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Canada > Insurance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Insurance
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Paul Belanger - Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
    • Nancy Carroll - McCarthy T√©trault
    • Stuart Carruthers - Stikeman Elliott LLP
    • John Nicholl Ad E - Clyde & Co LLP
    • Filomena Frisina - Gowling WLG
    • Dawn Jetten - Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
    • Blair Keefe - Torys LLP
    • Robert McDowell - FASKEN
    • Brian Reeve - Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
    • Glenn Smith - Lenczner Slaght LLP

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Koker Christensen - FASKEN
    • Jake Gilbert - Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

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Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP‚Äôs insurance practice remains a ‚Äėfirm fixture in the top tier‚Äô, with sources asserting that it‚Äôs a ‚Äėkey player in Canada's most high-profile insurance files‚Äô. The team‚Äôs broad coverage of the area is a major differentiator and it excels across the full range of corporate and commercial, M&A, regulatory and contentious matters. Among the names to note, transactional and regulatory group lead Paul Belanger¬†is ‚Äėvery capable‚Äô and retains strong links with major Canadian banks.¬†Jake Gilbert¬†is a ‚Äėfuture leader‚Äô and advised HUB International on its acquisition of commercial property and casualty brokerage, Integro. On the contentious front, Jeff Galway¬†advised¬†Insurance Bureau of Canada ‚ÄĒ as intervener ‚ÄĒ in a case looking to contest the constitutionality of the¬†Ontario Insurance Act. Other names to note include Calgary-based David Tupper, who leads the insurance litigation group, and senior financial services specialist Dawn Jetten.¬†Named lawyers are based in Toronto unless otherwise stated.

A ‚Äėleading firm in the insurance area‚Äô, FASKEN¬†scores highly for its ‚Äėstrong regulatory expertise‚Äô and its ‚Äėexpansive national spread‚Äô. The group, which draws upon specialist partners in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, is led jointly from Toronto by senior financial services heavyweight Robert McDowell¬†and ‚Äėvery high-level lawyer‚Äô Koker Christensen; together, they advised¬†Co-operators Life Insurance Company on the regulatory and transactional aspects of the merger of Credential, Qtrade and Northwest & Ethical Investments to create a major Canadian wealth management firm. In another headline transaction, McDowell advised Co-operators on the acquisition of the minority interest in CUMIS Group, which owns two insurance company subsidiaries, from Central 1 Credit Union. Aviva Canada,¬†Swiss Re and Travelers are also on the department‚Äôs books.¬†Montreal-based Sylvie Bourdeau¬†is also active in the insurance regulation space.

‚ÄėAmong the market leaders‚Äô, Stikeman Elliott LLP¬†fields a comprehensive insurance practice, which routinely advises major insurers, reinsurers and brokers on transactional, regulatory and contentious matters. The group, which spans the firm‚Äôs Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver offices, is led by Toronto-based M&A and commercial partner Stuart Carruthers. Carruthers, who is a ‚Äėgo-to-partner in the insurance area‚Äô, recently advised Integro Insurance Brokers on the sale of its Canadian subsidiary, Integro (Canada), to Hub International. He also advised Great-West Life, Manulife, Sun Life, Empire Life and Industrial Alliance¬†on the launch of APEXA, a common software and services platform.¬†Montreal's Laurent Fortier¬†is a key contact for insurance litigation and, together with Montreal-based¬†Matthew Liben, defended Chubb in property and delay in start-up claims relating to the refurbishment of a nuclear power station. Other noted insurance litigators include Montreal-based Peter J. Cullen.

Torys LLP‚Äôs group, which is lauded by satisfied clients as ‚Äėthe cream of the crop for insurance regulation‚Äô, demonstrates ‚Äėextraordinarily deep knowledge and expertise‚Äô. In particular, ‚Äėwell-informed and pragmatic‚Äô financial institutions co-chair Blair Keefe¬†‚Äėis the man on Bay Street for financial services regulatory advice‚Äô, according to some. Keefe, alongside litigator John Terry, recently advised Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association on whether certain portions of Bill S-201, which prohibits genetic discrimination, would (if enacted) be valid federal legislation under the federal-provincial division of powers. Elsewhere, David Outerbridge¬†successfully defended Manulife in an Ontario class action brought by Manulife‚Äôs former Barbados policyholders concerning benefits related to Manulife‚Äôs demutualization. On the corporate front, Ricco Bhasin¬†advised¬†Scotiabank on the C$238m sale of HollisWealth to Industrial Alliance Securities. Jill McCutcheon, who co-leads the practice, and capital markets specialist¬†David Seville¬†are also highly regarded.

The insurance group at McCarthy T√©trault¬†is active across a broad scope of regulatory, corporate, M&A and commercial matters but it is best known for its ‚Äėrobust non-contentious practice‚Äô. Toronto-based group head Nancy Carroll¬†is ‚Äėextremely strong‚Äô and advised Brown & Brown on the establishment of its Canadian operations. On the corporate side, Carroll acted alongside the business law department to advise Sun Life Global Investments (Canada) on its acquisition of Excel Funds Management and Excel Investment Counsel. Vancouver‚Äôs Ariel DeJong¬†is recommended for insurance litigation.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP¬†is valued for its ‚Äėvery responsive and sound advice‚Äô and for its ‚Äėcommitment to assigning appropriately experienced counsel to each case‚Äô. The practice handles the full range of transactional and contentious work, with particular firepower in insurance defence files. Names to note on the contentious side include Ottawa-based¬†Larry Elliot, who heads the insurance and tort liability group, and Toronto-based specialized litigation lead Cynthia Clarke. Jeffrey Graham¬†and Donna Spagnolo¬†are the key contacts on the transactional and regulatory front.

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP¬†is widely regarded as a force in the insurance area, finding favour for its strong skill sets in corporate and regulatory work. Star name Brian Reeve¬†is widely hailed as a ‚Äėtop-tier expert in his field‚Äô and is regularly instructed by property and casualty insurers, life insurers, reinsurers and insurance brokers. Gordon Goodman¬†is also highly regarded and advised NFP Canada on its recent expansion in Canada, which involved four acquisitions including the acquisition of Dalton Timmis Insurance Group.

Gowling WLG‚Äôs national practice, which regularly acts for foreign and domestic insurers and intermediaries, strikes a good balance between transactional, regulatory and contentious work. In Toronto, financial regulatory head Filomena Frisina¬†is an ‚Äėexcellent regulatory specialist‚Äô; she was selected by the board of directors of the new Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario to advise¬†on the establishment of the new regulator. In Montreal, Michael Garellek¬†provides ongoing regulatory advice to Starr Insurance and Reinsurance. Kitchener-based non-contentious specialist Peter Koch¬†and Calgary-based litigator David Bishop¬†are also recommended.

Global insurance heavyweight Clyde & Co LLP fields a leading contentious insurance practice in Canada, which spans insurance defence and coverage, professional liability, construction and product liability, among other areas. John Nicholl Ad E, who splits his time between Toronto and Montreal, has a pre-eminent reputation for insurance litigation.

Toronto boutique Lenczner Slaght LLP draws upon its top-tier litigation practice to cover the full scope of contentious policy, coverage and defence matters, with notable expertise in high-stakes and complex cases. Founding partner Glenn Smith leads the department alongside Nina Bombier.

McMillan LLP‚Äôs practice has a strong focus on non-contentious insurance. Carol Lyons¬†jointly chairs the department and brings to bear an impressive record in compliance and regulatory matters, while Gerald Badali¬†is highly regarded for product development and transactional work ‚ÄĒ both are based in Toronto. Clients include insurance companies, financial institutions, automobile corporations and payment card companies.

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