Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Canada > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Legal market overview

The increasingly fractious international trade environment has dominated the national agenda. As inconceivable as it would have seemed two years ago, in the summer of 2018 Canada found itself gearing up for a trade war with its most important trading partner, after US President Donald Trump imposed 25% steel tariffs and 10% aluminium tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the EU. Canada took retaliatory measures, which included a 25% tariff on assorted US metals products, before the situation de-escalated following its involvement in talks to revamp the 24-year old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA was formerly replaced with the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in October 2018.

In other trade news, Canada began to feel the benefit of the long-awaited EU-Canada trade agreement (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA), which was finally enacted in September 2017. Now — a year after its implementation — at the Port of Montreal alone, Canada has recorded a 20% rise in the traffic of goods headed towards Europe.

The jittery start to the year has not had much of an effect on Canada’s solid economy, with its 3% GDP growth in 2017 expected to be followed by 2.1% growth in 2018. The Bank of Canada responded to the more optimistic investor mood post-USMCA by rising interest rates by a quarter point, the fifth such increase since summer 2017, which brings the benchmark interest rate up to 1.75%, the highest it’s been since December 2008.

If the international trade situation has been a boon for regulatory lawyers, the liberalization of the cannabis sector has been keeping corporate finance lawyers busy. As of October 17, 2018, the recreational use of cannabis is no longer a crime in Canada. The market has seen an influx of new industry players, and a surge in corporate financings, as the cannabis industry primes itself for the new climate — that said, cannabis stocks remain volatile.

Canada is home to a significant number of global law firms: Baker McKenzie, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP, Dentons, Gowling WLG and Norton Rose Fulbright all have full-service offerings in the country. However, with few exceptions, the highest-profile corporate and finance mandates continue to flow to Canada’s so-called ‘Seven Sisters’ – most of which have at least one international office - namely: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, Goodmans, McCarthy Tétrault, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Stikeman Elliott LLP and Torys LLP.

That said, several other Canadian firms dominate in specific sectors or regions. Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP and FASKEN are top-choice firms for mining deals. Bennett Jones LLP is a leader in oil and gas transactions – and in Western Canada generally. Borden Ladner Gervais LLP is highly regarded for power-related work. Calgary’s Burnet Duckworth & Palmer LLP is a regional heavyweight and is considered a leading business law firm in Alberta.

The jurisdictional nature of Canada’s legal environment cannot be overstated. Public and private law are separated, with responsibilities for the former exercised by Parliament and the latter overseen by the provinces. The largest legal centre is Toronto in the province of Ontario, which remains the key base for corporate deals. Alberta is synonymous with Canada’s oil and gas industry and notably houses the Athabasca oil sands; therefore Calgary is a hub for energy work. British Columbia is also a major province for resources matters, with forestry and mining key economic sectors. French-speaking Quebec – which retains a civil code for private law separate from the rest of Canada’s common law system – is a very distinct legal market.

The In-House Lawyer

International comparative guides

In association with a leading international law firm, Legalease are producing a series of online country comparative legal guides, designed to give the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in unfamiliar jurisdictions.

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Korean Financial Regulators Advance Legislation to Introduce Regulatory Sandbox to Spark FinTech

    The 2018 year in review in Korea was notable for the sluggish overall economy, uncertainty surrounding the geo-politics and impact on Korea due to the global trade wars, on-going concerns related to the lack of jobs and unemployment, increased taxes and burdens for businesses and families, and no meaningful improvement or clarity in the current situation for 2019. In response, the Korean National Assembly passed a legislation called the Financial Innovation Support Act (the “FinISA”) on December 7, 2018 to spark the financial services industry in conjunction with FinTech products and services. The FinISA, which will soon take effect in March 2019, is intended to lay the legal foundation to introduce a regulatory sandbox for innovative financial services, where FinTech firms test their new products and services without certain regulatory oversight pursuant to exemptions for a limited period of time (“Sandbox”). As the FinISA exempts or defers application of existing finance-related regulations for new financial technology, products or services with the purpose of fostering the creation of innovative and new financial products and services, it will also support the stabilization of such services in the financial services market at the end of the testing period and is expected that the FinISA will support a revitalization of the FinTech industry which experienced sluggish growth in recent times. In particular, as companies and investors become more interested in security tokens and Security Token Offerings (“STO”) which are regulated by the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act (the “FSCMA”), there have been on-going discussions and debates as to whether the FinISA could lead to a breakthrough in the crypto-asset industry based on blockchain technology. Crypto assets encompasses those assets which utilize blockchain technology where the asset is digitalized by utilization of cryptography, peer-to-peer networks and a public ledger of verified transactions resulting in a ‘units’ of such a crypto asset without any involvement by middle-persons or brokers (e.g., cryptocurrency.
  • DISMISSAL AT NISSAN AND WORKPLACE CRIME PREVENTION

    The sacking of Nissan’s high-profile chairman may have beenproof that nobody is infallible. But Nicola Sharp argues that it should also beseen as an indicator that no company can be considered safe from wrongdoing.
  • 2018 FCPA Enforcement Actions and Highlights

    Overall, 2018 was a more active year in terms of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") enforcement actions compared to 2017.
  • Legality of advertising with statements on the effects of medical treatments

    Advertisements featuring statements on the effects of medical treatments are only permissible if they are supported by sound scientific evidence. This was reaffirmed by the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Frankfurt, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt.
  • Sayenko Kharenko announces new partner promotion

    Sayenko Kharenko announces new partner promotion
  • ECJ – Distinctive character necessary for registration as EU trade mark

    For a sign to be capable of being registered as an EU trade mark, it must be distinctive across the entire European Union. This was confirmed by the Court of Justice of European Union (ECJ) in a ruling from 25 July 2018.
  • Supporting local and international charitable organizations

    As one of the leading law firms in Cyprus, we are active promoters and supporters of local economic growth by sponsoring local events, applying environmental-friendly practices, minimizing our ecological impact, and most importantly, by raising money for local charities and non-profit organizations.
  • BAG – Employers can claw back bonus payments

    The Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court, confirmed in a recent ruling that employers can claw back collectively agreed bonus payments from employees under certain circumstances.
  • Stricter supervision in relation to the Scheme for Naturalisation of Investors in Cyprus by Exceptio

    Recently there were a lot of publications within the European Union expressing concerns about the allegedly very high number of Cypriot passports being given to foreign investors the last few years. The Council of Ministers has decided on 9th January 2018 with the decision with number 84.069, to impose a stricter supervision of all the parties involved in the Scheme for the naturalisation of non-Cypriot investors in Cyprus by exception.
  • 19% VAT on Plots

    In order to harmonize the  Acquis Communautaire on the Taxation of untapped and undeveloped plots of land, the Cyprus Government enacted, on 03/11/2017, relevant legislation for the imposition of 19% Value Added Tax (VAT) on these properties, with a date of enforcement being 02/01/2018. The relevant legislation refers to plots/pieces of land offered and/or provided for construction for economic purposes.

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to