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‘Elite law firm’, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP is a ‘national leader in corporate and M&A’. The practice’s ‘strong bench of high-calibre lawyers’ is a recurring theme among sources, with its ‘consistent performance across the key Canadian markets’ particularly impressing. The firm, which fields one of the largest corporate groups in Canada, has five domestic offices and also benefits from international platforms in New York, London, Beijing and Bahrain. In Toronto, Jeffrey Lloyd is widely recognized as a leading light; he acted with Shlomi Feiner to advise Canadian REIT on its C$3.9bn acquisition by Choice Properties REIT to create Canada’s largest REIT. Also in Toronto, department head Michael Gans advised Lavazza on its acquisition of Kicking Horse Coffee. The firm’s Calgary office is widely lauded as a ‘powerhouse in Alberta’ and plays a prominent role in the country’s energy industry, with the recent hire of Noralee Bradley from Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP adding further corporate firepower in that market. Ross Bentley is a senior figure in the Calgary team and recently acted as Canadian co-counsel to Cenovus Energy in its acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ 50% interest in FCCL Partnership and the majority of ConocoPhillips’ Deep Basin conventional assets in Alberta and British Columbia — the group also served as Canadian counsel on Cenovus Energy’s connected C$3bn bought deal common share offering and C$10.5bn acquisition financing. Also in Calgary, Chad Schneider advised Pembina Pipeline on its $9.7bn acquisition of Veresen. Other key contacts include firm chair Brock Gibson, who splits his time between Calgary and Toronto, Vancouver-based Bob Wooder, Toronto’s Chris Hewat and Howard Levine in Montreal.

‘Responsive, business-minded and knowledgeable’, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP provides ‘superior service’, according to many. The corporate group, which attracts a significant share of Canada's most high-profile and high-value transactions, is split between the firm's Toronto and Montreal offices, and it also draws upon an international outpost in New York. In Toronto, the 'simply excellent’ Vincent Mercier is a 'lawyer's lawyer’; he advised Blackstone on the Canadian aspects of its $4.8bn acquisition of Aon’s technology-enabled benefits and human resources platform. The firm also shines in complex contested M&A, with clients asserting that it is a 'top choice for complicated situations’. In a recent example, the 'incredibly smart, personable and timely’ Patricia Olasker advised Oaktree Capital Management, as the largest shareholder in Tembec, on its opposition to the C$475m acquisition of Quebec-based Tembec by Florida-based Rayonier Advanced Materials. Other key names in Toronto are: 'up-and-coming star’ Peter Hong, who acted for SmartREIT on its C$1.1bn acquisition, together with Strathallen Acquisitions, of OneREIT; transactional mining specialist Melanie Shishler; and senior partner William Ainley. The team is also extremely strong in Montreal, where sources commend it as 'probably the best corporate team in the city’. Among its key Montreal highlights, Franziska Ruf advised Caisse de dĂ©pĂŽt et placement du QuĂ©bec on the $2.3bn sale of Atrium Innovations to NestlĂ©. In addition, Richard Cherney assisted Alimentation Couche-Tard with its $4.4bn acquisition of Texas-based CST Brands — he also advised Alimentation Couche-Tard on its subsequent $750m sale of a portion of CST Brands’ Canadian assets to Parkland Fuel. Hillel Rosen and William Rosenberg are also key contacts in Montreal.

'Highly engaged, responsive and commercial’, Goodmans’ Toronto-based practice attracts superlative praise for its 'exceptional roster of partners and associates’ and its 'great breadth and depth of knowledge across a range of corporate issues’. The firm’s experience spans a broad mix of industries but it remains best known for its expertise in the real estate, TMT and financial services spheres. Lawyers provide 'carefully considered advice’ combined with a 'unique mix of firmness and flexibility, which suits evolving needs’. Seasoned specialist Jonathan Lampe is acclaimed as a 'top-tier expert’ and is sought after for his strong skill sets in corporate finance, M&A and corporate governance issues. Counsel Stephen Halperin is also widely revered and recently worked with Chris Sunstrum to advise Pure Industrial REIT on its C$3.8bn acquisition by IvanhoĂ© Cambridge and an affiliate of Blackstone Property Partners. Capital markets head Stephen Pincus, who is credited for his ability to offer 'strategic legal direction’, is also active in M&A and, together with John Connon, advised Tricon Capital Group on its $1.4bn acquisition of Silver Bay Realty Trust. Sources also highlight the 'strong younger talent coming through’, with corporate and securities co-chair Neill May singled out as a 'great dealmaker’; he advised Elliot Management on its C$100m acquisition of a 27% stake in Coveo Solutions. Robert Vaux jointly chairs the group and, alongside Jamie van Diepen, advised Searchlight Capital Partners on its $2bn acquisition of Mitel Networks. Jonathan Feldman — 'an excellent younger partner’ — advised Thomas H Lee Partners on the Canadian aspects of its $940m sale of CompuCom Systems to Office Depot. Celia Rhea, who brings to bear 'incredible experience, strategic thinking and extreme diligence’, is also singled out by clients.

'Top Canadian firm’, McCarthy TĂ©trault has a comprehensive corporate practice which is well balanced across its offices in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec — it also benefits from international footholds in New York and London. Prominent national M&A head Cameron Belsher, who splits his time between Toronto and Vancouver, spearheads a diverse practice, which is routinely involved in deals in all of Canada’s key market segments, including energy and natural resources, real estate, life sciences, agriculture, infrastructure and TMT. In a recent example of its ability to seamlessly work across offices, Belsher teamed up with Toronto’s David Woollcombe and Vancouver’s Pavan Jawanda to advise CVC Capital Partners Asia Fund IV, a wholly owned subsidiary of private equity giant CVC Capital Partners, on its acquisition of OANDA Global. Also in Toronto, private equity co-head Shevaun McGrath, who joined the firm in 2017 from Goodmans, advised Cvent, a portfolio company of Vista Equity Partners, on the acquisition of QuickMobile. Among the Montreal office’s highlights, Clemens Mayr acted for Rayonier Advanced Materials in its C$1.1bn acquisition of Tembec. In Vancouver, managing partner for the British Columbia region Sven Milelli is 'top notch’ and led the firm’s advice (as co-counsel alongside Bennett Jones LLP) to Parkland Fuel on its C$1.5bn acquisition of Chevron Canada’s downstream fuel business in Canada. In Calgary, Catherine Samuel advised Shell Canada on the C$11.1bn disposition of its oil sands assets to a subsidiary of Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) and its joint acquisition of Marathon Oil Canada with CNRL. Other recommended names in Toronto include Graham Gow, senior counsel Garth Girvan and the 'practical and results-driven’ Robert Hansen. Patrick Boucher is also recommended in Montreal.

The 'deal-hungry’ practice at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP is an 'elite group in the corporate and M&A space’. The team, which secures a sizeable share of the market’s most high-profile transactions, fields a 'great bench of senior experts’, with sources reserving particular praise for lawyers’ 'strong business nous’. Clients are drawn from a wide variety of sectors and include major foreign and domestic corporations and private equity players — its ability to lean on a well-staffed office in New York is a significant lure for multinationals. Emmanuel Pressman, who chairs the corporate group from Toronto, is a 'very seasoned, technical and excellent lawyer’. Pressman advised a Blackstone-led consortium on a $20bn partnership agreement whereby private equity funds managed by Blackstone, together with CPPIB and GIC, acquired a 55% stake in Thomson Reuters’ financial and risk business. He also advised Blackstone on its C$3.8bn acquisition of Pure Industrial REIT. Jeremy Fraiberg is a 'widely recognized corporate specialist’ and acted for Mitel Networks on its $2bn acquisition by Searchlight Capital Partners. He also advised Central Group Alberta on the acquisition of Central Fund of Canada by Sprott. Other key contacts in Toronto include Douglas Marshall, who advised Dream Global REIT on its C$903m acquisition of a portfolio of 135 office and industrial properties located in the Netherlands, and Douglas Bryce, who was appointed managing partner in 2017. Frank Turner is recommended in Calgary and advised MHR Fund Management on the acquisition of control of a Canadian energy company. In 2018, both Toronto heavyweight Clay Horner and Montreal-based Robert Yalden retired, while Craig Spurn joined in Calgary from McCarthy TĂ©trault.

The 'incredibly sophisticated’ team at Stikeman Elliott LLP 'ranks among the top two corporate groups in Canada’, according to some. The firm’s consistent corporate offering across its national network is a big draw for clients, who commend it as a 'joined-up practice, which is equally strong in Ontario and Quebec — unlike many of its competitors’. The firm also has extremely capable platforms in Alberta and British Columbia, as well as international offices in New York, London and Sydney. In Toronto, firm chair William J. Braithwaite is a pre-eminent name for major deals and advised MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates on its cross-border acquisition of DigitalGlobe. In another Toronto headline, corporate heavy-hitter John Ciardullo assisted Sprott with its acquisition of Central Fund of Canada. Toronto-based Sean Vanderpol is widely commended as a 'future star’ and acted for Dominion Diamond on its $1.2bn acquisition by an affiliate of The Washington Companies. Simon A. Romano is also recommended in Toronto. The Montreal team had a banner year, which included John Leopold ('really experienced and strategic’) advising Xylem on the C$509m acquisition of Pure Technologies and Warren Katz advising Cogeco Communications on Caisse de dĂ©pĂŽt et placement du QuĂ©bec's $1.4bn equity investment in Cogeco. Other key names in Montreal include Sophie Lamonde, who is an 'up-and-coming partner with a strong record in private equity’, and senior counsel Sidney Horn. The firm’s Calgary office is also a significant originator of work, especially on the energy side, and Frederick Erickson advised Centrica on the C$722m sale of its Canadian oil and gas exploration and production business to Canlin Energy. Transactional energy specialist Christopher Nixon and Calgary managing partner Leland Corbett are also recommended in Calgary. Noordin Nanji heads the corporate and securities groups in Vancouver.

'Better than most’, Torys LLP strikes the right note with its 'consistent team-based approach’. Sources also draw attention to its 'deep and experienced bench’, which comprises 'excellent lawyers with a strong service mentality’. Largely driven out of Toronto (it also draws on experienced partners in Calgary and New York), the group is well known for its close relationships with key institutional clients such as major Canadian pension funds. Sector specialist Matthew Cockburn is highly sought after for M&A and private equity and recently acted with Guy Berman to advise longstanding client CPPIB, as part of a consortium including Energy Capital Partners and Access Industries, on the $5.6bn acquisition of Calpine Corporation. John Emanoilidis has 'excellent business acumen’ and acted for Husky Injection Molding Systems, Berkshire Partners and OMERS Private Equity in connection with OMERS Private Equity’s and Berkshire Partners’ $3.85m sale of Husky IMS International to funds managed by Platinum Equity. Emanoilidis also acted as Canadian counsel to CIBC on its $5bn acquisition of Chicago-based PrivateBancorp. Cornell Wright, who leads the practice alongside Emanoilidis, is a 'superb M&A lawyer, who is very good at anticipating issues’; he advised Thomson Reuters on its landmark strategic partnership with Blackstone, which involved the sale of a 55% stake in its financial and risks business to private equity funds managed by Blackstone. The group also benefits from the senior experience of New York office head Karrin Powys-Lybbe — 'razor-smart and an effective and creative problem-solver’ — who advised Scientific Games on its C$775m acquisition of NYX Gaming Group, a Guernsey-incorporated company headquartered in Las Vegas and listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. In Toronto, Kevin Morris and David Chaikof are also key contacts, while transactional energy specialist Derek Flaman is recommended in Calgary.

‘Top in the Alberta market, period’, Bennett Jones LLP distinguishes itself through its ‘exceptional bench strength’ and ‘unparalleled knowledge of the energy industry’. In addition, to its ‘first-rate Calgary office’, the department also has an increasingly prominent Toronto platform and robust teams in Edmonton and Vancouver. In Calgary, Patrick Maguire (‘excellent at both the big-picture analysis and the detail’) and John Piasta (‘a top-notch transactional attorney’) advised Cenovus on its C$17.7bn acquisition of assets from ConocoPhillips’, including a 50% interest in FCCL Partnership. Calgary-based M&A co-head Brent Kraus is an ‘excellent lawyer and manager’ and acted for Schlumberger on its joint venture with Weatherford International. In Toronto, M&A co-lead Linda Misetich Dann and mining head Sander Grieve advised Osisko Gold Royalties on its acquisition of a C$1.1bn portfolio of assets from Orion Mine Finance Group. Private equity head John Mercury, vice chairman Perry Spitznagel and seasoned specialist David Spencer are also recommended in Calgary. Abbas Ali Khan is an ‘impressive younger partner’ in Toronto.

FASKEN continues to grow its already extensive national network, with its platforms in Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Toronto and Vancouver now joined by a new office in Surrey, British Columbia. The firm, which has a prominent reputation globally for its mining practice, also draws upon international offices in Beijing, London and Johannesburg. In Toronto, Jon Levin is highly sought after for M&A and advised OneREIT, and the OneREIT Special Committee, on its C$1.1bn privatization transaction. On the mining side, global mining head John Turner partnered with Bradley Freelan to advise Richmont Mines on its C$770m acquisition by Alamos Gold. In Montreal, Michel Boislard ('very capable and great to work with’), Diane Bertrand and Marie-JosĂ©e Neveu advised Parkland Fuel on its acquisition of over 800 gas stations from Alimentation Couche-Tard. Among the Vancouver office’s highlights, Ally Bharmal and Iain Mant advised Daiya Foods on its C$405m acquisition by Otsuka Pharmaceutical.

'A premier firm for energy transactions’, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Canadian arm also has robust experience in the retail, life sciences, agriculture and infrastructure sectors. Among the names to note, Toronto managing partner Terence S. Dobbin is highly regarded and recently acted alongside 'knowledgeable and experienced’ national firm chair Walied Soliman to advise on a multi-jurisdictional acquisition on behalf of a client. In Calgary, seasoned transactional energy specialist Rick Borden advised a midstream client on acquisitions of interests in a couple of assets. Among its highlights in Montreal, Marc Duquette acted for a bank in an acquisition. Other senior figures in Montreal include Paul Raymond, Stephen J. Kelly and the 'extremely good’ Eric Stevens. Daniel E. Steiner is a key contact in Vancouver.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s corporate group 'exceeds expectations’ on the back of its 'great service, which is excellent in every respect’, according to some. In Vancouver, Fred Pletcher is a high-profile name for mining deals and recently advised a domestic gold company on a significant merger. The group also draws upon the expertise of public M&A head Paul Mingay, private M&A head Graham King and the 'technical and business-minded’ Gordon Raman — all are based in Toronto.

Burnet Duckworth & Palmer LLP is considered by many as a 'first port of call for energy deals’ — it also shines in private equity, technology and transport matters. In a showcase of its sweet spot, Sean Korney advised Marathon Oil Corporation on the $2.5bn sale of Marathon Oil Canada to Canadian Natural Resources and Shell Canada Energy. In addition, Alyson Goldman advised Canyon Services Group on its C$637m acquisition by Trican Well Service. William Maslechko, who advised Liquor Stores in defending a proxy contest, is a leading light.

Best known for its mining practice, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP has been extremely active in the burgeoning cannabis space of late, with sources highlighting it as 'dominant in the area’. Most notably, the firm handled several deals for Canopy Growth, including advising on its C$250m acquisition of Hiku Brands Company and also on its C$375m acquisition of the remaining 33% of BC Tweed Joint Venture. On the mining side, the team acted for Hecla Mining on its $462m acquisition of Klondex Mines. Managing partner Mark Bennett and key partner Paul Stein are both recommended in Toronto.

Dentons’ group, which is particularly active in the energy, technology and telecoms spheres, is led jointly by the 'very capable’ William Gilliland and Charles Spector, from Calgary and Montreal respectively. In a recent example of its communications expertise, Calgary partners William Jenkins and Stephanie Campbell advised Shaw Communications on the Canadian aspects of the $1.6bn sale of its wholly owned subsidiary, ViaWest, to Peak 10 Holding Corporation, a portfolio company of GI Partners. Canlin Energy, Capital Power and FMC Corporation are also representative clients.

Among Gowling WLG’s recent highlights, Toronto-based Robert Hull advised Strathallen Capital on its C$703m acquisition of a retail portfolio of 44 properties from OneREIT. Vancouver-based Cyndi Laval leads the national corporate finance, M&A and private equity group and advised Exeter Resource Corporation on Goldcorp’s negotiated C$240m takeover bid for Exeter. Toronto-based Ian Palm and Calgary’s Gregory Peterson are also key contacts.

A key performer in the mid-market, Aird & Berlis LLP is routinely at the forefront of emerging trends, as evidenced by the Toronto firm’s recent strong showings in the technology and cannabis spheres. Seasoned specialist Martin Kovnats chairs the M&A group, while Paige Backman, who brings to bear a strong record in technology and sports-related matters, chairs the corporate and commercial group.

Baker McKenzie’s Toronto practice is distinguished by its ability to plug into the global firm’s wider network to advise on the Canadian leg of multi-jurisdictional deals. In a recent example, it advised Motorola Solutions on the local aspects of its $1bn acquisition of Avigilon Corporation. Local practice chair Sonia Yung is the key contact.

DLA Piper (Canada) LLP’s corporate group, which is led jointly by Toronto-based Ted Maduri and Edmonton’s David Stratton, has a strong record in venture capital and technology transactions. Highlights included Toronto’s Derek Sigel advising Sodexo on its $675m acquisition of Centerplate from Olympus Growth Fund V, LP.

Montreal-based Lavery, de Billy is widely regarded as a leading firm in Quebec and is recommended for its expertise in the infrastructure, private equity and aeronautics arenas. Among its highlights, AndrĂ© Paquette advised waste management company EBI on QFL Solidarity Fund’s C$70m investment into EBI. Jean-SĂ©bastien Desroches heads the business law group.

Among McMillan LLP’s recent highlights, it advised the sellers on Novacap’s acquisition of a majority stake in Montreal-based women's apparel company Joseph Ribkoff — Montreal’s Max Mendelsohn led that work. In Toronto, gaming law specialist Howard Drabinsk advised Scientific Games on the acquisition, through its wholly owned subsidiary SG Canada Acquisitions, of DEQ Systems.

WeirFoulds LLP has a diverse practice, which receives a steady stream of work from public and private companies, private equity players, venture capital funds, strategic investors and international law firms. In a key highlight, the firm advised Clubhouse Developments, led by RGF Real Estate Fund LP, on its C$220m acquisition of The Country Club Golf Course in Woodbridge, Ontario. John Pandell chairs the corporate team.

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