Chair of the firm, James A Woods is considered one of the best lawyers in Quebec and in Canada. Year after year, he is ranked as a leading lawyer by Lexpert, Chambers Global, Benchmark Canada, Martindale Hubbell and Who’s Who Legal. He is a fellow of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, the Litigation Counsel of America and the Federation of Defence and Corporate Counsel. In 2012, Best Lawyers named him Lawyer of the Year for bet-the-company litigation (Montreal). In 2016, Le Monde Juridique magazine named him Litigator of the Year.
With 40 years of experience in the fields of litigation and arbitration, he is recognised as a pillar for the profession before all instances of federal and Quebec and Ontario provincial tribunals, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada. During his career, he also acted as arbitrator, either as president or member of a panel, in a large number of commercial and international files, both ad hoc and under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
In 1987, he created the McGill University Law Faculty’s Civil Litigation Workshop, a course he continues to teach.
He is a member of the Quebec Bar (1976–), the Law Society of Upper Canada (1979–), the Law Society of Alberta (2006–), the Law Society of British Columbia (2006–), the Law Society of England and Wales (2008–) and the Paris Bar (2013–). He was named Advocatus Emeritus by the Quebec Bar in 2013 for "outstanding contributions to the legal profession".
Recent representative mandates include the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, Providence Equity Partners and Madison Dearborn Capital Partners in the context of the contestation by a group of bondholders of one of the most important privatisations in history. The contestation was dismissed by the Superior Court following more than 30 days of trial, which made it one of the most important and complex “real-time” litigations in Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously upheld the decision of the Superior Court, in BCE Inc v 1976 Debentureholders,  3 SCR 560. He also acted for a group of Quebec corporations holding in the aggregate over $1 billion of frozen asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) in contesting the plan of arrangement under the CCAA for the restructuring of the $32 billion Canadian non-bank ABCP market; additionally, he secured awards in damages in excess of $82 million in capital against a satellite television broadcaster for having neglected to act to eradicate the piracy of its television signals, in Vidéotron SENC v Bell ExpressVu LP, 2015 QCCA 422. He also represented Manulife Corporation in a major securities class action alleging improper disclosure to the market; and Quebecor Inc, Quebecor Média Inc, Vidéotron ltée and Pierre Karl Péladeau in a libel suit against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Sylvain Lafrance and Robert Rabinovitch.
He is the author of various texts and articles and was appointed by the Supreme Court of Canada as “amicus curiae” in the case of Scotia McLeod v The Bank of Nova Scotia et al, SCC, 28871 dealing with the seizability of pension fund accounts in financial institutions.
WWL says: James Woods is a “standout for arbitration” who brings nearly 40 years’ experience in commercial law to bear on disputes.
This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Canada which can be purchased from our Shop.