Canada: Environment 2017

This chapter sees 64 practitioners recognised for their abilities and expertise in environmental law. We identify lawyers who provide exceptional advice to clients in transactional, litigation and regulatory matters such as compliance, strategic planning, environmental due diligence, liability and deal structuring. 

Most Highly Regarded
1. Leonard Griffiths Bennett Jones, Toronto
2. John Stefaniuk Thompson Dorfman Sweatman, Winnipeg
3. Paul Cassidy McCarthy Tétrault, Vancouver
4. Jonathan Kahn Blake Cassels & Graydon, Toronto
5. Sarah Powell Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Toronto
6. Alexandria Pike Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Toronto

Boutique firm WILLMS & SHIER ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYERS leads the way with an impressive six practitioners listed.
Managing partner Marc McAree is described as a top-tier litigator with a market-leading practice covering a broad range of environmental issues; his work in relation to polluted soil and groundwater is particularly well regarded.
Julie Abouchar is another highly considered practitioner at the firm. She is an exceptional litigator and a key player when it comes to negotiating resource development with Inuit and First Nation communities. 
Charles Birchall’s expertise in aboriginal law further strengthens the firm’s offering in this area. He brings more than 25 years’ experience in the field and receives widespread acclaim for his environmental assessment and compliance expertise. 
Co-founder Donna Shier is “one of the best-known names” in the Canadian market and is commended for the breadth of her impressive practice. She is renowned for her deep understanding of the issues surrounding contaminated land and provides counsel to many of the major industrial corporations operating in Canada.

BLAKE CASSELS & GRAYDON demonstrates the strength of its environmental practice with five lawyers in three offices listed in this chapter.
Jonathan Kahn is regarded as among the premier environmental lawyers in the country. He draws praise for his wide-ranging expertise in both contentious and non-contentious environmental matters across a broad range of industries.
In Vancouver, Tony Crossman is widely respected by his peers who consider him “one of the leading environmental lawyers in the country”. He is a longstanding fixture in the market and is commended for regulatory and compliance prowess. 
Charles Kazaz is “one of the very best in the region” and a top choice for many clients. He is highly regarded for his fantastic work in all facets of environmental law, from the environmental components of complex corporate transactions to matters of regulatory compliance.
Head of the firm’s environmental group in Calgary, Dufferin Harper is identified by sources as an expert in numerous areas, including on due diligence and liability issues surrounding the redevelopment of brownfield sites.

GOWLING WLG also boasts five nominations in this chapter.
Environmental law specialist Mark Madras wins high praise from clients who describe him as “a star” and “the go-to lawyer in Canada”. He is prominent in the market for his wide-ranging expertise in regulatory and liability matters.
Harry  Dahme leads the environmental law group in Toronto and is considered a true expert in the field. He is highlighted for his excellent counsel in relation to environmental liability in complex corporate transactions.
“Rising star” Jennifer  Danahy is commended for her superb work in compliance matters and stands out for her comprehensive knowledge of environmental management protocols.
Environmental assessment expert Rod Northey is considered “a household name” for his expertise in the sector. According to sources “he wrote the book” on preparing and reviewing regulatory strategies.

The four standout practitioners at BENNETT JONES are led by co-head of the environmental group Leonard Griffiths. He is the most highly recommended practitioner in our research this year, consistently being identified as “the leading lawyer in Canada” and drawing effusive praise from peers and clients alike. According to one source: “He is head and shoulders above any lawyer at any firm that we have dealt with anywhere in the world on any matter."
Fellow co-head of the firm's environmental group Brad Gilmour wins recognition as “an exceptional all-rounder” with a wealth of regulatory experience and expertise in facility approval proceedings.
Radha Curpen stands out as the practitioner of choice for many clients seeking counsel in British Columbia and is commended for her “excellent work on the transportation of dangerous materials”.

MCCARTHY TÉTRAULT’s three nominations are headlined by “leading light” Paul Cassidy, co-head of the firm’s national environmental, regulatory and aboriginal group. He is a longstanding fixture in the BC market and is deemed a “definite inclusion” by peers thanks to the breadth of his expertise across the whole spectrum environmental matters.

DAVIES WARD PHILLIPS & VINEBERG has two lawyers nominated in this edition; both are regarded as “superstars” and “truly outstanding”. 
Sarah Powell is “very highly thought of” for her work with the environmental aspects of corporate transactions and securities offerings, while Alexandria Pike is “well known in the industry for her high-level work”.

THOMPSON DORFMAN SWEATMAN’s John Stefaniuk is "the real deal” and one of the foremost practitioners in the field. He’s described as “the go-to guy in Manitoba" and “is on pretty much everyone’s list of top environmental lawyers” for his exceptional knowledge on a range of issues. One source notes: “If I ever need local expertise in Manitoba, I go to John."

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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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