Firm Profile > Baker McKenzie > Toronto, Canada

Baker McKenzie
SUITE 2100, PO BOX 874

International trade Tier 3

Baker McKenzie stands out for its expertise in customs law, with extensive expertise in tariff classification, rules of origin, and the development of customs strategies and compliance programs. The Toronto-based practice group combines with its colleagues across the globe to act for an impressive roster of multinational clients, having advised on trade remedies, economic sanctions and trade agreements. Department head Paul Burns is rated for his specialist experience in international trade and commodity taxation.

Practice head(s):

Paul Burns


The two greatest strengths of the team are its depth of experience (on almost every issue, lawyers can provide examples of how the government agency might react and how they handled a similar matter for other clients in the past) and its ability to work through complex issues while carefully and patiently explaining each point to the client.’

The team demonstrated strong knowledge of the legal area and strong understanding of the commercial realities.’

Paul Burns blends the right balance of legal knowledge and practical advice that I find invaluable. He also genuinely cares about the clients and follows up on matters to assure that decisions are being made and that work is progressing.’

Labour and employment Tier 3

Baker McKenzie’s labour and employment practice has a solid reputation in contentious cases, both domestic and, through its ability to link up with its wider global network, cross-border disputes. The team also routinely advises on employment counselling, labour relations, transactional support matters and global mobility issues. George Avraam, who chairs the North America employment and compensation group, is noted for his broad trial and appellate litigation practice. Also recommended is associate Jennifer Bernardo, whom clients have hailed as ‘exceptionally bright’.

Practice head(s):

George Avraam

Other key lawyers:


An ultra responsive team, which is comprised of strong litigators.’

I would describe the performance of this team as consistently excellent: timely, thoughtful, accurate and practical. I particularly value their responsiveness and the overall consistent quality and reliability of their advice.’

I appreciate the team’s understanding of our particular institutional culture and approach, and their ability to tailor their advice accordingly. The group’s cross-border experience and coordination is also something that sets them apart from other firms.’

George Avraam is an excellent litigator who makes a significant effort to really understand his client’s business and risk tolerance, providing counselling and litigation advice accordingly.’

George Avraam is truly outstanding lawyer; he is business-like, practical and prompt and has enormous expertise across all aspects of employment law and civil litigation.’

Jennifer Bernardo is exceptionally bright, and very thoughtful and measured in her approach. Her advice is of a consistently high standard.’

Key clients

McMaster University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Queen’s University

Primary Response Inc.

RSM Canada LLP

General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada

Acciona Infrastructures Canada Inc.

Olympus Canada Inc.

Colliers Macaulay Nicolls Inc. (Colliers International)

Brookfield Business Partners L.P.

Shire Plc

Motorola Solutions, Inc.

Nuance Communications, Inc.

Sika AG

Competition and antitrust Tier 4

The Canadian arm of Baker McKenzie frequently works hand-in-hand with offices from across the firm’s global network to advise on the domestic aspects of major multi-jurisdictional mergers. It is also increasingly leading worldwide mandates from Toronto, including recent advice to Camso on its $1.7bn sale to Michelin, which involved over 28 jurisdictions. Arlan Gates heads a compact but effective practice group, which also has experience in foreign investment matters and investigations.

Practice head(s):

Arlan Gates


The team provides pragmatic, yet very knowledgeable and risk-weighted solutions.’

We were in a deadlock situation and Bakers solved it with just the right instrument and wording; the company and us were in agreement within 24 hours (including their lawyers review).

Key clients

Abbott Laboratories

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

Knauf KG

Daimler AG

FedEx Corp.

Lufthansa Group

Motorola Solutions, Inc.

Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC)

Platinum Equity LLC

Vale Canada Limited


Brookfield Asset Management

The Freeman Company / Encore Event Technologies

Corporate and M&A Tier 4

The Toronto office of global giant Baker McKenzie continues to raise its profile locally. Traditionally strong in servicing the domestic aspects of multi-jurisdictional corporate deals, the Canada group is now leading cross-border transactions in its own right, for clients such as Brookfield Business Partners and Camso. David Palumbo, whose practice has an emphasis on healthcare, life sciences and financial services, heads the group.

Practice head(s):

David Palumbo

Other key lawyers:

Nancy Hamzo; Charles Magerman

Key clients

Brookfield Capital Partners LLC

Camso Inc.

Frontera Energy Corporation

Stracon S.A.


Intellectual property Tier 4

Distinguished by its global platform, Baker McKenzie stands out as a favourite among multinational corporations seeking portfolio management advice, with enviable multinational clients including Unilever and Zespri. Other key areas of expertise include anti-counterfeiting and patent litigation. Christopher Aide heads the IP practice and advises on portfolio management, brand protection and anti-counterfeiting matters. Also recommended is trademark specialist Stephanie Vaccari, who spearheads the Toronto office’s luxury and fashion group.

Technology Tier 4

Baker McKenzie fields a robust technology practice with strengths in commercial transactions and data protection matters. The group also distinguishes itself through its ability to link up with teams from across its global network to provide advice to multinational clients on the implementation of cross-border IT projects. Department head Theo Ling enjoys a strong market profile for his specialist expertise in privacy and data protection law.

Practice head(s):

Theo Ling; Arlan Gates


What makes the Baker McKenzie practice unique and very valuable to us is the global reach of the firm, and the fact that if we have cross-border issues (as we often do) getting relevant advice becomes quite seamless.’

The team are strong across the technology spectrum and also excellent at managing multi-jurisdictional projects.’

Theo Ling is a knowledgeable technology lawyer, with a practical, “can-do” attitude who is excellent at getting things done. He has a very refreshing creative, problem-solving approach and is the go-to person for complex global technology requirements.’

Tax Tier 5

Complemented by its premier global tax platform, Baker McKenzie’s Toronto-based practice group specializes in advising multinational corporations on local and cross-border tax matters. The team advises on a range of issues from transfer pricing issues to dispute resolution, and is particularly sought after by clients in the automotive, manufacturing, natural resources and technology sectors. Tax litigator Jacques Bernier heads a department, and transactional specialist Peter Clark is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Jacques Bernier


Peter Clark’s technical abilities are very strong, but even more important is his understanding of the client’s objectives and his ability to formulate and execute practicable strategies.’

Key clients


Motorola Solutions

Dispute resolution

Baker McKenzie’s Canadian dispute resolution practice sits as part of the firm’s global litigation offering and is valued by sources for its ability to resource complex, multi-jurisdictional cases. Under the leadership of John Pirie, who heads the national litigation group and the government enforcement group, the Toronto-based team is particularly active in fraud-related matters. The practice also has a significant asset recovery practice, where Pirie and Matthew Latella are both recommended.

Practice head(s):

John Pirie

Other key lawyers:


Bakers offers a full range of service offerings in both Canadian and international issues. The firm possesses deep experience and leverages individual talents well to access the particular skill sets needed for the specific matter at hand.’

What makes them unique is their ability to deal with complex, multi-jurisdictional disputes seemingly seamlessly given their global presence. I was particularly impressed by the integrated way in which their colleagues from around the globe interact with each other to produce favourable outcomes for clients.’

Attorneys have exceptional dedication to the engagement and stand out in terms of responsiveness and availability. They also work well across disciplines, bringing in specialized knowledge as needed to address unique issues and ensure positive results.’

The team is very knowledgeable, professional and attentive to detail. Their approach is one of reasonableness; they understand our culture and our business. I have found Baker McKenzie to be extremely attentive and professional in response to our business needs.’

John Pirie is exceptionally business-minded and results focused. He can cut through the noise and get to the essence of the dispute and then craft a way forward.’

Key clients

Pöyry Forestry Industry Consulting Limited

JPMorgan Chase  Bank

Canadian Royalties Inc. and Jien Canada Mining Ltd.

Messier-Dowty Inc.

Cementation Canada Inc.

HSBC Bank Canada

Primary Response Inc.

Fugro Canada Corp.

Sociedade-de-Fomento Industrial Private Limited

Landsberg Canada Inc. and Orora Packaging Solutions

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