Canada’s Best Law Firms: meet the winners

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Meet the most recommended firms across 31 practice areas, from Aboriginal law to white-collar crime.


Aboriginal & Indigenous Law

Olthuis Kleer Townshend

Toronto, Yellowknife | 43 lawyers

Olthuis Kleer Townshend has some of the deepest expertise in Aboriginal law in the country, including treaty rights, land claims, legislation, self-governance, human rights, business law and economic development, plus litigation. OKT lawyers represent the Saugeen Ojibway Nation in an ongoing case over water and land claims relating to 1.5 million acres, including the Bruce (Saugeen) Peninsula. The firm also acted for First Nations in a now-settled class action over drinking-water advisories on reserves across the country. The firm is committed to training and developing Indigenous lawyers, and many of its practitioners hail from Indigenous communities, including managing partner Renée Pelletier. Justice Harry Laforme, the first Indigenous judge at the Ontario Court of Appeal, is a senior counsel at OKT.


Administrative & Public Law

Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein

Toronto | 50 lawyers

Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein’s lawyers have played prominent roles in some of the most high-profile public inquiries in Ontario, frequently as counsel to the commissioner or leading the inquiries. The firm includes noted litigators Linda Rothstein, Chris Paliare, Jean-Claude Killey and Rob Centa, who’ve participated in significant proceedings, including the Ottawa LRT, Walkerton, Ipperwash and pediatric forensic pathology inquiries. The boutique litigation firm is also often called in by other firms to resolve internal disputes and works with regulators on professional misconduct cases.


Banking & Finance | Competition, Antitrust & Foreign Investments | Corporate & Commercial | Infrastructure Projects | White-Collar Crime

Blake, Cassels & Graydon

Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, New York, London | 750 lawyers

Blake, Cassels & Graydon is one of Canada’s most storied firms—it was founded in 1856—and consistently ranks No. 1 in the broad area of corporate and commercial law. Its financial services practice, led by Paul Belanger, is one of the largest in the country, counting most of Canada’s big banks as clients (CIBC has been a client since Edward Blake incorporated its first iteration in 1867). Last year, the group represented RBC when it acquired HSBC Canada.

Blakes’ competition, antitrust and foreign investment team has a track record in high-value, multijurisdictional merger-clearance filings, and advises on foreign direct investment filings, antitrust inquiries related to price-fixing cartels, and abuse-of-dominance cases at the Competition Bureau. It was Canadian counsel to VMWare on aspects of its US$61-billion acquisition by Broadcom.

The firm’s integrated corporate-commercial team has clients in key sectors, including automotive, food, retail and tech, dispensing advice on governance, mergers and acquisitions, procurement and more. The team includes John-Paul Bogden in Vancouver, who works with tech clients on domestic and cross-border M&A deals, and Calgary litigator David Tupper.

Blakes also specializes in domestic, cross-border and international large-scale infrastructure and public-private partnership (P3) transactions, including transit, roads, bridges, ports, health care, power, water and waste, airports, telecom and more.

Blakes’ business crimes, investigations and compliance practice, meanwhile, has significant experience defending white-collar-crime enforcement actions, conducting domestic and multijurisdictional internal investigations, defending against class-action litigation resulting from white-collar prosecutions, and designing and assessing compliance programs. The 27-lawyer team, led by Calgary partner Mark Morrison, is noted for its expertise relating to corruption of foreign public officials. Morrison was recently appointed independent compliance monitor in criminal cases involving SNC-Lavalin’s activities in Libya and in connection with the refurbishment of Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Bridge.

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Cannabis

Cassels Brock & Blackwell

Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto | 325 lawyers

Cassels Brock & Blackwell’s 35-strong cannabis team offers a broad range of commercial advice, from intellectual property to securities law, regulatory issues, financing, branding and celebrity endorsements. At the forefront is group co-chair Jonathan Sherman, who acts for Canopy Growth on corporate, commercial, securities and M&A matters, with transactions valued at more than $5 billion. Cassels also advised Leef Holdings in a US$120-million reverse acquisition by Icanic Brands.


Capital Markets | Mergers & Acquisitions | Private Equity & Investments

Stikeman Elliott

Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, New York, London, Sydney | 550 lawyers

Stikeman Elliott is frequently involved in some of Canada’s largest debt and equity offerings, with securities expertise in private placements for early-stage issuers through to complex multijurisdictional public equity and debt offerings. According to the firm, Stikeman pioneered a number of novel securities structures for the Canadian market, including some of the earliest REITs, income funds and special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

Its active M&A team, meanwhile, has acted on many of the country’s largest transactions, both contested and friendly, including Teck’s recently announced sale of its steelmaking coal assets to Swiss giant Glencore. Clients of its private equity group include venture capital and pension funds, merchant banks, hedge funds and investors, as well as founders and management teams seeking investors.

Some of its corporate practitioners include chair Jeffrey Singer, and John Laffin and Jeff Hershenfield, who co-lead its capital markets and public M&A group.


Construction | Cyber Security & Data Protection | Transportation

Borden Ladner Gervais

Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal | 800+ lawyers

Borden Ladner Gervais—created in 2000 through the merger of five storied firms—is one of the country’s largest full-service business firms. Its 71-lawyer construction law group handles all aspects of the industry, including infrastructure, P3s and large commercial projects, as well as related disputes. Led by Calgary’s Patricia Morrison, the group’s clients include project owners, engineers, architects, insurers, contractors, suppliers, developers and financial institutions. A few examples: BC Hydro, Canada Infrastructure Bank and NouvLR, the group building Montreal’s light-rail system.

Its 50-lawyer cyber, privacy and data protection group—co-led by Daniel Michaluk in Toronto and Bradley Freedman in Vancouver—has extensive experience in cyber-risk and crisis management for financial and academic institutions, and technology, entertainment and retail companies.

BLG notes it’s the only firm in Canada with a fully integrated national transportation practice, a multidisciplinary team of 65-plus lawyers recognized for its work in disputes, regulatory, environmental and transactional aspects of all modes of transportation, including autonomous vehicles. It serves major railways, urban transit authorities, shipping lines, trucking companies, marine terminals, insurers and airlines.


Criminal Law

Addario Law Group

Toronto | 9 lawyers

Defence counsel Frank Addario’s eponymous firm practices criminal, regulatory and constitutional law, representing clients during investigations, at trial and on appeal. Addario has acted on dozens of high-profile cases; last year, he won acquittal for former CannTrust Holdings CEO Peter Aceto on fraud and securities offences. He also represented intervenor Criminal Lawyers’ Association in one of the most impactful Supreme Court of Canada cases, R. v. Jordan, which introduced a new set of timelines for the hearing of criminal cases in Canada.


Dispute Resolution (Litigation, Arbitration & Investigations)

Lenczner Slaght

Toronto | 90+ lawyers

Lenczner Slaght is a go-to firm for complex and bet-the-company litigation, with leading practitioners like Tom Curry, Peter Griffin, managing partner Monique Jilesen and former Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie on the roster. Its lawyers litigate at every level in a wide range of areas, and it has governments, financial institutions, public authorities, corporations, boards and commissions as clients. The firm consistently innovates through both technology (Data-Driven Decisions and commerciallist.com) and diversity and inclusion (ReferToHer, resumé anonymization in hiring).


Energy & Natural Resources (Mining, Oil & Gas)

Bennett Jones

Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto,Ottawa, Montreal, New York | 500+ lawyers

Bennett Jones—founded in 1922 by future prime minister R.B. Bennett—has been involved in almost every major energy development project in Canada in the past 20 years, from oil and gas to renewables, in areas including litigation, financing, real estate, labour, regulatory and Indigenous law issues. Its team includes highly respected energy partner Patrick Maguire, and the firm counts Canadian power giant Atco as a long-time client, a subsidiary of which recently signed a landmark energy partnership with the Chiniki and Goodstoney First Nations.


Environment

Gowling (Canada) WLG

Vancouver, Calgary, Waterloo, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal | 788 lawyers

Gowling WLG’s Canadian environmental law group is known domestically and internationally for its work on climate change, environmental negotiations and litigation, due diligence and risk assessments, regulatory compliance, waste management, and transportation of dangerous goods. Its climate and environmental group, which includes 30-plus lawyers, also works with many Indigenous organizations. The group is led by Adam Chamberlain, who has extensive experience in the Arctic, and includes Rod Northey, who was just retained by the city of Burlington, Ont., to oppose expansion of a gravel pit on the Niagara Escarpment. The international firm has offices in 19 cities across nine countries and three continents.

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Family Law

Epstein Cole

Toronto | 29 lawyers

Epstein Cole, founded in 1978, is the largest family law firm in Canada, with an international reputation for handling sophisticated and difficult matters ranging from complex trust, property and support issues to international child mobility and abduction cases. Epstein Cole’s lawyers have argued cases up to the Supreme Court of Canada, including, most recently, one about the best interests of the child and, notably, on the case that led to legalized same-sex marriage.


Health Care & Life Sciences

Rosen Sunshine

Toronto | 6 lawyers

Founding partners Lonny Rosen and Elyse Sunshine opened their unique health and regulatory boutique firm in 2011. The duo has practised together since 1999 and are passionate experts in their field. Their small but mighty firm advises clients in the health and regulatory sectors, including professionals, health care providers, associations and regulators, and it frequently handles cases of alleged misconduct and privacy breaches before tribunals and courts. Sunshine also serves as the independent complaints review officer for the Ontario Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority.


Human Rights

Cavalluzzo

Toronto | 30 lawyers

Cavaluzzo was founded in 1983 by Paul Cavalluzzo, Jim Hayes and Elizabeth Shilton with a commitment to social justice and equality. It has boasted some of the country’s top human rights, labour, employment and feminist lawyers, and has been involved in many groundbreaking human rights cases addressing racial and gender-based discrimination, and other equality-rights issues. Partners Cavalluzzo and Adrienne Telford represented multiple parties in a case where the Ontario Court of Appeal this year struck down as unconstitutional the Ford government’s restrictions on third-party spending limits in elections. The firm was also counsel to the Association of Ontario Midwives in a precedent-setting appeal in 2022 on systemic gender pay discrimination in Ontario.


Immigration

Green & Spiegel

Toronto; Cleveland; Philadelphia; Providence, RI; Vail, Co.; Amsterdam | 20+ lawyers

Green & Spiegel is Canada’s oldest immigration law practice, providing a full range of Canadian and American personal and corporate immigration services for employers, temporary workers, individuals and their families. Led by senior partners Evan and Stephan Green, the firm was co-counsel for Thanh Tam Tran in the 2017 Supreme Court case that ruled conditional sentences don’t count as jail time in cases where permanent residents convicted of a crime face the loss of their status in Canada.


Insurance

Clyde & Co.

Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal | 2,400 lawyers worldwide

Clyde & Co.’s Canadian wing is part of a global firm with 60 offices on six continents and is a key part of its global insurance and construction practices. Clyde & Co. launched in Canada in 2011 through a merger with boutique firm Nicholl Paskell-Mede. Since then, it has become a leader in coverage, litigation, corporate and regulatory matters for domestic and international insurers, as well as gaining a strong reputation for professional defence. Montreal-based litigator Carolena Gordon is the firm’s senior partner, the first woman and person outside the U.K. to hold that top management position.


Intellectual Property

Smart & Biggar

Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal | 125+ lawyers

Canada’s largest IP firm recently got even bigger through a 2022 merger with Ridout & Maybee. The two firms, both dating back to the 1890s, are now part of the Australian publicly traded patent and trademark group IPH Ltd. The firm says it has filed more patent and trademark applications than any Canadian firm. Its stellar lineup includes IP strategist Daphne Lainson and litigator Steven Garland, who represented Dow Chemical all the way to the Supreme Court in the largest Canadian patent infringement award in history.


International Trade | Real Estate | Technology

McCarthy Tétrault

Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, New York, London | 700+ lawyers

Recognized as one of the top international trade-law practices in the country, McCarthy advises on trade remedies such as anti-dumping and countervailing actions, customs and tariff regulation, government procurement, anti-bribery legislation, and import and export transaction controls and trade embargoes. The team is led by John Boscariol, whose expertise makes him a sought-after speaker and writer on international trade–related issues.

McCarthy’s commercial real estate group—consistently ranked as the best in Canada—advises on a complete spectrum of real estate transactions, from purchase and sales to leasing, financing and development for REITs, private investors, financial institutions and pension plans. Group leader John Currie’s clients include Slate Asset Management, RBC and Scotiabank.

The firm’s technology group acts for a broad array of players in software, hardware, e-commerce, fintech, aeronautics, biotech, life sciences, IT services and data management. Christine Ing heads the group and was part of the team that recently advised Corus Entertainment on the $147.5-million sale of subsidiary Toon Boom Animation to Integrated Media. The group also includes Barry Sookman, one of the country’s pre-eminent authorities on IT and intellectual property law.


Labour & Employment

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin

Vancouver, Surrey, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, London, Johannesburg | 950+ lawyers

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin is not only Canada’s largest law firm but also boasts one of the biggest national labour and employment practices, co-led by partners David Wong in Vancouver, Karen Sargeant in Toronto and Stéphane Fillion in Montreal. The 132-lawyer team helps clients with collective agreements, risk management and compliance programs, as well as representing clients like Air Canada before tribunals and courts. The group also plays a key role in deals, both national and cross-border, for clients like Pierre Karl Péladeau in Quebecor’s March purchase of the Montreal Alouettes football club.


Media, Entertainment & Sport

Goodmans

Toronto | 200 lawyers

Goodmans, established in 1917, has one of the leading practices in Canada dedicated exclusively to film and television, sports, digital media and book publishing. The firm provides advice, including financing, mergers and intellectual property, for studios such as Amazon, Paramount, Warner Bros. Discovery, Disney, Netflix and Apple. Canadians represented include Bell Media, Blink49 Studios, Corus Entertainment and the Writers Guild of Canada. David Zitzerman, who has practised entertainment law exclusively for 25 years, heads the group.


Restructuring & Insolvency

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt

Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, New York | 450+ lawyers

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt’s restructuring and insolvency team advises all players in complex business-critical matters, from purchasers of distressed assets and loans to bondholders, directors, senior executives, in-house lawyers and investors. Marc Wasserman, national chair of the 46-lawyer group, has clients including Credit Suisse, Sears Canada and Just Energy Group. Also on the team are highly regarded partners Tracy Sandler, who has handled mandates for Target, GM and Canwest, and Montreal office managing partner Sandra Abitan. As for the firm overall, its roots date back to pre-Confederation days.


Tax

Thorsteinssons

Toronto, Vancouver | 60+ lawyers

Thorsteinssons is the largest firm in Canada that practises nothing but tax law, from tax planning to compliance, and at all levels of court. Its clients include multinationals in a broad range of industries, including aerospace, defence, pharmaceuticals, financial services and natural resources. Thorsteinssons’ team includes top-ranked tax litigator Matthew Williams, who recently represented the Canadian Bankers Association in the Supreme Court case Canada v. Loblaw Financial Holdings, about taxes on income earned by foreign subsidiaries.

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Methodology

Nearly 25,000 lawyers, along with in-house counsel and legal executives across Canada, were actively invited to take part in the survey. The sample was collected via research conducted by Statista on company websites and other publicly available sources. Invitations were sent by email with a one-use-only personalized link.

In addition, lawyers and clients could participate via an open link. In these cases, the participants were required to validate themselves by providing a personal company email address before their answers were included in the evaluation.

The survey, available in English and French, was conducted online between May 16 and July 11, 2023, and more than 3,100 practitioners responded. Statista recorded more than 10,000 recommendations for firms in the different fields of law. Self-recommendations (or recommendations of one’s own law firm) were prohibited, and these recommendations were not included.

The participants were also asked to answer some optional editorial questions. There was also an opportunity to answer questions specifically focused on developments in the Canadian legal world.

Canada’s best law firms were identified in 31 different fields, based on the number of recommendations they received for a respective legal field.

The lists of the top law firms in the various categories were determined after careful examination, based on the available data. The research team endeavoured to be as complete in its reach as possible, within reasonable means. To view the complete list of winners, please visit tgam.ca/bestlawfirms.

About Statista: Statista publishes worldwide established rankings and company listings with high-profile media partners. This research and analysis service is based on the success of statista.com, a leading data and business intelligence portal that provides statistics, business-relevant data, and various market and consumer studies and surveys. For information about the methodology, please contact [email protected]. To license the award logo, please contact [email protected].