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Canada: Banking 2016

The following 52 individuals rank as the top counsel for financial institutions in either regulatory or transactional matters.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Finance
John Torrey Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, Toronto
Michael Harquail Blake Cassels & Graydon, Toronto
Carol Pennycook Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Toronto
Stephen Furlan McCarthy Tétrault, Toronto
Regulatory
Blair Keefe Torys, Toronto
Dawn Jetten Blake Cassels & Graydon, Toronto

 Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg claims seven nominees for its banking practice. Carol Pennycook advises financial instructions on a wide range of financing transactions, including syndicated loans and securitisations. Respondents find her “smart”, “very incisive” and “definitely among the top five”. Jay Swartz is “a savvy dealmaker” who is very active in debt financing, advising borrowers and lenders in highly complex arrangements. The “first-rate” Scott Hyman covers a range of acquisition, asset-backed and structured finance transactions for lenders and borrowers. Meanwhile, Joel Scoler is definitely among “the top players in the market” – particularly in the asset-based lending space.

Blake Cassels & Graydon’s six nominees include Michael Harquail, a senior figure at the bar who is widely recognised among his peers as a pre-eminent name. He is active for both lenders and borrowers on high value credit facilities. Michael Matheson is seen as “one of the stars of the lending market” and “a go-to lawyer for banking clients”. Dawn Jetten is the leader of Blakes’ financial services regulatory practice, advising a number of global banking clients on regulatory, compliance and risk-management issues. Sources note that “she’s very well informed and forward-thinking”. Michael McIntosh QC stands out as an “excellent financing lawyer” and “an important player” with a portfolio including a number of large national and foreign banks.

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin’s top-ranking banking practice boasts the leading practitioner in our research. John Torrey is regularly seen on big transactions, advising lenders and borrowers on syndicated, secured and unsecured financings. As one peer surmises, “He is a top finance lawyer, very smart, practical and commercially minded.” Recently Torrey led the firm on a US$425 million credit facility on behalf of the Bank of Nova Scotia and a syndicate of lenders; he was supported by fellow nominee David Ferris, who is seen as “a rising star”. Meanwhile, Jonathan Levin is recognised as an eminent figure at the bar by peers, who describe him as “one of the best financing lawyers in the country” with “a strong portfolio of banking clients”. Also featured is Stephen Clark, a recent addition to the firm, who significantly bolsters its regulatory expertise.

McCarthy Tétrault’s prominence in the banking sector is undisputed with several top-ranking partners. Richard Higa has a broad financing practice, covering structured, acquisition and syndicated transactions. Clients view him favourably due to his “attention to detail and commercial focus”. Stephen Furlan often acts as lead counsel for lenders in a range of project financings with respondents citing his “very results-oriented approach”.

Torys’ financial services head Blair Keefe is one of the market’s top names in bank regulatory matters and many peers echo the sentiment that he is “right at the top of the class”. Head of the project finance practice Jonathan Weisz is seen as a definite inclusion for representing prominent lenders, such as Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Scotiabank, in large energy, infrastructure and mining project finance transactions. Adam Delean co-heads the banking practice, advising lenders and borrowers on bank credit facilities, debt finance and structured finance transactions. “He’s technically very gifted and I’d have no hesitation in recommending him to clients,” says one peer.

McMillan’s Andrew Kent acts for a number of the country’s top banks and is well-known in the sector. Respondents describe him as “a very tough and determined practitioner, as well as a brilliant technical lawyer”.

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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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W11 1QQ, UK