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Canada: Environment 2016

This chapter highlights 62 leading lawyers for their exceptional work in the sector. We identify lawyers who provide environment advice to clients in transactional, litigation and regulatory matters such as compliance, strategic planning, environmental due diligence, liability and deal structuring. 

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Paul Cassidy McCarthy Tétrault, Vancouver
Dennis Mahony Torys, Toronto
Jonathan Kahn Blake Cassels & Graydon, Toronto
Sarah Powell Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Toronto
Leonard Griffiths Bennett Jones, Toronto

Gowling WLG boasts a strong five listings in our research this year. Harry Dahme is an “outstanding all-round lawyer” who possesses extensive experience representing clients in various proceedings in connection with environmental claims. Mark Madras is “an environment specialist” whose 40 years of experience allow him to deliver “insightful and informed counsel” on liability and regulation matters. Rod Northey is “the expert on federal environmental assessments”, according to sources, and is highly valued when assisting clients with the preparation and review of their regulatory strategies. The “superb” Jennifer Danahy counsels lenders and borrowers on sector-related corporate transactions. She is admired for her “commercial mindset”. Wally Braul possesses “fantastic advocacy skills”, which he frequently uses in litigation and regulatory proceedings concerning an array of complex environmental issues.

Blake Cassels & Graydon also achieves five nominations in this chapter. Environmental thought leader Jonathan Kahn is “one of the most prominent lawyers in the field”. His practice encompasses land contamination issues, the disposal of hazardous materials, permits and environmental regulation. He is joined by the “esteemed” Charles Kazaz who represents a range of major clients, including Novacap and Goldcorp, on complex transactional, regulatory and compliance issues. Tony Crossman is “an environmental risk expert”, and is well known among peers for his “analytical mind”. Dufferin Harper is a “standout regulatory practitioner” who also handles due diligence and liability matters, while Janice Walton is a “leader on endangered species law”, including related litigation and regulatory issues.

Four leading lawyers at Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers garner recognition, including Marc McAree, whose practice encompasses environment-related litigation, regulatory advice, compliance and transactional matters. The “terrifically talented” Charles Birchall possesses over 25 years of experience in the field, and is renowned among peers for his particular expertise in compliance, environmental assessments and contaminated land issues. Julie Abouchar is “a highly skilled litigator” whose advocacy experience includes both defence and appeals work before authorities such as the Environmental Review Tribunal. Donna Shier enjoys a fine reputation in the field for her highly regarded environment practice. Due diligence, liability and contaminated land management are just some of the areas in which she demonstrates expertise.

McCarthy Tétrault achieves three nominations including Douglas Hamilton, head of the national environmental group. He is particularly well versed in environment-related criminal matters. Co-head of the firm’s national environmental, regulatory and aboriginal group Paul Cassidy is “a terrific practitioner” in the area. His “prestigious practice” covers the whole gamut of environmental work, from regulatory counsel to litigation and project development work. “Top-notch litigator” Nicholas Hughes is experienced before trial and appellate courts in British Columbia. He also assists clients in hearings before the Environmental Appeal Board.

At Bennett Jones, co-head of the environmental group Leonard Griffiths is one of three lawyers who achieve recognition in this chapter. “One of the leading lawyers in Canada,” according to respondents, he is known for his “outstanding technical knowledge” of environmental regulatory law. Managing partner of the Vancouver office Radha Curpen is “an excellent litigator” who impresses with “her pragmatic approach”. Brad Gilmour has great experience representing companies and boards of directors in relation to prosecutions and regulatory issues such as breaches of operating permits, facility approvals and chemical leaks.

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg is represented by the “superb” Sarah Powell who concentrates her “distinguished practice” on environmental impact assessments, contaminated sites and environmental approvals. Alongside her, Alexandria Pike is commended for her market-leading work on environmental issues arising out of various transactions including M&A deals, securities offerings and real estate acquisitions.

At Torys the “standout” Dennis Mahony heads the firm’s environmental, health and safety practice. He features prominently in our research for his “stellar work” handling litigation, regulatory and health and safety work. Michael Fortier demonstrates “excellent technical skills” when advising clients on environmental assessments and permits. He is also highly experienced in issues relating to Aboriginal groups.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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