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Canada > Infrastructure and projects > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Infrastructure and projects
  2. Leading lawyers
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • William Buchner - Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP
    • Vivian Kung - Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
    • Morgan Troke - McCarthy Tétrault
    • Josh Van Deurzen - Torys

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Star performerBlake, Cassels & Graydon LLP possesses an ‘extremely deep bench that few firms can hope to match’. The calibre of its senior names is a recurring theme, with sources quick to highlight its ‘strong experience in major projects’ and its ‘fantastic industry knowledge and practical know-how’. Dispersed between its Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary offices, the department’s strong national presence and diverse sector capability ensures a steady stream of work from private and public participants in infrastructure projects – it also routinely acts for lenders. In Montreal, Alain Massicotte is the key contact; he is advising the winning consortium, Health Montréal Collective Limited Partnership, on the C$2.6bn development of the new hospital of the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal. In Toronto, ‘extremely capable’ procurement expert Marianne Smith is working alongside the real estate group to advise Vancouver Fraser Port Authority on the C$2bn construction of a new three-berth container terminal. On the lender side, Massicotte and Toronto-based Catherine Doyle advised National Bank Financial as the agents on the C$556.5m refinancing of the Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement PPP. The group also calls upon the expertise of Toronto-based Judy Wilson, who is a high-profile name for procurement matters, and infrastructure chair Jeffrey Merrick in Vancouver. It also has a strong group of up-and-coming partners, including Toronto’s Vivian Kung. In 2016, projects specialist Anne Stewart retired in the Vancouver office.

DLA Piper (Canada) LLP is ‘the best in the business for PPP transactions’, according to many. In particular, its ‘strong experience on all the different sides of P3 projects’ ensures that it is able to bring a ‘unique level of expertise and perspective to the table’. Lawyers are ‘pro-business’ and ‘great to deal with’, under the leadership of Toronto-based national projects and infrastructure chair Ian Bendell. Bendell is advising the project company (a consortium composed of SNC-Lavalin Capital, ACS Infrastructure Canada and Hochtief PPP Solutions North America) on the C$4bn New Bridge for the St Lawrence Corridor Project. Bendell also acted for the successful proponent in the C$250m Highway 427 Expansion project in Ontario. In Vancouver, Andrew Burton secures strong praise for being ‘so authoritative and well versed in the issues that the other side will often defer to him when discussing solutions’. Among Burton’s recent matters, he advised a design-build joint venture consisting of Dragados, Fluor and Aecon on their bid for the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. Also in Vancouver, Elizabeth Mayer advised Graham Capital Partners as the lenders to the project company on the C$250m North Commuter Parkway and Traffic Bridge Project.

Prized for its ability to present ‘high-quality advice in a user-friendly format’, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP is a ‘top-choice firm in Canada for PPP deals’. Lawyers have ‘great commercial nous combined with strong negotiating skills’ and continue to land plum roles in many of Canada’s highest-profile projects. Infrastructure and real estate specialist Robert Bauer is highly sought after for sophisticated projects and is advising Ivanhoé Cambridge on the development of an integrated multi-tower office complex and public transit hub. On the public sector side, Bauer is acting for the City of Toronto on the C$800m revitalization of Union Station. Gregory Southam impresses with his ‘commercial and strategic approach’ and advised the winning consortium on the C$525m contract for the Lions Gate Secondary Wastewater Treatment Plant project. Carol Pennycook’s ‘deep relationships in the industry assists with negotiations’; she and Southam advised Etobicoke Healthcare Partnership LP on its C$330m winning bid for the Etobicoke General Hospital Phase 1 Patient Tower project. Newer partner William Buchner has ‘comprehensive knowledge of market developments and new legislative changes’ and advised Plenary Group on the C$685m Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Phase 1C Redevelopment project. Nicholas Williams is recommended for energy infrastructure projects. All named partners are based in Toronto.

McCarthy Tétrault’s infrastructure expertise is evenly distributed across its national offices and the group is engaged on headline mandates throughout the country. In Vancouver, Jody Aldcorn had a banner year and among her recent mandates she advised Vantage Airport Group, as part of the LaGuardia Gateway Partners consortium, on the $4bn La Guardia Terminal B Redevelopment project. Aldcorn is also acting for Aecon Concessions on the $250m redevelopment of LF Wade International Airport in Bermuda. Vancouver is also the seat of experienced partners Linda Brown and Byran Gibson QC, who both have eminent profiles for infrastructure transactions, and ‘extremely impressive’ newer partner Morgan Troke. In Toronto, respected senior counsel Gordon Willcocks kept busy advising public sector bodies on a slew of major PPP projects. Godyne Sibay is also a key contact in Toronto. In Montreal, Mathieu Dubord advised McInnis Cement on a C$281.7m financing for the construction and development of the Port-Daniel-Gascons industrial project. Other representative clients include Infrastructure Ontario, Borealis Infrastructure Management and BMO Capital Markets.

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP’s strong national practice combines with its top-tier team in Johannesburg and robust projects expertise in London to create a market leader in cross-border mandates – it is also regularly involved in deals in the US. In a strong example of its multi-jurisdictional capability, Toronto-based ‘creative problem-solverBrian Kelsall advised the Plenary Properties Merced consortium on the $1.3bn UC Merced 2020 project at the University of California. Closer to home, Kelsall advised the lenders on the Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital Project, which involved C$278m of long-term financing and C$150m of short-term financing. On the public sector side, Vancouver’s David Little advised Interior Health Authority on the procurement and implementation of the $312m Penticton Regional Hospital PPP. Ella Plotkin and group chair Thomas Barlow are also key names in Toronto.

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP is praised for its ‘user-friendly team’ and ‘strong commercial acumen’. In particular, Toronto-based financial services chair Chris Bennett is hailed as a ‘project finance lawyer par excellence’. The group continues to strengthen its profile in the PPP market, diversifying its skill set across asset classes and provinces and, in Alberta, Bennett advised the Mountain View Partners consortium on the DBFO contract for the C$1.4bn South West Calgary Ring Road PPP. Toronto-based Tobor Emakpor is also recommended and with Bennett advised the equity sponsors on the DBFO contract for the Lions Gate Secondary Wastewater Treatment Plant project. The group also draws upon the expertise of Toronto-based power specialist Rocco Sebastiano and Calgary-based project finance partner Lorne Carson.

Very strong in Canada and the US’, Torys’ infrastructure practice is ‘recognized by governments at all levels for its invaluable advice on project structuring’, according to sources. In Toronto, PPP lead Mark Bain has ‘vast experience and subject matter knowledge’ and along with infrastructure specialist Daniel Ford advised the lenders to shortlisted consortium Humber Valley Transit Partners on the C$1bn Finch West LRT project. Tara Mackay splits her time between Toronto and New York and is an ‘excellent communicator who is able to translate complex subjects into layman’s language’; she acted with Bain to advise the lenders to Mountain View Partners on the C$1.4bn South West Calgary Ring Road PPP. On the public sector side, Ford is advising Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx on the Kipling Bus Terminal project. The group also benefits from some ‘impressively strong associates’, including Toronto’s Josh Van Deurzen.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP is a ‘strong firm in the PPP and public infrastructure space’ and its ‘good depth and capacity in Ontario and British Columbia’ particularly impresses. Typically engaged by public sector clients, the practice also has experience in representing project sponsors. Vancouver-based group head Robert Shouldice is a ‘very solid P3 practitioner with a good understanding of the market’; he advised the City of Edmonton on the C$1.8bn Valley Line LRT project. Also in Vancouver, Douglas Sanders has ‘in-depth understanding of the technical dimensions of performance-based contracting’ and is advising the design-build joint venture on the New Bridge for the St Lawrence Corridor project. In Toronto, Richard Shaban is a ‘P3 expert with good depth in construction’.

At McMillan LLP, private sector participants provide the bulk of the work, but it also acts for lenders in PPP and infrastructure projects. Among its recent work, sector specialist Timothy Murphy advised the bond and bank lenders on the C$4.2bn New Bridge for the St Lawrence Corridor project. Ahsan Mirza and Julie Han advised Harbour City Solutions General Partnership, as the project company, on the City of Hamilton’s DBFMO contract for a C$106m biosolids management facility.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s merger with Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP awarded the firm with a sturdy projects base in Vancouver, under the leadership of new national infrastructure head Greg Lewis QC (‘a safe pair of hands for complex projects’). Lewis is advising the Capital Regional District on the C$800m Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project. James LeMoine and Matt Mulligan are also recommended in Vancouver. The firm’s Ontario group is well known for its authority-side practice, particularly in relation to transportation projects, and Ottawa-based Geoffrey Gilbert teamed up with Toronto partners Sandra Nissan and Roger Watkiss to advise Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx on the C$1bn Finch West LRT project. The same team is also advising the City of Ottawa on the C$5.1bn Phase 2 of the Confederation LRT project. Robert Borduas is a key contact in Montreal.

The ‘excellent’ group at Stikeman Elliott LLP scores highly for its ‘in-depth expertise in all required fields’ and its ‘on-point partnering in business decisions’. Montreal-based Maxime Turcotte is particularly highlighted for his ‘strong business acumen and "out-of-the-box" thinking’; he advised the project company on the C$556.5m refinancing of the Sea-to-Sky Highway PPP project. Senior partner Erik Richer La Flèche is also a key name in Montreal. In Vancouver, Jamie Templeton advised the lenders to the winning consortium on the C$330m Etobicoke General Hospital Phase 1 Patient Tower project.

Aird & Berlis LLPpunches above its weight in infrastructure matters’, according to sources. The diversity of its practice impresses, and it routinely acts for public and private sector participants on project development and secondary market transactions. Douglas Younger chairs the group and advised Forum Equity Partners on the C$400m sale of part of its PPP portfolio to Fiera Infrastructure. Heidi Visser is also recommended and with Younger advised Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Transportation on the C$363m Highway 427 Expansion.

The ‘very responsive’ group at Bennett Jones LLP is highlighted for its ‘first-rate expertise in sophisticated construction’. Toronto-based Paul Blundy heads the department and is advising the Government of Nunavut on the procurement of the C$376.2m Iqaluit International Airport improvement project. Also in Toronto, Aleksandra Finelli advised Infrastructure Ontario and Providence Care on the DBFM contract for the construction of a new C$810m hospital. The group also works with the firm’s market-leading oil and gas practice on major projects in that sector.

Dentons’ practice has a broad client base and acts for private sponsors, lenders, public sector bodies and design-build contractors on a wide range of social infrastructure, energy and transportation projects. In Vancouver, infrastructure and PPP co-lead John Haythorne paired up with Ryan Chalmers to advise Vancouver Fraser Port Authority on the Centerm Expansion Project. Michael Ledgett jointly heads the group from Toronto and with Edmonton-based technology specialist Tom Sides advised the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba on the Manitoba First Nations Connectivity Project. Co-head Ilan Dunsky is based in Montreal.

Vancouver-headquartered Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy regularly acts for lenders, local authorities and project sponsors on PPPs across the country and its recent experience spans transport, roads, healthcare and schools projects. Highlights included advising the lenders on the C$250m Highway 427 Expansion and acting for the province of British Columbia on the George Massey Tunnel Replacement PPP. Michael Allen is a high-profile figure in the area.

Goodmans’ team, which is led by projects and procurement partner Ira Berg, draws on the firm’s strength in related areas to offer niche skills in IT and power projects. Among the group’s recent highlights, Berg and technology specialist Richard Corley advised Ontario Lottery and Gaming on the procurement of new lottery terminals, a new retailer network and related services. Infrastructure Ontario, Ontario Power Generation and SkyPower Global are also representative clients.

Committed, proactive and responsive’, Gowling WLG is recommended for its ‘deep knowledge of the PPP market in Canada’. Toronto-based Ted Betts heads the team and is advising Buffalo & Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority on the cross-border Peace Bridge Rehabilitation Project. Also in Toronto, Merie-Anne Beavis is advising Infrastructure Ontario on the C$1.3bn contract for a new hospital in York Region. Other key partners include the ‘extremely experienced and business-oriented’ Luc Lissoir in Montreal and Toronto-based Darryl Brown.

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