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Canada: Project Finance 2016

In this chapter, we identify 31 practitioners for their expertise advising sponsors and lenders in project finance and refinancing transactions. Given the centrality of the energy market in Canada, the vast majority of these lawyers will represent clients in the energy and natural resources sectors among others.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Brian Kelsall Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, Toronto
Michael Allen Farris Vaughan Wills & Murphy, Vancouver
Marc Dorion QC McCarthy Tétrault,Montreal
Erik Richer La Flèche Stikeman Elliott, Montreal
Richard Borden Norton Rose Fulbright,Calgary

McCarthy Tétrault jointly leads our research this year with an impressive six listings. In Montreal, co-leader of the firm’s national energy and infrastructure practice Marc Dorion QC receives widespread praise for his impressive practice focusing on the development and financing of major energy, natural resource and infrastructure projects in Québec. According to sources, “He is one of the go-to practitioners in the province.” In Toronto, David Lever leads the firm’s infrastructure practice, as well as the power industry group, and is commended for providing clients with “astute counsel”. Stephen Furlan garners praise for his practice focusing on advising lenders on the project financing of large energy and infrastructure projects, as well as PPP infrastructure financings. In the firm’s Vancouver office, Linda Brown comes highly recommended for her expertise advising lenders and borrowers on structured and project financing.

Blake Cassels & Graydon also impresses this year with six practitioners listed in the following pages. In Vancouver, Anne Stewart QC is recognised as a “first-rate practitioner” renowned for providing clients with “precise and top-quality advice”. She also has considerable contractual experience on major projects. In Montreal, Sébastien Vilder is a “very competent lawyer” with a strong track record in major project financings in Canada, Europe, Africa and Asia. Recently, Vilder acted for the lenders in a project financing of a 69 MW wind-farm project in Quebec. In Calgary, Michael McIntosh QC is praised for his impressive practice focusing on major project financings and cross-border structured financings in the energy and natural resources sectors. Toronto-based Simon Finch is a “highly intelligent lawyer” specialising in structuring and negotiating project financings. He is particularly experienced in the mining sector and has considerable experience advising on the Canadian aspects of multi-jurisdictional financings.

At Torys, five project finance specialists are singled out. Head of the firm’s project finance practice Jonathan Weisz is recognised as a “stand-out finance lawyer” with a prodigious practice focusing on project financing, development and secured lending in the mining, energy and infrastructure industries. According to one source, “Weisz has truly honed his craft.” Scott Kraag is praised by peers and clients alike for his “excellent deal-making capabilities”. Daniel Ford is a “top choice” for both lenders and borrowers in structured finance transactions, syndicated loans, bond and note financings.

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt is home to three excellent lawyers. Chris Bennett leads the firm’s financial services practice and is a key player in the Canadian market.  One source effuses: “Bennett is the lawyer I turn to when an innovative and creative solution is required; he doesn’t stop until he’s ironed out all the wrinkles.” In Calgary, Lorne Carson is praised for his specific insight and technical expertise in the oil and gas sector. Rocco Sebastiano is also recognised for his proficiency assisting both public sector authorities and private sector proponents on the financing of major infrastructure projects.

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg boast three inclusions in the research this year. Nicholas Williams is “a terrific lawyer” known for providing “on-the-button advice” and as “a calm and collected presence in tense negotiations”. Carol Pennycook acts for borrowers, arrangers and banking syndicates in large project financings and is praised for her “responsive and business-minded approach”. Jay Swartz completes the firm’s complement and is highly sought after for his “strong commercial awareness” and “deep links with many of Canada’s leading financial institutions”.

Stikeman Elliott’s Erik Richer La Flèche is a market-leading practitioner with over 30 years of experience advising corporations, lenders and governments on large capital projects in the mining, energy and electricity sectors. One respondent sums up market sentiment by noting , “He is a leader of the projects bar.” In the firm’s Toronto office, Marie Garneau is fast making an impression in the market for her impressive work representing both lenders and borrowers on an array of domestic and cross-border financings.

At Farris Vaughan Wills & Murphy, Michael Allen is held in the highest esteem by peers for his impressive practice acting for both lenders and borrowers in international project finance transactions in the mining, energy, forestry and telecommunications sectors.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Richard Borden is recognised as “one of the leading project finance lawyers in the country”. He is also highlighted for his strong industry contacts with lenders at the Canadian banks. 

Brian Kelsall of Fasken Martineau continues to be regarded as one of Canada's top project finance lawyers. His practice features an emphasis on energy, power and mining matters.

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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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