Canada: Franchise 2017

In this chapter, we recognise 38 practitioners for their expertise in handling contentious and non-contentious franchise law issues, both in Canada and abroad. Below we highlight some of the most highly regarded practitioners in the industry.

Most Highly Regarded
1. Larry Weinberg Cassels Brock & Blackwell, Toronto
2. Andraya Frith Osler Hoskin & Harcourt, Toronto
3. Jennifer Dolman Osler Hoskin & Harcourt, Toronto
4. John Sotos Sotos, Toronto
5. Peter Snell Gowling WLG, Vancouver
6. Allan Dick Sotos, Toronto
7. Blair Rebane Borden Ladner Gervais, Vancouver

SOTOS solidifies its status as Canada’s leading firm for franchise matters, leads this year’s research with six outstanding lawyers listed.
The highly celebrated Allan Dick “has a great reputation and knows litigation like the back of his hand”. He is commended for the “practical and business-focused” counsel he provides to franchisors, master franchisees, and area franchisees.
Founding partner and senior statesman John Sotos “has to be included” in any discussion of Canadian franchise law. He is regarded as “one of the 10 very best practitioners” for his expert advice on structuring franchise transactions.
Peter Viitre is singled out as an authority on franchise agreements and pre-agreement disclosure. He has a strong client portfolio drawn from industries as diverse as food and beverages and financial services.
John Yiokaris draws praise from the preeminent practitioners in the field as a leader in franchise enforcements and terminations.

CASSELS BROCK & BLACKWELL has a top-tier franchise practice and boasts five nominees in this edition.
Larry Weinberg is considered “a key member of the Canadian franchise bar” and tops our research this year. Noted for his “pre-eminent commercial practice” and his extensive experience in the hospitality sector, he is described as “the best Canadian franchise lawyer, bar none.”
Class action specialist Geoffrey Shaw is a household name in franchise litigation defence. He is “heavily involved in a number of important franchise litigation cases” including Pet Valu’s successful defence of a $100 million class action suit.
Derek Ronde is “an extremely knowledgeable practitioner” and an important part of the firm’s litigation group, renowned for his expertise litigating complex franchise disputes.
The “excellent” Stéphane Teasdale stands out both for his “exceptional work with luxury brands” and his profound knowledge of the Quebec market.

One of four nominees at OSLER HOSKIN & HARCOURT, Andraya Frith is considered by sources “the leading commercial practitioner” in Canadian franchise law and “one of the foremost members of the bar”. She is widely acclaimed for her work drafting disclosure documents and helping her broad stable of clients to negotiate Canada’s rapidly evolving regulatory environment. Most recently, she counselled Restaurant Brands International in its dispute with a Tim Hortons franchisee association.
The firm is also home to another “important member of the bar” and a “leading litigator” in Jennifer Dolman. She wins plaudits for her work enforcing non-competition covenants and defending franchisors in disclosure disputes.
Dominic Mochrie is well regarded for his commercial acumen and the quality of his counsel to franchisors of all sizes, from start-ups to large multinationals. His work at the intersection of franchising and mergers and acquisitions – from deal-structuring to risk management – draws particular praise.

GOWLING WLG achieves two listings in this edition, including “the clear leader in BC franchise”, Peter Snell. He “played a central role in advising the BC government on their new franchise legislation”, according to interviewees, and elicits particular praise for his proficiency in matters of franchise expansion. One source says: “He is extremely experienced in the field and has been heavily involved in a number of significant franchise law matters.”
In Hamilton, the “very involved and very knowledgeable” Debi Sutin is a longstanding and highly regarded figure. One peer says, “I think a lot of her; she would certainly be on my top list.”

National leader of BORDEN LADNER GERVAIS’ franchise and distribution group, Blair Rebane, is “extremely highly thought of in British Columbia”. He counts some of Canada’s biggest franchisors amongst his clients and is described as “a wonderful guy and fabulous 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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