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Canada: Construction 2016

In this chapter, we highlight the country’s leading construction practitioners. We have selected 41 specialists with proven expertise in representing a range of clients, including owners, contractors and subcontractors in both contentious and non-contentious work.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Helmut Johannsen Singleton Urquhart, Vancouver
Duncan Glaholt Glaholt, Toronto
Olivier Kott Norton Rose Fulbright, Montreal
William Kenny QC Miller Thomson, Calgary
Bruce Reynolds Borden Ladner Gervais, Toronto

 Borden Ladner Gervais is streets ahead of the competition in this year’s research, boasting an outstanding nine listings. Chair of the international construction projects group Bruce Reynolds comes highly recommended for his prestigious practice focusing on the resolution of construction disputes through litigation, arbitration and mediation. “He is a leading light with a deep pool of industry knowledge,” says one respondent. National practice leader Sharon Vogel is very active in construction disputes; respondents are impressed by the “sophistication and clarity” of her arguments. Seasoned veteran Richard Shaban is an authority on both front and back-end construction work. Sources highlight his “vast experience” and “commercial awareness”. The “fantastic” Ian Houston is known for providing clients with an exceptionally high level of service. In Vancouver, peers and clients alike praise Christopher O’Connor QC’s prowess in the courtroom, with one source noting, “He is one of the first ports of call for a construction dispute or delay claims”. In Calgary, the “outstanding” Jeffrey Vallis QC is held in high esteem by peers for high-value, complex disputes involving construction and engineering projects. In Montreal, Simon Grégoire is a disputes specialist with a distinguished track record in complex construction litigation and arbitration. Sources consider him “a compelling and potent advocate”. The “terrific” Yvan Houle is a recognisable name with a history of providing clients with “top-drawer service across the board” on large construction and infrastructure projects. Daniel Ayotte is a recognised disputes specialist noted for his “ability to cut right to the heart of the issue”.

Three practitioners represent Norton Rose Fulbright. In Ottawa, Dan Leduc is praised for his “deep understanding of Canadian construction law” and his “flexibility and adaptability in high-stakes construction disputes”. The firm’s Montreal office is home to Olivier Kott, “a longstanding devotee to the construction bar”, who garners praise for eminent disputes practice. Also in Montreal, Bernard Quinn is recognised for his impressive practice covering construction disputes and a diverse array of front-end work including drafting construction and professional services agreements. Recently, Quinn advised an owner on the drafting and review of contract documents for the construction of a natural gas pipeline in Quebec.

Singleton Urquhart is home to two outstanding individuals. Founder and managing partner John Singleton QC is a celebrated construction disputes specialist with over 45 years of experience acting for insurers, architects, engineers, contractors and owners in complex, high-profile cases. One respondent sums up market sentiment by stating, “Singleton is a pioneering figure in Canadian construction law.” Helmut Johannsen is held in high regard by peers and clients alike; one observer praises his synthesis of “technical excellence” and “deep industry insight”.

The prestigious William Kenny QC represents Miller Thomson and is commended for his practice focusing on civil and regulatory litigation and alternative forms of dispute resolution in the construction space. According to one respondent, his “reputation speaks for itself”, while another refers to him as “one of the deans of the construction bar in Canada”. Joining him in Edmonton, Scott Hammel QC is a renowned litigator blessed with intimate industry knowledge stemming from his background in mechanical engineering.

At Dentons, two practitioners are singled out. Vancouver lead and national co-chair of the firm’s infrastructure and PPP group John Haythorne is commended for his “fantastic practice” focusing on the negotiation, drafting and advising on contracts in construction, engineering and infrastructure. Karen Martin joins him in the firm’s Vancouver office and is praised by sources for her “excellent awareness and understanding of technical issues” and her “pragmatic approach”.

At Glaholt, founding partner Duncan Glaholt is deemed a “definite inclusion” by peers thanks to his “credibility, longevity and superior abilities”. A disputes specialist, Glaholt is a skilled litigator, mediator and arbitrator and also has experience chairing dispute review boards and acting as a monitor and referee of construction disputes.

Kirsh Construction ADR Services’ founder Harvey Kirsh is recommended for his immense understanding of the market: “There are not many better equipped to handle complex disputes,” says one respondent.

Goodmans’ Howard Wise is recognised for his construction law and commercial litigation expertise which sees him represent owners, general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and lenders in high-profile, complex construction disputes.

At Cassels Brock & Blackwell’s Toronto office, the “excellent” Matthew Alter is a contractual specialist with considerable expertise in contract drafting, negotiation and contract-related disputes work.

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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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