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Canada > Transport > Transport: aviation > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Transport: aviation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Patrick Brennan - Bennett Jones LLP
    • Donald Gray - Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
    • Carlos Martins - Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn LLP
    • Catherine Pawluch - DLA Piper (Canada) LLP
    • Laura Safran QC - DLA Piper (Canada) LLP

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Colby Dewart - Burnet Duckworth & Palmer LLP
    • Jason MacIntyre - Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
    • Tae Mee Park - Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn LLP

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Transport: aviation clients in Canada using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Bennett Jones LLP, which ‘takes time to understand the client’s business, key personnel and risk appetite’, stands ‘head and shoulders above other Canadian law firms when it comes to its aviation law’. In Calgary, revered group head Patrick Brennan ‘carefully and appropriately tailors his advice to meet both short-term needs and long-term goals’; he recently advised subsidiaries of key client Chorus Aviation Capital on the acquisition of six used aircraft. In Toronto, the ‘excellent’ Ian Michael is advising Montreal International Fuel Facilities on the Montreal East Jet Fuel Marine Terminal project.

Great in all aspects of aviation law’, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP’s broad national practice spans aircraft finance, regulation, insurance, procurement and tax matters. Group head Donald Gray is ‘one of the best aviation specialists in Canada’ and continues to advise trophy client Boeing Canada on all of its local work. The sizeable team, lauded for its ‘great bench with impressive younger partners coming through’, also includes the ‘very strong’ Jason MacIntyre, who advised the underwriters on Air Canada’s $719.8m three-tranche private offering of enhanced equipment trust certificates. The ‘very talented’ Auriol Marasco is also noted. All named lawyers are based in Toronto.

DLA Piper (Canada) LLP’s ‘superb response times’ and ‘solid industry knowledge’ equates to ‘excellent value for money’, say sources. In particular, Calgary-based group head Laura Safran QC brings ‘strong practical and business sense to legal transactions’ — she provides ongoing advice to Avianca Group on its Canadian aviation and general legal issues. In Toronto, Catherine Pawluch is a sought-after name and represented an Asian airline in a major dispute. Counsel Andrew MacFarlane, ‘an excellent lawyer in all aspects of financing’, is also a key contact in Toronto. Other representative clients include Delta Airlines, International Air Transport Association and WestJet Pilots Association.

Toronto boutique Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn LLP is ‘widely recognized as a leader in aviation law’, with its ‘strong bench relative to its firm size’ impressing sources. Names to note include regulatory specialist Carlos Martin (‘extremely knowledgeable in all aviation matters’) and litigator Tae Mee Park (‘a future star’).

Calgary-based Burnet Duckworth & Palmer LLP enjoys close links to airlines, manufacturers, purchasers, leasing companies, banks and owners and operators. Former group head Dino DeLuca left for an in-house position at TriWest Capital Partners but sources highlight new lead, Colby Dewart, as a ‘superstar up and comer’. Dewart advised Don Wall and CHL Heli-Acquisition on the C$232m acquisition of HNZ Group.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s multidisciplinary practice acts for a wide range of aircraft and major component manufacturers, insurers, lenders and operators. The group is particularly strong in Montreal, which is the seat of Paul Raymond; he paired up with Nicolas Labrecque to lead the firm’s advice to an aerospace client regarding its partnership with a fellow aerospace company.

The ‘deep and broad group’ at Stikeman Elliott LLP demonstrates ‘strong understanding of the aviation industry’. In Montreal, litigator Pierre-Paul Daunais has ‘great depth of experience’ and is representing Bombardier in bringing a construction dispute against Field Aviation Company. The firm, which counts Air Canada, Airbus and Discovery Air among its clients, also acts on a steady stream of transactional matters.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s cross-practice group is particularly well versed in defending clients in aviation litigation. Vancouver-based group head Leon Beukman recently advised on a claim resulting from a helicopter crash.

Extremely professional and responsive’, Dentons’ impresses with its commitment to ‘keep up the pace while providing strong advice’. Toronto-based counsel Carlo Vairo, noted for his ‘rare ability to stay on top of changes in a heavily regulated industry’, recently advised BBAM on a $120m sublease of three aircraft. Vancouver-based Robert Quon heads the group with Vairo.

FASKEN’s aviation practice, which is led by Montreal-based litigator Martin Sheehan, has a focus on dispute resolution - particularly of insurance disputes - as well as labour and employment law. Representative clients include Boeing, International Air Transport Association and Marsh Canada.

Gowling WLG’s relationship with Export Development Canada (EDC) is particularly fruitful on the aviation front. Ottawa-based Guy David recently advised EDC on amending several financing agreements and related aircraft security, worth $600m and covering over 30 aircraft.

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