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Canada: Life Sciences 2016

A total of 58 individuals are listed in this chapter, including product liability, patent, regulatory and transactional lawyers with a special or exclusive emphasis on representing pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies.  Below we highlight some of the most highly regarded in the industry.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Gunars Gaikis Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh, Toronto
Harry Radomski Goodmans,Toronto
Patrick Kierans Norton Rose Fulbright, Toronto
Anthony Creber Gowling WLG, Ottawa
Andrew Shaughnessy Torys, Toronto

Torys, with six nominees, tops our listings in this chapter with a particularly broad base of legal expertise. Andrew Shaughnessy features prominently with peers and clients regarding him as a top-notch litigator, acting as lead counsel in some of the country’s most noteworthy patent infringement proceedings, including for Pfizer against the largest generic manufacturer in the country Apotex.  Clients particularly praise his “practical, solution oriented and innovative” approach to client partnering. Also ranking highly is Eileen McMahon, “one of the top drug regulatory lawyers in the country”, according to sources. William McNamara is a widely admired product liability lawyer, involved in some of the most significant case on the behalf of large pharmaceutical companies. Conor McCourt advises on the IP aspects of corporate, finance and licensing transactions in the industry. He is described as “the best drug pricing mind in Canada”. Sylvie Rodrigue is also nominated on the basis of her “excellent” drug and medical device liability practice.

Blake Cassels & Graydon is replete with talent in this sector. Gordon McKee features most highly at the firm for his “sensationally good” product liability practice. Regarded as the “dean of class action litigation”, McKee acts as lead counsel on some of the biggest drug and medical device liability cases before the Ontario courts. Alice Tseng is “the regulatory maestro at the firm”. According to one source, “She is very knowledgeable and business minded, ensuring the best path to market for your product”. Sheldon Burshtein focuses on the licensing and other transaction in the life sciences industry; he is referred to as “one of if not the best commercial IP lawyer in Canada” by peers. Jill Lawrie and Cheryl Satin complete the firm’s listings for their prominent product liability and transactional practices respectively.

Gowling WLG has a top-tier IP practice spearheaded by the “outstanding” Anthony Creber. Regarded as one of the top five patent litigators in the country by consensus, Creber regularly acts as lead counsel in complex biotech and pharmaceutical patent litigation. Product liability head Mary Thomson ranks highly for her practice. “She has a strong appreciation of scientific and technical matters” and she also “brings real gravitas to court”, say respondents. National life sciences group leader Jane Steinberg is a well-known name in the industry for her contentious IP practice. One source highlights, “She possesses tremendous foresight, anticipating and navigating problems with great assurance”. Christopher Van Barr is noted for his patent litigation practice often acting as first chair; a source observes, “He is smart and has great ability to think on his feet”. William Vanveen is recommended as “a brilliant specialist” in competition law settlement agreements for large pharmaceutical companies.

Norton Rose Fulbright provides a first-class IP practice for its life sciences clients. Patrick Kierans is widely seen as one of the best patent litigators in the country. Known as “a brilliant advocate”, Kierans acts as lead counsel for major pharmaceuticals, such as GSK, Merck and Alcon. Brian Gray also acts on pharmaceutical patent litigation with a reputation for being “a smart and strategically excellent counsel”. Meanwhile, Vanessa Grant is praised as one of the top corporate finance and commercial IP lawyers in the country.

Goodmans is a major force in life sciences patent litigation not least because of the “peerless” practice of Harry Radomski, who is described as “the dean of generic-side litigation”. Fellow nominees Richard Naiberg, Andrew Brodkin and Dino Clarizio also add very favourably to the firm’s standing in the market.

IP specialist Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh is well resourced in relation to leading patent litigators who have a focus on the life sciences sector. Gunars Gaikis receives wide-ranging endorsements in our research from respondents, one of whom states that he is “extremely good at understanding the legal and technical nuances of the cases, and seeing things other can’t”. Nancy Pei, Christopher Robinson and Steven Garland are also recognised names in life sciences patent litigation. 

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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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