This Special Report covers 46 practice areas.

This will search all specialists in Canada.

Canada In Brief

Traditionally a market of large constituent elements, Canada enjoys the benefits of a diverse economy but its Western provinces suffer when oil prices drop and work slows down. The nation has found itself in promising territory lately, however, as the effects of the declining price of crude oil peter away and the technology and digital sectors are in the midst of a boom. Corporate immigration has also seen something of a revolution, with many skilled individuals in search of a new home, alarmed by Trumpian rhetoric in the US, opting instead to travel to Canada where immigration procedure remains on a more certain footing.

The Canadian economy expanded by 0.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, the highest of any G7 country. While this number is hardly stellar compared to historical norms, it it is nevertheless highly demonstrative of the resilience of the Canadian economy. Lawyers we spoke with provided some insight as to the reasons for this. “Canada is looking outbound,” one lawyer told us. From infrastructure to technology and financing, Canada has always looked outside its borders – in 2015 it exported over US$50 billion of crude petroleum and over US$10 billion of vehicle parts, mainly to the US – but now it has gone truly international, with a the current administration encouraging foreign investment and seeking an increasingly global outlook.

Corporate immigration is an area in which Canada is experiencing a “golden age”, according to one source. Even the country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, recently declared that he was “jealous” of immigrants who choose to come to Canada over other countries. The government recently launched its Global Skills Strategy, enabling employers to more easily attract talent and skilled workers to Canada. It has also received a boost in the form of a more inward-looking US. One lawyer told us that, in the tech sector particularly, the lure of Silicon Valley and a cutting-edge US technology and digital market no longer outweighs the uncertainty faced by those considering a move to the country, given the Trump administration’s string of reactionary moves to curb immigration.

Crude petroleum accounts for 13 per cent of Canada’s exports. In its western provinces, oil and gas was once the mainstay of the economy, but things are changing due to a decline in both prices and industry. One Alberta-based lawyer mentioned that disputes continue to generate work for lawyers, and big infrastructure and construction projects have somewhat filled the gap left by pure oil work. Moreover, investors still seem relatively easy to find; we were told that US banks remain very much active in the space. Pipeline construction in particular has stayed robust, as illustrated by recent plans to extend the Trans Mountain oil pipeline in British Columbia – though opposition continues, as evidenced by a supposed killing off of the Northern Gateway project, effectively by fiat from the prime minister. Both projects are worth billions of US dollars and represent significant investment for the nation, but big questions surrounding carbon emissions and the move towards renewables continues to fuel the debate over the industry’s future.

Canada continues to be a safe jurisdiction for finance and banking opportunities, with Toronto remaining a global hub for commerce and commercial activity. The IPO for KinderMorgan in Canada represented one of the five largest ever completed in the country. The deal was handled by leading Canadian firm Osler Hoskin & Harcourt, demonstrating that those in the top tier of Canadian law firms have nothing to worry about when it comes to finding high-value instructions.

Boutiques are also thriving in the Canadian market, finding that they can provide deep expertise and counsel without the conflicts that full-service firms encounter, and that they can also offer smaller, more dynamic teams. Some of the largest boutiques in the country are those dealing with immigration issues, but intellectual property is also a highly competitive space for the specialist firms. Dow Chemical was recently the recipient of the largest patent infringement damage award in Canadian history at US$644 million, an indication that there is plenty of work for lawyers in this still-developing area of law.

A growth area for Canadian patents as in many jurisdictions is in the high-tech sector. One source at a leading full-service firm told us that there is now “a lot of work being done for technology start-ups”, adding: “One of the big areas in which things are happening is the fintech sector.” The increasing interconnectivity of technology and other practice areas could signal a flowering of new work across the legal landscape, but the Canadian lawyers we spoke to were convinced that a well-equipped and dynamic technology department was no longer optional.


As the 11th largest export economy in the world and a favourable place in which to do business – both for domestic and international entities – Canada seems to have little to worry about in the short term. However, it continues to be faced with many economic challenges and its future is just as uncertain as most other developed economies. For lawyers this means more work, even if it is not of a kind they have historically been used to. The times may be changing a little, but the song remains the same. 

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Analysis: Canada

Canada: Arbitration 2017

We feature 41 practitioners in this chapter, including leading arbitration counsel as well as the most highly regarded arbitrators in the market.

Canada: Arbitration Expert Witnesses 2017

We feature 14 excellent expert witnesses in this chapter who are recognised for the quality of their testimony in arbitration proceedings.

Canada: Asset Recovery 2017

This year we have selected 11 lawyers for their work in asset recovery. They are recognised for their excellence assisting clients with disclosure, freezing and seizure orders and recovery claims.

Canada: Asset Recovery Experts 2017

We identify seven individuals in this edition for their specialist expertise in financial and digital forensics. They are considered leaders in the field for their help in tracing and recovering assets lost through fraud, corruption, misconduct or mismanagement. 

Canada: Aviation 2017

We feature 28 leading practitioners in this chapter who stand out for their exceptional work in the space.
We highlight financial, regulatory and contentious lawyers, who handle a range of matters from aircraft purchase, leasing and financing, airport charges, alliances and competition law and issues arising from major disasters.

Canada: Banking 2017

We feature 56 leading individuals in this chapter for their expertise in banking transactions, advisory and regulatory matters where they represent both Canadian and international financial institutions.

Canada: Business Crime Defence 2017

We recognise 19 leading lawyers for their impressive track records defending corporates and individuals in white-collar criminal proceedings. 

Canada: Capital Markets 2017

We recognise 75 lawyers in this chapter for their leading counsel and representation on capital markets issues including financing, transactions and disputes for Canadian and international clients.

Canada: Commercial Litigation 2017

This year we highlight 53 leading litigators recognised for their exceptional work representing clients in civil and commercial disputes.

Canada: Competition 2017

We identify 52 leading counsel and litigators for the impressive standard of their competition law practice. Areas of expertise include cartels, merger controls and abuse of dominance cases. 

Canada: Competition Economists 2017

In this chapter, we highlight 14 market-leading economists for their expert advice and testimony in complex antitrust matters. The individuals listed here provide in-depth analysis on a range of issues including market-entry assessments, merger simulations and damage estimation. 

Canada: Construction 2017

We recognise 47 lawyers in this chapter for their expertise in procurement, contracts negotiation and end-to-end counsel on projects alongside contentious work including arbitration, litigation and mediation.

Canada: Construction Expert Witnesses 2017

In this chapter, we recognise seven leading quantum and delay experts in the construction industry. The following experts are typically instructed to supply written and oral testimonies as part of valuation, lost profits and delay analyses in construction disputes.

Canada: Corporate Governance 2017

In this chapter, we list 34 individuals who advise boards of directors, independent committees, management teams and shareholder groups on corporate governance policy and best practice. They specialise in sensitive corporate disclosure and governance issues and guide their clients through complex and changeable legislative and regulatory environments. Below we highlight some of the most highly regarded practitioners in this year’s research.

Canada: Corporate Immigration 2017

We recognise 58 practitioners for their leading expertise in immigration matters including the hiring and dismissal of foreign workers, admissibility issues and logistical issues for SMEs and multinational corporations.

Canada: Corporate Tax 2017

In this year’s edition we identify 75 leading names with exceptional proficiency across both advisory and contentious matters in the corporate tax field.

Canada: Corporate Tax Experts 2017

In this chapter, we recognise four of the country’s elite corporate tax experts. They are selected for their exceptional work as both expert witnesses and pre-trial advisers in complex tax proceedings.

Canada: Due Diligence Accountants 2017

In this chapter 16 leading practitioners are selected for their track records performing due diligence in advance of large and complex transactions. They stand out for their ability to identify key risks and opportunities and their knowledge of the conditions, warranties and indemnities that ought to be included in an agreement.

Canada: E-Discovery Practitioners 2017

In this chapter we highlight 18 individuals who stands out for their e-discovery expertise which ranges from creating and implementing data collection and preservation tools to helping their clients to develop sophisticated e-discovery strategies. 

Canada: Energy 2017

In this chapter we highlight 105 practitioners who stand out for their exceptional work representing and advising major energy companies and financiers on matters related to the exploration, production, marketing and transportation of all types of energy including oil, gas, nuclear and renewables. In addition, practitioners often have global expertise of the industry’s regulatory framework and contractual agreements. 

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. 

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.

Canada: Government Contracts 2017

In this chapter we highlight 40 leading practitioners who stand out for their exceptional work providing first-rate counsel to public authorities and private-sector clients in relation to the drafting and structuring of procurement bids and PPP contracts, as well as disputes arising from such arrangements. 

Canada: Insurance & Reinsurance 2017

A total of 49 insurance and reinsurance practitioners are included in our research this year. They are highlighted in this section for their outstanding work across a range of industry sectors on contentious, contractual and regulatory matters for insurers, reinsurers and insured parties.

Canada: Investigations 2017

This year 25 leading practitioners are highlighted for their exceptional skills advising and representing both companies and individuals on complex internal and regulatory investigations.

Canada: Investigations Digital Forensics Experts 2017

Ten leading digital forensic experts are highlighted for their expertise in e-discovery, computer forensics and data recovery for law firms and corporations around the world.  

Canada: Investigations Forensic Accountants 2017

In this chapter we highlight 16 forensic accountants with expertise in a broad range of disputes and regulatory enquiries such as accounting fraud and corruption investigations. 

Canada: Labour & Employment 2017

We highlight 100 leading figures in labour and employment this year for their expertise representing and advising employers and employees on disputes, collective bargaining, labour rights and human resources law.

Canada: Life Sciences 2017

We feature 63 leading life sciences practitioners in this chapter, who are highlighted for their outstanding work handling product liability, patent, regulatory and transactional matters on behalf of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies.  

Canada: M&A 2017

We highlight 68 practitioners for their expertise in transactions across numerous industry sectors for high-end clients both in Canada and internationally. These range from complex, cross-border transactions to smaller transactions for SMEs and start-ups.

Canada: Mediation 2017

This chapter identifies 32 leading practitioners who have a proven track record in dispute resolution, mediating commercial proceedings across a range of different industries. 

Canada: Mining 2017

We recognise 77 eminent lawyers for their expertise representing mining companies in financing matters, commercial transactions and disputes. 

Canada: Patent Agents 2017

We recognise 57 leading figures in this chapter for their abilities in patent drafting, prosecution, portfolio management and disputes.

Canada: Patents 2017

We recognise 62 leading lawyers for their work in the field of patent law including registration, portfolio management and disputes in numerous industry sectors.

Canada: Private Client 2017

We highlight 34 practitioners in this chapter, who stand out for their exceptional work handling trusts, wealth and estate management and management of family offices alongside litigation on behalf of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

Canada: Private Funds 2017

In this chapter we highlight 24 private funds lawyers with proven expertise in private equity, venture capital and hedge fund formation and structuring. Listed individuals boast a broad range of expertise spanning regulatory, strategic and compliance matters. 

Canada: Product Liability Defence 2017

In this chapter, 36 pre-eminent lawyers are highlighted for their extensive experience handling complex product liability claims for domestic and international clients in a range of industry sectors.

Canada: Project Finance 2017

Here we identify 30 highly regarded experts in project financing and refinancing transactions. They represent both sponsors and lenders across a broad range of industries including energy, natural resources and infrastructure. 

Canada: Real Estate 2017

We feature 47 individuals in this chapter who are recognised for their outstanding work providing advice to clients incorporating tenants, investors and developers on all aspects of buying, selling, letting, developing and managing real estate.

Canada: Restructuring & Insolvency 2017

This year’s research features 77 leading restructuring and insolvency lawyers who have been recommended for their expertise representing creditors, banks and financial institutions, as well as debtors, trustees and companies in bankruptcy proceedings. 

Canada: Shipping & Maritime 2017

This chapter features 30 leading lawyers in the field of shipping law. The individuals listed here provide specialist counsel on contractual matters and finance arrangements and also represent clients in charter party disputes and casualty cases. 

Canada: Sports & Entertainment

This year we highlight 34 leading sports and entertainment practitioners recognised for their excellent work across a range of areas, including labour, contract and intellectual property law, as well as merchandising and licensing work. 

Canada: TMT 2017

Here we highlight 55 private practice lawyers are highlighted for their vast experience representing telecoms and media and IT companies in transactional, regulatory and dispute resolution matters. 

Canada: Trade & Customs 2017

In this chapter we feature 36 of the foremost trade and customs practitioner in Canada, with experience handling both domestic and international trade matters.  

Canada: Trademarks 2017

In this chapter we highlight 44 of Canada’s leading trademarks specialists. The featured practitioners are selected for their expertise representing and advising companies on a range of trademark matters, from filings and prosecution to infringement proceedings and portfolio management.

Canada: Trademarks Agents 2017

We identify nine practitioners in this year’s chapter for their expertise in registration licensing, copyright, competition and litigation issues relating to trademarks.

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Firm Profiles: Canada

2017: Leading Firms

We list over 300 law firms in WWL: Canada 2017, demonstrating the breadth of expertise and variety of choice available to clients seeking representation in the country. However over a third of all listings in this edition are earned by lawyers from just seven standout firms, all of which are profiled below. 

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