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  1. Transport: shipping
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Leading lawyers

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The ‘knowledgeable’ group at Bernard LLP is noted for its ‘unrivalled depth of expertise’. Shipping is a key pillar of the Vancouver firm’s practice and it handles a wide range of transactional and contentious issues, but it is particularly admired for its experience in maritime casualty cases. Key names Gary Wharton and Peter Swanson are noted as ‘experts in their field’ and litigator Thomas Hawkins is also recommended. Clients include P&I clubs, insurers, shipowners, charterers, forwarders and terminal operators.

According to sources, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP is ‘miles better than its competitors’ due to its ‘excellent service and industry knowledge’. Montreal-based Jeremy Bolger provides ‘strategic advice that is always on point’, and clients say, ‘you are in great hands with him’; he represented TT Club in defending a C$10.8m claim brought by Québec Port Authority. Montreal-based Jean-Marie Fontaine is also very active in the area and advised NordLB on the recovery of loans secured by marine mortgages following the arrest and judicial sale of the vessel Hong. Montreal’s Peter Pamel and Vancouver’s Graham Walker are also recommended.

Among the best for shipping matters’, Montreal-based Brisset Bishop remains ‘at the forefront of the industry’. The long-established maritime boutique has close links with P&I clubs and also routinely acts for shipowners, operators and charterers, insurers, shipbuilders and terminals operators. David Colford is recognized as a ‘reference in the area’. Richard Desgagnés and litigator Danièle Dion are also highly regarded.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s 2017 tie-up with Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP created a market-leading shipping practice that excels in the full spread of transactional and contentious matters. Lawyers impress with their ‘immediate grasp of the issues presented’ and ‘speedy and practical advice’. In particular, Vancouver-based John Bromleyknows the industry inside out’, Vancouver’s Shelley Chapelski is an ‘extremely effective litigator’, and Montreal-based counsel Vanessa Rochester is ‘very technically able and commercially minded’. Representative clients include North P&I Club, Seaspan and the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund.

Isaacs & Co has a comprehensive shipping practice but focuses mainly on contentious work, including cargo claims, salvage claims and collisions. High-profile managing partner Marc Isaacs is highly sought after for his specialist maritime expertise and regularly represents shipowners, operators and insurers.

Stewart McKelvey’s robust maritime practice is split between its offices in the port cities of Halifax, St John’s and Saint John and provides unparalleled on-the-ground coverage of Atlantic Canada. Halifax-based Will Moreira QC is recognized as a leading light and handles a broad range of dry and wet work for shipowners, marine insurers, ship suppliers, energy firms and lenders.

The shipping practice at Stikeman Elliott LLP is a prominent player in marine insurance and contentious work. Montreal-based Peter Cullen is a noted leader in his field and recently advised a shipowner and a British P&I club on a collision claim. Laurent Fortier is also recommended in Montreal.

Transport boutique Fernandes Hearn LLP handles a range of transactional and contentious matters in the maritime space and is particularly well known for its insurance practice. Rui Fernandes is the key contact.

Vancouver boutique Giaschi & Margolis is recommended for its strong track record in litigation – although it also handles commercial matters. Key figure Christopher Giaschi acts for insurers, P&I clubs, shipping companies and government agencies.

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