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Canada: Energy 2016

A total of 98 practitioners are highlighted in this chapter; they all have a proven track record of representing and advising major energy companies and financiers on matters related to the exploration, production, marketing and transportation of all types of energy including oil, gas, nuclear and renewables. In addition, practitioners often have global expertise of the industry’s regulatory framework and contractual agreements. Below we highlight some of the most highly regarded practitioners in the industry.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
1. Michael Laffin Blake Cassels & Graydon, Calgary
2. Michael Hurst Dentons, Calgary
3. John Cuthbertson QCC Burnet Duckworth & Palmer, Calgary
4. Patrick Maguire Bennett Jones, Calgary
5. Janice Buckingham Osler Hoskin & Harcourt, Calgary
6. Alicia Quesnel Burnet Duckworth & Palmer, Calgary
7. Chad Schneider Blake Cassels & Graydon, Calgary
8. Sandy Carpenter Blake Cassels & Graydon,Calgary
9. Peter Keohane Blake Cassels & Graydon, Calgary
10. Donald Greenfield QC Bennett Jones, Calgary

Blake Cassels & Graydon leads the way in our research with an impressive 13 listings. Michael Laffin comes top of our research into this sector for his “renowned practice”. He advises national and international oil and gas companies on a broad range of matters. Chad Schneider focuses his practice on transactions within the energy sector and has specific experience handling private equity-related transactions. Clients praise him for his “resourcefulness” and “sharp focus”. Sandy Carpenter is described as a “major player in the market” due to over 25 years of experience advising and representing Canada’s leading natural resources and energy companies. He is known for his “phenomenal legal skills.” The “terrific” Peter Keohane impresses clients with his “fantastic understanding of business needs”. He focuses his practice on advising clients in the power sector, acting for leading domestic and international power generation asset developers and operators. Mungo Hardwicke-Brown is described by clients as “an exceptional lawyer”, dedicating his practice to the natural resources and infrastructure industries. He is particularly commended for his “extremely practical knowledge of the regional energy market”. Kemm Yates QC has been described as one of the top regulatory and disputes lawyers in this sector. Brock Gibson QC also has a fantastic reputation in the industry, with a prominent portfolio oil and gas companies.

Bennett Jones follows closely behind in our research with 12 practitioners highlighted for the quality for their work. Patrick Maguire is considered “one of the country’s leading energy lawyers”. He is particularly praised for his “high-quality work” assisting energy companies with project development. Donald Greenfield QC stands out as “incredibly clever, tough and deadline-oriented”. His clientele includes international production and exploration companies, as well as entities involved in the upstream and midstream market. The “highly capable” Robert Booth QC has a reputation as a “brilliant advocate and fine strategist”, acting for major clients in both upstream and midstream activities. Lawrence Smith QC receives praise for his “easy-to-digest and practical advice”. As a “first-class advocate” he regularly advises Alberta’s largest gas distributor in relation to regulatory issues. Michael Barrett is internationally well known and “widely respected” for his high-calibre work assisting domestic and international developers, investors and suppliers in relation to energy projects across Canada and elsewhere. Darrell Peterson has a “fantastically sharp mind and is extremely effective”. He has a transaction-based practice, acting for significant clients across the natural resources sector.

Eleven notable practitioners are identified from Torys. Chris Christopher advises oil and gas and power companies who praise him for his “tremendous business understanding” and ensuing “personalised legal advice”. Krista Hill is known for possessing “pragmatism” and “creativity”. She concentrates on advising both national and international clients in relation to their project developments and M&A transactions. Charles Keizer centres his practice on a broad range corporate and commercial law in the energy sector. He receives particular recognition in our research for having a “collaborative manner that pushes deals through”. Tony Cioni comes recommended by clients for his “wealth of knowledge and experience”, drawing on over two decades of international practice on matters relating to exploration, production and construction in more than 27 different countries. Ronald Deyholos is known as a “splendid professional”, advising clients on all aspects of the development and operation of domestic energy projects. Derek Flaman is well known for handling complicated M&A and joint venture agreements in the energy sector. Clients describe him as “invaluable for providing a real-world assessment of legal issues and risks”. 

From Stikeman Elliott nine individuals are recognised for their contribution to the energy legal sector in Canada. Christopher Nixon is a “key industry player” representing, among others, oil and gas exploration companies across Canada, the US, Europe and Asia. Chipman Johnston is praised for “understanding the entrepreneurial intent of his client” and for guiding clients through “complex and difficult negotiations”, especially with regard to corporate transactions in the sector. Chrysten Perry is highly sought after by clients for her “invaluable sector experience” from over 25 years of practice in the oil and gas sector. Frederick Erickson is regarded as “one of the most knowledgeable and experienced” practitioners in the industry. His practice is both transactional and advisory, representing major producers, midstream companies and financial entities in relation to significant matters in the upstream oil and gas, and NGL industries. Leland Corbett is “technically brilliant”. He is particularly active in financing and capital markets transactions across the energy sector.

Burnet Duckworth & Palmer features prominently in our research and is home to two of the most highly regarded practitioners. The “brilliant” John Cuthbertson QC is well regarded by peers who have acted as counterparty to him, saying he “drives transactions forward”. His practice involves handling intricate negotiations of a broad range of energy contracts. He also has particular experience acting as an arbitrator for complex energy disputes. Alicia Quesnel specialises in commercial transactions in the energy sector including M&A, divestitures, commercial and corporate restructurings as well as energy project development. She is recommended for “always offering a straightforward and considered approach to difficult issues”.

At Dentons, Michael Hurst impresses with one prominent client describing him as “the best in the oil and gas field”. His transactional practice includes advising companies in the oil and gas upstream and midstream, financing transactions and structuring greenfield projects.

Janice Buckingham at Osler Hoskin & Harcourt is praised for “consistently providing the highest quality of advice” by sources. She has experience advising on complex energy projects across Canada involving the production, transportation and storage of energy, including their development, acquisition and divestiture.

James Smellie at Gowlings is considered “among the very top energy lawyers in Canada”; he specialises in handling complex regulatory issues.

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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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