CRAWLEY MACKEWN BRUSH
At Toronto securities-focused boutique, Melissa MacKewn is noted by a client as someone who “has a lot of experience with the Ontario Securities Commission. She understands the need for a balanced approach with them and she is conscious of keeping the whole litigation process effective and cost efficient.” MacKewn is equally praised by peers on both the plaintiff and defense side of the “V.” “I wish she was here [at our firm!],” confides one peer.
Tracey Cohen, a commercial litigator in Fasken’s Vancouver office with a diverse practice, is touted as “one of the most quickly escalating presences in the province,” with one peer noting, “Tracey has a flair for making a client feel very cared for and protected, and if you’re against her, she can be ferocious and tough as nails.” Another competitor calls Cohen “a real leader in the business these days. She has really worked her way to the top.” Cohen represents Eastern Platinum Limited and its subsidiaries in an action commenced by them in the British Columbia Supreme Court against the former officers and directors of the companies as a result of questionable payments pursuant to a change of control of the board that occurred in 2016. Karen Wyke in Fasken’s Calgary office is a favorite of peers. One advises, “Pay more attention to her! She is a fierce litigator doing some big cases that people are sort of watching at the moment. She is doing a giant arbitration for an Italian client.”
Bernice Bowley is one of the leading litigators at Winnipeg’s Fillmore Riley. Typically touted for her prominence in the firm’s celebrated insurance practice, she has also raised her profile in other areas, namely the municipal law area. “Bernice is our counsel of choice,” confirms a client. “She has a wide range of experience and has the ability to adapt to the many different situations in which we become involved.”
Audrey Boctor, who began her career at Cleary Gottlieb in New York and joined Montréal’s IMK in 2010, is a generalist, who is engaged in a lot of enforcement of arbitration awards, corporate commercial work and appellate work. Among other matters, Boctor led the Canadian Vaping Association in a successful challenge to the constitutionality of provisions governing the testing and promotion of vaping in Québec.
Calgary-based Tammy Coates is the initial driving force behind Lawson Lundell’s push into the Alberta market. A recent recipient of the prestigious “Queen’s Counsel” designation, Coates has kept busy with a range of disputes for a number of major Canadian telecoms entities as well as a professional liability matter.
LAX O’SULLIVAN LISUS GOTTLIEB
Nadia Campion is recognized by the Toronto legal community as one of brightest young stars at litigation boutique Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb. She was part of a firm team that, in March 2019, was appointed as counsel to the Honorable Warren Winkler, who is the Court Appointed Mediator in the Imperial Tobacco Limited, JTI-MacDonald and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. CCAA proceedings, to mediate a global resolution of the ongoing tobacco litigation which involves claims totalling almost $1 trillion in Canada. She also was on a firm team that represented the Sackler family in the CCAA proceedings of Purdue Pharma.
PALIARE ROLAND ROSENBERG ROTHSTEIN
Megan Shortreed, who manages a varied practice at Paliare Roland that touches on product liability and professional (including medical) liability, acts for a physician practicing out of the Wise Elephant Family Health Team in Brampton, Ontario. The client alleges that his former colleagues in the family practice engaged in extensive fraud involving Ontario Ministry of Health funds designated for the medical practice (approximately $3 million). The client seeks damages for the misappropriated fund, and for various other torts that address intentional wrongs committed by the former colleagues and their respective medical professional corporations. Linda Rothstein attends to a diverse practice encompassing trial and appellate work. She acted as lead counsel in an appeal from a partial summary judgment order concerning the availability of the tort of conspiracy in the family law context.
Shantona Chaudhury, who joined barrister Paul Pape’s firm in 2009 as a brand-new lawyer, has blossomed into one of Toronto’s most promising young litigators and is today one of Pape Chaudhury’s name partners. “Shantona is the real deal, you don’t get to work beside Paul Pape AND especially get your name on the door unless you can deliver,” testifies a peer. Chaudhury has been retained on a tribunal hearing lasting into 2020, as well as certain class-action cases, which are typically, but not exclusively, in the plaintiff capacity. Chaudhury is also acting for the Law Society of Ontario. The international arbitration team has acted for clients in the financial services, construction and technology sectors in different arbitration centres including representing the Republic of Korea as the state respondent in the first-ever investment treaty-based arbitration.
SINGLETON URQUHART REYNOLDS VOGEL
Sharon Vogel is one of two senior partners of the Toronto office of Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel and is considered one of Canada’s foremost authorities on construction law. A client notes, “Sharon is very knowledgeable, an expert in her field and has a great reputation within the construction industry. She always made herself available to respond to [my] questions within tight timeframes.” Vogel represents the City of Ottawa in a matter concerning allegations of delays and service problems associated with the construction of the City’s $2.1 billion light rail transit system, known as the “O-Train.” Vogel has also been retained by Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario to provide ongoing advice in relation to the completion of the $5.3 billion Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit system and to manage the various disputes that have arisen on the project.
Luisa Ritacca has made considerable headway within the Toronto litigation boutique Stockwoods and is now the Managing Partner. “That was a smart move,” voices a peer, referring to Ritacca’s appointment. “Luisa has her finger on the pulse of what’s happening at the firm as well as in the community. Although she may have to spend more time managing now, she is also still a great litigator, particularly in administrative law and advisory work.”
THORNTON GROUT FINNIGAN
DJ Miller is a routinely recognized insolvency leader at Thornton Grout Finnigan in Toronto and a favorite of peers and clients. “DJ is a serious, black-letter insolvency lawyer,” confirms one such appreciative client. Miller is one half of a firm team representing OMERS Realty Corporation, who retained the pair to argue an appeal from a lower court decision which denied a commercial landlord access to the full amount of a letter of credit it had secured from the tenant’s bank as security for loss and damage caused to the landlord as a result of the tenant’s breach of the lease or disclaimer of the lease in bankruptcy. Miller also acted as counsel to Ernst & Young in its capacity as Monitor of Peraso Technologies in proceedings commenced under the CCAA in June 2020.
Margaret Waddell, one of the name partners of Toronto shop Waddell Phillips, launched the firm as a purely litigation-centric boutique free to take on a diverse spectrum of work in either the plaintiff or defense capacities. A peer testifies, “Marg Waddell was a star at [her previous firm], which is a great litigation boutique in its own right, and so she’s sure to bring that same energy to this firm. And she has youth on her side, which brings great ‘upside’ to the firm.” Waddell is lead counsel for plaintiffs in an ongoing case concerning the approval of a unique form of third-party funding, with an underlying issue of defective medical device and failure to warn. She is also lead counsel in an ongoing case concerning systemic negligence and breach of fiduciary duty regarding a teacher at an esteemed ballet school taking nude photographs of students and selling them online. More recently, Waddell filed another class action against a local neurologist who allegedly kept video cameras in his facility that were purportedly used for “before-and-after” breast augmentation photos but then were distributed without consent. A peer supports Waddell’s stature, “She was on the other side of a securities class action from us, and we found her bright, thoughtful and credible. She has the respect of the bench, which is incredibly important on the plaintiff side. She had a big win in the Winnipeg Ballet action, which I believe was the first win in her new space.”
Sarah Woods at the Montréal litigation boutique Woods is representing an executive in a matter valued at $300 million in which plaintiffs filed an application for authorization to institute a class action on behalf of any person who acquired one or more securities of the Laurentian Bank of Canada between a window of dates spanning 2017 and 2018 for the purpose of obtaining compensation for the loss in value of their shares allegedly resulting from the defendants’ breaches of their duty of care. Sarah Woods is also increasingly active in the class-action capacity, notably on the plaintiff side, in several lightning-rod matters. She is involved in one against certain Watch Tower entities in relation to alleged sexual assaults within the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization, as well as in relation to the alleged mishandling of these sexual assaults. She also is acting as plaintiff’s counsel for the proposed class seeking authorization to institute a class action against Uber Canada in relation to the events of October 2016, during which personal information provided by users and drivers, collected, held, retained and used by Uber was made accessible to unauthorized persons, namely two hackers. Caroline Biron attends to a practice that largely focuses on commercial litigation but also touches on other areas. As an example, she acted as lead counsel in a matter in which the former director and chief curator of the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is suing her ex-employer for $2 million over an alleged defamation campaign undertaken by the MMFA’s Board of Directors in the context of the client’s sudden and allegedly abusive termination.
Janice Wright, one of the name partners of Toronto litigation boutique Wright Temelini, is a favorite of peers. “She does quite a few insider trading cases. If I had a white-collar case, she would be my first call.” Wright’s reputation extends to the bench as well; “Janice is old school, and she has enough credibility with judges to get away with her no-bullshit demeanor.”