting aspects for the development of a copper-gold mine in northern British Columbia, including in its Aboriginal engagement strategy. 

Notable practitioners  

Sandy Carpenter joined the firm in mid-2014. He advises on project development and regulatory matters, with a focus on power transactions.

Significant clients Mitsui, Hunt Oil, Grand River Enterprises Six Nations, H2O Power, the British Columbia Treaty Commission.

Banking & Finance - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 36 partners
- 36 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Stands out as a leading banking firm with significant experience in domestic and cross-border financings. Strengths include asset-based lending, securitisation, project finance and syndications. Highly regarded for financial services regulatory work, particularly in the area of anti-money laundering.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

Client service: "They have a commitment to quality service and value." 

Bench strength: "A strong banking practice across the board."

What's new? Michael Matheson joined the firm in December 2012 from Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.

Work highlights Acted for National Bank of Canada as administrative agent on a USD3.2 billion credit facility provided to Alimentation Couche-Tard for the financing of its offer to acquire Statoil Fuel & Retail.

Assisted Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce with a CAD1.7 billion credit facility for Richardson International to finance its purchase of Viterra's assets.

Notable practitioners  

Paul Belanger is considered a "huge name" in the regulatory arena. Recent highlights include advising UBS Global Asset Management on the acquisition by Fiera Capital of its Canadian fixed income, equity and domestic balanced accounts business. Sources say: "He is extraordinarily competent and he knows his subject matter."

Michael Burke is noted for his expertise in securitisation, as well as his "thorough knowledge and insight" and his "focused and direct" approach. Recent work includes advising Sun Life on new purchase and servicing agreements.

Michael Harquail is regarded as "one of the top finance lawyers in Canada." He is described as "a terrific lawyer – he is good technically, he has good business sense, he is very practical and his advice is really on point."

Dawn Jetten is a highly respected regulatory lawyer who has extensive experience advising on financings, investments, acquisitions and dispositions.

Michael Matheson's practice incorporates banking, project finance and syndicated lending. Sources note: "He has a deep client base and works on the highest profile transactions."

Calgary-based Michael McIntosh is "superior at complicated project financings," with additional expertise in structured finance, corporate lending and banking transactions.

Ian Binnie is well known for his strength in bilateral and syndicated lending. He also advises on the financing of power generation projects.

Yannick Beaudoin's experience encompasses infrastructure and project finance, as well as real estate and structured finance.

Daniel Fournier QC is recognised for his expertise in matters involving the Middle East, as well as energy industry financings.

Simon Finch's practice covers financial services and syndicated loans, and he recently advised National Bank of Canada on a CAD101.5 million syndicate credit facility for Granite Global Solutions. Clients note: "He provides an excellent service."

The "terrific" James Christie is a prominent figure who maintains a fine reputation in the banking and finance realm.

Significant clients Bank of America, Bank of Montreal, Caisse Centrale Desjardins, CIT Group, Credit Suisse.

Competition/Antitrust - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 20 partners

- 17 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for The largest dedicated group of competition and antitrust specialists in Canada. Stands out for the volume and complexity of its workload. Equally well respected for merger work and foreign investment review, cartel matters and competition litigation.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "Clearly one of the Canadian powerhouses in the antitrust field."

Bench strength: "Their roster is deep and it is talented."

Work highlights Advised Nexen on the Canadian foreign investment and competition law aspects of its CAD15.1 billion acquisition by CNOOC.

Acted for The Brick on its pending CAD700 million acquisition by Leon's Furniture.

Represented Secure Energy Services as a successful complainant in litigation relating to the merger of CCS and Complete Environmental.

Notable practitioners  

Brian Facey represented Anheuser-Busch InBev in its USD20.1 billion acquisition of the remaining interest of Grupo Modelo. With a broad practice encompassing all matters of competition law, sources describe him as a "master of the area."

Jason Gudofsky stands out for his expertise in matters involving the Investment Canada Act and other regulatory approvals. Notably, he was the firm's point person on the Nexen/CNOOC transaction.

Randall Hofley provides litigation advice on merger transactions. Alongside Gudofsky, he advised United Continental Holdings on the resolution of a consent agreement following the Competition Bureau's challenge to the proposed joint venture between United and Air Canada.

Robert Kwinter is recognised for his involvement in competition class action cases. On the non-contentious side, work highlights include advising Indap Holding on the CAD4 billion sale of its Swedish-based subsidiary Gambro AB to Baxter International. "He's a phenomenal lawyer," say sources.

Navin Joneja acted for Pearson in respect of its contribution to the proposed joint venture of Penguin and Random House. Interviewees comment: "Navin is an outstanding analytical thinker – deeply competent with respect to agency strategy."

Julie Soloway "provides exceptional advice on competition and foreign investment issues." Alongside Facey, she advised ExxonMobil on its proposed CAD3 billion acquisition of Celtic Exploration.

Micah Wood worked with Facey on the ABInBev transaction, as well as on Bell Canada's CAD1.1 billion acquisition of Q9 Networks. "He is very strong technically," clients agree.

Significant clients Maple Group Acquisition Corporation, Intact Financial, Microsoft, Akzo Nobel, Visa Canada.

Corporate/M&A - Canada

Basic facts about the department
- 94 partners
- 82 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Significant strength and depth across Canada's major financial centres. Acts on large and high-profile domestic and cross-border M&A files, with extensive experience in advising on international inbound transactions. Additional expertise in proxy contests and shareholder activism, while experience relating to India also garners praise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
All-rounders: "They have smart, sophisticated lawyers and provide good support across different legal areas – they have the full offering."

Work highlights Acted for H&R Real Estate Investment Trust on its CAD2.75 billion acquisition of Primaris Retail REIT and subsequent agreement to sell a portfolio of 18 Primaris properties to a syndicate led by KingSett Capital.

Represented Agrium in its contribution of CAD1.8 billion to acquire Viterra's Agri-Products business division as part of the CAD6.1 billion acquisition of Viterra by Glencore.

Notable practitioners  

Patrick Finnerty has a vast amount of experience in oil and gas transactions and was one of the key lawyers acting for Nexen on its CAD15.1 billion acquisition by CNOOC. One source said: "He's terrific. He knows the market, is smart and his clients really like him. It's comforting to have him on the files we're working on."

Firm chair Brock Gibson QC is "one of the drivers of the Western Canadian profile at Blakes." He is well regarded for his expertise in corporate finance, M&A and private equity matters. 

Jeffrey Lloyd has an extremely strong capital markets and M&A practice, and a stellar reputation in the market. Sources say: "He is a very talented lawyer who gets things done very effectively."

Christopher Hewat focuses on M&A, corporate finance and private equity matters. Notably, he acted for The Brick on its CAD700 million acquisition by Leon's Furniture.

Michael Gans led on H&R REIT's acquisition of Primaris Retail REIT. He has a broad practice acting on both domestic and cross-border M&A transactions. One source describes him as "a skilled lawyer who has a good client following."

Frank Arnone operates a wide-ranging M&A and corporate finance practice. He recently acted for CVC Capital Partners on the Canadian aspects of its recapitalisation of Cunningham Lindsey Group to acquire majority ownership from Stone Point Capital and Fairfax Financial.

Craig Thorburn acted for Akzo Nobel on the USD1 billion sale of its North American Decorative Paints business to PPG Industries.

David Jackson is senior counsel at the firm and practises primarily in the area of securities law. 

Sunny Handa co-heads the firm's India practice group. His expertise encompasses technology transactions, life sciences and health law, e-commerce and data protection.

Geoffrey Belsher manages the firm's New York office and is described as "a go-to person for Canadian corporate law questions. He is very knowledgeable, responsive and practical."

David Glennie is the managing partner of the firm's London office, and advises on international M&A and corporate finance transactions with a focus on natural resources.  

In Beijing, Robert Kwauk regularly assists Chinese companies with their North American investments.

Significant clients Suncor Energy, ENMAX, Element Financial, Kinross Gold, ExxonMobil Canada.

Dispute Resolution - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 14 partners
- 20 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highly regarded for its involvement in high-profile energy cases, particularly in connection with the power and utilities sectors. Also recognised for its experience in construction, product liability, white-collar crime and environmental litigation.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Technical ability: "We are always impressed with the work that they do."

Work highlights Represented Pembina Pipeline in an action brought against BP Canada Energy Resources concerning the failure to allocate natural gas and gas liquids produced by a BP plant.

Advised Encana on a claim brought by Maverick Resources and Chinese oil and gas companies relating to a failed natural gas transaction.

Notable practitioners  

The "extremely knowledgeable, thorough and strategic" David Tupper receives considerable praise from clients for his negotiation skills as well as his "very well-reasoned, very persuasive and very calm court presence."

Mitchell Cohen QC is highly regarded for his expertise in insurance, banking and product liability litigation. Clients say: "He provides very good and smart advice from a technical standpoint – he is thorough, he analyses well, and he has good opinions and strategy."

Webster Macdonald QC has an excellent reputation for energy-related litigation. He also advises on product liability, real estate, insurance and Aboriginal cases.

Dalton McGrath QC handles complex energy, environmental and securities disputes. He also has considerable experience in competition litigation, and recently represented ExxonMobil in a case involving bid-rigging. Clients comment: "He is a good strategist and he is results-focused."

Significant clients AMEC Americas, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Husky Energy, ENMAX, Nexen.

Dispute Resolution - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 10 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Widely acclaimed for its involvement in major construction, energy, intellectual property and environmental cases, as well as securities and product liability litigation. Also highly rated for class action defence.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Strategic planning: "The Blakes team displays a keen balance of business acumen, strategic insight and perseverance to get the desired result."

Client service: "A very customer-oriented and practical group."

Work highlights Represented Petaquilla Minerals in a shareholder dispute relating to an unsolicited hostile takeover bid launched by Inmet Mining.

Acted for Crew Gold on a case concerning unregistered shareholders' dissent rights.

Notable practitioners  

The "impressive" William Kaplan QC is an expert in restructuring and insolvency litigation. Clients appreciate his thoughtful approach and practical advice, noting that "he is able to quickly get to the root of an issue and distil complex legal issues into basic principles."

Peter Rubin acts for clients on insolvency and securities litigation. Sources say: "He is very effective, very professional and he works hard."

James Sullivan receives praise for his strong reputation in energy and product liability cases, as well as class actions.

Significant clients Aurizon Mines, Sateri International, Microsoft, Visa Canada, TASER International.

Dispute Resolution - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 30 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for At the forefront of the market for the defence of class actions across Canada. Highly regarded for its expertise in competition, environmental and product liability cases. Other areas of focus include financial services, securities and employment class proceedings.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Efficiency: "Some of the most outstanding lawyers I have ever seen in terms of preparation, cross-examination and the way they assemble their trial team."

Expertise: "A powerhouse competition group for class actions." 

Work highlights Advised Coca-Cola on the Canadian aspects of its litigation strategy in connection with the multi-jurisdictional Vitaminwater class action proceedings.

Represented a medical device manufacturer in defence of product liability class actions in Ontario, Québec and BC concerning mechanical heart valves.

Notable practitioners  

Gordon McKee is "very highly regarded and exceptional in the courtroom." He is a regular feature on significant matters, with a focus on class proceedings involving product liability issues and medical devices.

Robert Torralbo is viewed as "a very experienced litigator in class actions" who is "very effective and strategic." His clients include Citibank Canada and Microsoft.

Significant clients Merck Frosst Canada, CIBC Trust, Visa, Concentra Trust, Deutsche Lufthansa.

Dispute Resolution - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 43 partners
- 28 other lawyers

What the team is known for Offers a comprehensive range of litigation services, with a focus on competition, energy, securities and construction-related matters. Additional expertise in the areas of insurance, media and product liability. Also highly regarded for class action defence and domestic and international commercial arbitration.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Pragmatic advice: "A great firm – they are very customer-oriented and practical, and they don't over-lawyer matters."

Work highlights Represented WFG Securities in regulatory proceedings in Manitoba concerning leveraged mutual fund accounts.

Acted for Ontario Power Generation in defence of a judicial review and injunctions concerning the construction of a multibillion-dollar hydroelectric project in Northern Ontario.

Notable practitioners  

Joel Richler is highly valued for his presence in court and his ability to think on his feet. One client said: "He is incredibly well organised and has an expert theory of the law and the cases he works on." He recently advised J.D. Irving on a dispute with Siemens concerning the damage of turbines in a maritime accident.

Paul Schabas is "a very strong and articulate advocate who is extremely compelling in court." His receives considerable praise for his tax and media litigation work.

Catherine Beagan Flood focuses on product liability and competition cases, as well as privacy, freedom of information and telecommunications disputes. She acted for Merck Frosst on a SCC case involving the confidentiality of information requested under the Access to Information Act.

Nigel Campbell specialises in securities litigation, advising high-profile clients such as Deutsche Bank Securities. Sources note: "He is thoroughly knowledgeable in the area of complex litigation and he is calm, thoughtful and very responsive."

Jeff Galway represents clients in pensions, competition and securities matters. "He is very good at what he does," say interviewees.

Significant clients BHP Billiton, CIBC, Cliffs Natural Resources, Ford Motor Company of Canada, McKesson Canada. 

Dispute Resolution - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 7 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Enjoys a strong reputation for construction, product liability and securities litigation. Receives praise for its skilful representation of clients in insurance and competition cases. Also excels in class action defence. 

Work highlights Represented Expedia in a case brought by Transat A.T. concerning hotel marketing and exclusivity agreements.

Acted for Georgia Gulf on a manufacturing dispute involving alleged defective window components.

Notable practitioners  

Robert Torralbo is revered for his expertise in class actions, securities, banking and real estate litigation. Sources value his good judgement and his skilful defence of his clients' positions, with one client commenting: "He is excellent at arguing cases in an unassuming fashion."

Réal Forest represents clients in a range of matters involving environmental, transportation and construction law.

Significant clients Amway Canada, CIBC, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Philips.

Employment - Canada

Basic facts about the department

Pensions and benefits - 14 partners, 8 other qualified lawyers

Labour and employment - 10 partners, 12 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Widely viewed as a leading Canadian pensions and benefits practice group. Expertise encompasses retirement and executive compensation arrangements, pension plan governance and cross-border investment advice. On the employment side, the firm advises large organisations on issues related to complex corporate transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Communication: "They are excellent quality people who are easy to work with, not afraid to ask questions and understand what it is you are trying to achieve."

Efficiency: “They have the capability to provide information very quickly and very succinctly. I would not hesitate to recommend them.” 

What's new? Formerly of Spectrum HR, Christopher Brown joined the firm's pensions and benefits group in May 2013.

Work highlights Advised OMERS Investment Management on the development of a new pension fund derivative investment product.

Acted for ConAgra on the Canadian employment aspects of its consolidation with Cargill and CHS.

Notable practitioners  

Jeremy Forgie "is a top lawyer who brings strong technical understanding and works well with other law firms." As Canadian pension counsel to the National Hockey League, he advised on the new collectively bargained Canada/US players defined benefit pension plan.

Kathryn Bush is praised for her "excellent knowledge base" of Canadian pensions issues, and assists some of the firm's largest clients with a range of related work.

Christopher Brown advises on the regulatory requirements of pensions and benefit plans. As co-chair of the Alberta-British Columbia joint expert panel on pension standards, he was involved in a review of pension legislation in the two provinces. 

Connie Reeve is the national co-chair of the employment and labour group. She "provides very practical advice" and recently acted for ConAgra Foods on Canadian employment law relevant to its above mentioned combination with Cargill and CHS.

Brian Thiessen advised Kinder Morgan Energy Partners on the employment and labour aspects of the sale of its one-third interest in the Express-Platte pipeline system to Spectra Energy.

Significant clients The Association of Canadian Pension Management, Hudson's Bay Company, CIBC, Cliffs Natural Resources, Agrium. 

Energy & Natural Resources - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 35 partners

- 36 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A strong profile in Vancouver, where the team is viewed as an excellent choice for M&A and securities work in the mining space. Additional strength is offered in environmental and regulatory law as well as Aboriginal issues. The firm also advises on shareholder activism in the mining sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

Breadth of services: "They have a very well-rounded practice." 

Problem solving: "They provided excellent service in the course of a very difficult, complex and stressful situation."

Work highlights Acted for CGA Mining on its CAD1.1 billion acquisition by B2Gold. 

Advised the special committee of the board of Teranga Gold in connection with its proxy contest with Mineral Deposits. 

Notable practitioners  

Vancouver-based Bob Wooder "is one of the key mining lawyers in the city," according to his peers, while clients point to his experience in matters relating to project debt. Recent highlights include representing Aurizon Mines in defence of a hostile takeover bid by Alamos Gold and in its subsequent acquisition by Hecla Mining. 

Peter O'Callaghan led the team in its work for CGA Mining, and stands out for "the depth of his experience, common sense and commerciality."

David Glennie operates an international resource transactions practice from the firm's London office and recently acted for Afferro Mining on its USD200 million takeover by International Mining & Infrastructure. 

Significant clients BHP Billiton, Cliffs Natural Resources, KGHM International, Talison Lithium, Kinross Gold. 

Energy & Natural Resources - Canada

Basic facts about the department

Power - 30 partners, 11 other qualified lawyers

Oil and gas - 13 partners, 15 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Major cross-border oil and gas transactions, acting for a wide variety of leading industry players. Widely regarded as a key player in power projects in Alberta, with additional capabilities in power finance and other transactional matters in Ontario. Also commended for its capacity to advise on energy regulatory law. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Visibility: "They stand out for the depth of partners who are active participants in the field. They are at the forefront of cutting-edge work."

Market standing: "We model our group on Blakes - they are extremely entrepreneurial and extremely outward-focused."

Work highlights Acted for ExxonMobil on its CAD3.1 billion acquisition of Celtic Exploration.

Advised Enmax on commercial matters relating to the development of the Shepard Energy Centre, and on its joint venture with Capital Power concerning the centre's ownership and operation.

Notable practitioners  

Kemm Yates QC is "one of the best there is" for energy regulatory matters, according to sources. One interviewee states: "He is an excellent on-his-feet litigator, very good in a hearing room, and very knowledgeable on energy practice and history."

Oil and gas expert Mungo Hardwicke-Brown represented Kinder Morgan in the sale of its one-third interest in the Express-Platte pipeline system to Spectra Energy. Sources say: "He has got a great reputation - he is leading a number of meaningful transactions."

Michael Laffin is the chair of the firm's Asia Region practice. He provides ongoing advice to Sinopec and its Canadian subsidiaries regarding such matters as the company's worldwide corporate reorganisation.

Lars Olthafer "has a solid understanding of the regulatory process" and recently worked alongside Kemm Yates for Northern Courier Pipeline in respect of its application to the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board for the construction of a pipeline project. 

Chris Christopher acts on both oil and gas and power deals, and recently advised Suncor on its acquisition of Total E&P's interest in the Voyageur Upgrader project.

Ben Rogers led the team on the abovementioned work for ExxonMobil, and has also advised TransCanada on its partnership with Phoenix Energy Holdings for the construction and operation of the CAD3 billion Grand Rapids pipeline system.

Kenneth Pearce is a key partner for power transactions, with notable expertise in wind, solar and nuclear matters, among others.

Sandy Carpenter joined the firm from Fasken Martineau in mid-2014. He has significant experience advising on both project development and regulatory matters.

Significant clients Nexen, Shell Canada Energy, TAQA North, Boralex, Algonquin Power & Utilities.

Environment - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 17 partners

- 8 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A strong and deep national environmental practice with a notable profile in respect of oil and gas development projects and related litigation. The firm is also well known for its involvement in major mining and power projects, and demonstrates significant expertise on water, waste water and species at risk.

Work highlights Represented Nelson Aggregate, a joint venture of Lafarge Canada and Steed Evans, in a 15-month environmental tribunal hearing relating to the development of a new dolomite quarry in the Greater Toronto Area.

Defended Zellstoff Celgar against charges under the Federal Fisheries Act and the provincial Environmental Management Act concerning a pulp mill in Castlegar, British Columbia.

Notable practitioners 

Charles Kazaz has notable experience of environmental law in Québec, with a focus on the mining, forestry and waste management sectors.

In Toronto, Jonathan Kahn is highlighted for his expertise in environmental and municipal law and litigation. In notable work, he represented Nelson Aggregate in the abovementioned tribunal hearing. "He's a good, tough lawyer," say sources.

Calgary partner Duff Harper is part of the Blake team which provides ongoing environmental advice to Suncor Energy. He regularly represents a variety of other clients operating in the oil sands, as well as mining companies and LNG proponents.

Of counsel Janice Walton is recommended for her work on endangered species law. One source commented: "She is acknowledged to be one of the top lawyers in Canada on species legislation."

Significant clients Cliffs Natural Resources, Holcim Canada, Suncor Energy, Kinder Morgan, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

Information Technology - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 15 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for At the forefront of the market for IT in Canada, with a strong track record in technology sector deals as well as developed and well-recognised technical subject matter expertise. A regular feature on tech M&A, and increasingly active in the cloud computing sector. Other areas of service include outsourcing and procurement, regulatory compliance and systems implementation.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Commercial awareness: "They have taken the time to understand our business, and their understanding comes through in the advice they provide." 

What's new? Cheryl Slusarchuk joined the firm from McCarthy Tétrault LLP in February 2013.

Notable practitioners  

Cheryl Slusarchuk represents clients in complex technology transactions, including those relating to social networking and media, online commerce, and the data privacy aspects of outsourcing and cloud computing services. Based in Vancouver, she is eligible to practise in the USA (Illinois and Colorado) and Australia.

Sunny Handa advises technology companies on large M&A deals, and is well known for his frequent academic output. "He is very bright and certainly knows what he is doing," sources agree.

Christine Ing wins praise from sources for her broad IT expertise. She co-heads the department with Handa, and recently acted for MCAP Commercial on the IT and IP aspects of its CAD6 billion purchase of Resmor's Canadian mortgage operations.

Parna Sabet-Stephenson continues to solidify her burgeoning reputation in Canadian IT. One source said: "I was very impressed. She added a lot of value in breaking down the key risk areas and communicating effectively with our business people."

Significant clients Bell Canada, Amazon, Microsoft, Tata Communications, Sierra Wireless.

Intellectual Property - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 12 partners
- 22 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highly regarded for patent portfolio management and prosecution. Also viewed as a strong choice for IP advice on M&A transactions. The firm's industry expertise encompasses oil and gas, life sciences, media, retail and consumer products.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Responsiveness: "They are incredibly responsive - you ask a practical question and you get a practical answer."

Efficiency: "I find them to be very well organised, punctual and efficient in executing instructions and turning work around."

Work highlights Acted for Safeway on the IP aspects of the CAD5.8 billion sale of its Canadian operations to Sobeys.

Notable practitioners  

Sheldon Burshtein is lauded amongst clients and peers alike for his "expert knowledge of the history of IP law in Canada." Sources agree: "He has a vast amount of experience and is a consummate IP professional in Canada."

Gary Daniel focuses on prosecution, with an emphasis on copyright and trade marks. "He is fantastic - he's very knowledgeable and very prompt, and gives very thoughtful advice," one source enthused.

Significant clients BlackBerry, Certicom.

International Trade - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 9 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Extensive experience in customs-related work, acting for the firm's strong stable of corporate clients in relation to cross-border transactions. Also acts for government entity clients on matters relating to WTO law and handles matters concerning foreign corruption and government procurement.

Notable practitioners  

Greg Kanargelidis is "a wonderful guy and a terrific lawyer" who comes highly recommended for his extensive expertise in customs law and commodity tax.

Projects - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 33 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Widely viewed as top-choice counsel for both private sector clients and government owners across a diverse range of projects in Canada. Notable strength in project finance and procurement, advising on provincial, municipal and federal mandates. The firm enjoys an excellent reputation in British Columbia and is increasingly involved in the financing of international infrastructure projects. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Expertise: "They do an excellent job. They have a depth of experience and bring a practical approach and lots of creativity to deals, and are highly reliable."

Bench strength: "They have a true national practice with top people in every jurisdiction."

Work highlights Advised the City of Greater Sudbury on a design, build, finance and maintain PPP project for a biosolids facility, and on the upgrading of the city's water and waste water facilities.  

Continues to act for the Health Montréal Collective Limited Partnership to design build, finance and maintain the new CAD2 billion Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM). 

Notable practitioners  

Anne Stewart QC is described as "amazing and at the top of her game. She is a dedicated lawyer, drives a deal through and knows how to deal with issues because of her experience." She recently acted for a shortlisted bidder in connection with the Kingston Providence Health Centre. 

Alain Massicotte acted for the winning proponents to design, build, finance and maintain the CAD2 billion centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal. He is described as "a proactive lawyer who focuses on the right issues." 

Jeffrey Merrick is based in Vancouver, from where he represents private sector clients and recently acted for SNC Capital as a shortlisted bidder for the John Hart Generating Station replacement project. One source said: "His work ethic is tremendous."

Judy Wilson is described as "a North American expert on PPPs. She's brilliant - everything about her is ideal." Sources are quick to highlight her expertise in facilities management for public sector facilities. "Her expertise in this area is second to none," said one source.

Graham McLeod is active on sponsor-side mandates and sources say "he brings great insight into where government authorities are coming from." One interviewee added: "He is a calm guy and a good lawyer with a great working knowledge of the documents."

Marianne Smith is recognised for her involvement in municipal projects, and acted for the City of Greater Sudbury on the aforementioned biosolids management facility.

Significant clients Carillion Canada, Macquarie Capital Group, Infrastructure Ontario, Peter Kiewit Infrastructure, Balfour Beatty Capital. 

Public Procurement - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 13 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Features regularly on the competitive procurement of some of Canada's largest projects involving multiple stakeholders. A deep team with notable experience in acting on transit and nuclear mandates, with additional expertise in the waste management and food services sectors. Regularly advises on federal, provincial and municipal transactions and related disputes. A key player in the drafting of commercial procurement documents and procurement policies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "They have a strong multi-person practice."

Work highlights Advised Infrastructure Ontario on design, build, finance and maintain projects for both the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and the Scarborough LRT.

Notable practitioners  

Judy Wilson "is one of the foremost public procurement lawyers in Canada. She is extremely good at managing very complicated situations and can help conflicting parties understand common interests in a short period of time." She has extensive experience in advising on projects in the nuclear, transportation and healthcare sectors, among others.

Gordon Cameron advises on administrative and commercial litigation, and has a strong reputation in Canadian procurement.

Graham McLeod is recognised for his intimate knowledge of the PPP structure in Canada and for his "great understanding of the procurement process." 

Significant clients Ontario Power Generation, City of Greater Sudbury, Champlain Community Care Access Centre, Ontario Association of Community Access Centres.

Real Estate - Canada

Basic facts about the department
- 19 partners
- 19 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acclaimed for its deep bench and strength in representing some of the country's largest pension funds in their real estate investments. The team advises on acquisitions, financings and the structuring of investment vehicles.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Clarity of advice: "A really strong real estate practice - they provide excellent service and practical advice."

Work highlights Advised GWL Realty Advisors, on behalf of its investors, on the CAD300 acquisition of the joint venture rights of Wal-Mart Canada Realty and SmartCentres Realty for four shopping centres in Toronto, Saskatoon and Montréal.

Acted for Standard Life Assurance on the CAD635 million sale of four office buildings located in Toronto, Montréal, Edmonton and Calgary, including the Standard Life Tower in Toronto.

Notable practitioners  

"Personable, pragmatic and responsive," Chris Huband handles high-value acquisitions on behalf of large institutional investors, including the abovementioned matter for GWL Realty. He is praised for his depth of knowledge and his negotiating style.

The experienced Jim Hilton acts for pension companies and a number of the firm's European clients. He represented KanAm Grund in the sale of an office tower in Calgary.

German law expert Thomas von Hahn is "excellent on the lending side," according to peers, while clients agree he is "very practical and very approachable." He advised Bentall Kennedy on its acquisition of an industrial portfolio from Erin Mills Development.

Vancouver-based Jeffrey Merrick is highly regarded for his years of experience and broad range of expertise. As well as real estate transactional matters, he is also active in PPP and infrastructure work.

Pierre-Denis Leroux advises on sophisticated financings in Québec, and is praised for his "understanding of both sides of the fence." He represented Hypothèques CDPQ in the mortgage financing of a major office building in downtown Montréal.

Silvana D'Alimonte is commended by peers and clients for her pragmatic approach to transactions, with a focus on real estate financings. One client said: "She understands what needs to get done."  

Significant clients Carillion, H&R REIT, HOOPP, Ontario Pension Board, Borealis Infrastructure Management.

Restructuring/Insolvency - Canada

Basic facts about the department
- 11 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A quality team acting across Canada on some of the largest restructurings. Has a particularly strong reputation in Vancouver and Toronto. Acts for a large client base, especially on the monitor side, in addition to offering a quality service to both creditors and debtors across many industries.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Quality: "A go-to firm in terms of expertise and client service." 

Work highlights Acted for Grant Thornton, the court-appointed receiver, with regards to First Leaside Wealth Management's CCAA proceedings.

Acted for the lenders on Cinram International Income Fund's CCAA proceedings.  

Notable practitioners  

Pamela Huff is described as "experienced and practical," with clients adding: "It's the nature of her advice that is so good." She acted for Terrace Bay Pulp on its restructuring proceedings.

Steven Weisz is praised for "giving practical advice and getting the best for his clients." He acted for Fifth Third Bank in its capacity as lenders’ agent and DIP agent in Northstar Aerospace's CCAA proceedings.

William Kaplan QC is well regarded for his expertise in Vancouver. He was one of the lead partners acting for Catalyst Paper in its CCAA proceedings.

Linc Rogers has notable strength on Canada/USA cross-border transactions. He was one of the lead partners acting for the receiver, PwC, on the receiving of assets and subsequent sale of Kraus Canada.

Peter Rubin is described as a "quality lawyer, practical, always organised and with the right approach to files." He acted for Catalyst Paper in its CCAA proceedings.

Kelly Bourassa is a well-respected presence in Calgary. She was the lead partner acting for Valiant Trust Company in the CCAA proceedings of United Builders Group.  

Significant clients Alvarez & Marsal, Credit Suisse, Ernst & Young Corporate Finance, Fifth Third Bank, Lucky Star Holdings.

Tax - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 27 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highly regarded for specialised expertise in all areas of tax, including in relation to major cross-border transactions and complex international tax issues. Also highlighted for tax controversy and litigation.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Breadth of services: "As a large national firm, you get tax as well as excellent corporate lawyers. They're a full meal deal firm who bring to the table a variety of skills."

What's new? Scott Wilkie joined the firm from Couzin Taylor LLP in September 2012.

Work highlights Advised Safeway on the CAD5.8 billion sale of its Canadian operations to Sobeys.

Represented H&R REIT in its CAD2.75 billion acquisition of Primaris REIT and on its subsequent CAD1.28 billion sale of 18 Primaris properties.

Notable practitioners

Edwin Kroft QC leads the firm's tax controversy practice and is highly regarded as "one of the top people in his field in Canada." Clients say he "is very thorough and has a great way of condensing issues down to their essential parts."

Paul Tamaki is respected for the knowledge and insight with which he is able to approach new cases. His practice covers both contentious and non-contentious matters, and he recently represented CIT Financial before the Tax Court of Canada in a case concerning the taxability of certain types of payments.

Jeffrey Trossman is a "very capable and practical" practitioner who is noted for his international transactional work. In highlights, he led the team on the above mentioned cross-border Safeway transaction.

Robert Kopstein is based in Calgary, from where he focuses on natural resources taxation. Sources say he is "very knowledgeable and able to communicate complicated subjects well."  

Scott Wilkie joined the firm from Couzin Taylor LLP in September 2012. He advises on international tax planning, transfer pricing and tax treaties.

Kathleen Penny specialises in corporate and international tax, and is sought out by Canadian pension funds for advice on foreign investment.

Ron Richler is recognised for his focus on investment products. He also advises on tax in the context of M&A and restructuring.

Alexandra Brown joined the firm in August 2014 from Laishley Reed LLP. She is noted for her experience in representing Canadian taxpayers under a range of statutory regimes at the highest levels of court. Sources say: "She's terrific."

Significant clients Nexen, CIBC World Markets, ExxonMobil Canada, Mitsui & Co, Finning International.

Telecommunications - Canada

Basic facts about the department

- 7 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for A highly integrated, multidisciplinary department which stands out for its experience in matters involving both telecommunications and antitrust law. Regularly acts for foreign broadcasters in connection with Canadian entry requirements. Also advises Canadian internet access and wireless telephone service providers and radio and television companies. Offers additional expertise in media and defamation litigation.

Work highlights Acted for Bell Canada on its CAD1.1 billion acquisition of Q9 Networks.

Notable practitioners  

A key contact is department head Sunny Handa in Montréal. 

Significant clients Bell Canada, Tata Communications, XO Communications, Broadvox, UXP Systems.

Projects - Global-wide

What the team is known for Several offices in Canada lead an impressive international mining practice, with key partners in the UK, the USA, China and the Middle East also active in significant local and cross-border matters. The team is recognised for particular strength in Latin America.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "They're very experienced and responsive - they work really quickly."

Work highlights Advised Capstone Mining on its USD650 million acquisition of the Pinto Valley mine in Arizona from BHP Billiton.

Acted for Kinross Gold on its sale of a 50% interest in the Crixás mine in Brazil to AngloGold Ashanti for USD220 million.

Notable practitioners

John Wilkin in Toronto heads the firm's mining practice group. In Calgary, Michael Laffin chairs the Asia practice group, while David Glennie is a key partner based in London.

Significant clients BHP Billiton, Cliffs Natural Resources, Kinross Gold, Capstone Mining.

Corporate/M&A (International Firms) - India

Sunny Handa who is based in Montréal, leads on most of the firm's India-related transactions, including advising Indian clients on the management of their corporate interests in Canada. He is also an IT expert and has experience advising on M&A transactions for technology companies. 

As one of the top law firms in Canada, this India team is well equipped to advise Canadian companies on their investments in India. Key contact Sunny Handa heads the group, which has ten partners and one other qualified lawyer.  

Projects: Mining: Leading Canadian Firms - Latin America-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 35 partners
- 36 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Having one of the largest M&A groups in Canada with a corresponding focus on the biggest and most complex mining transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "This firm is a very respected firm in the field." 

Work highlights Represented Quadra FNX Mining in its CAD3.5 billion acquisition by KGHM Polska. 

Notable practitioners  

Vancouver-based Peter O'Callaghan handles corporate finance transactions, regulatory and stock exchange compliance work. He is hailed for his strong expertise for mining matters related to capital markets and his broad geographical focus.

David Glennie is a managing partner at the firm's London office and concentrates on international M&A and corporate finance. A key area of his expertise is natural resource transactions.

Bob Wooder has a strong reputation for the corporate finance and M&A work he handles for both private and public companies. Takeover bids and private equity financings are also areas of expertise.

Significant clients Kinross Gold, Solway Group, Aurizon Mines.

Dispute Resolution - Saudi Arabia

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.