Firm Profile > Dentons > Montreal , Canada


Cannabis Tier 1

Dentons has a prolific cannabis practice, which counts some of the largest producers and distributors in North America among its clients. Though it is perhaps best known for its corporate finance expertise, the department draws upon the firm’s full-service offering to advise industry participants on M&A deals, celebrity partnership transactions, cannabis supply agreements and regulatory issues. The wider firm’s global network, particularly its US platform, is also an attractive feature for rapidly growing cannabis companies looking to expand into new markets. Toronto-based group head Eric Foster is widely recognized as a thought leader in the industry. In 2019, regulatory specialist James Wishart left to join client Canopy Growth.

Media and entertainment Tier 1

A leading advisor to clients in the film industry, Dentons routinely advises major Hollywood studios on transactional and regulatory issues, and also acts for digital platforms, media companies and individual artists and performers. The team is best known for its strength in film finance, where it acts for borrowers and lenders, though the group also leverages the firm’s full-service offering to shine in assets sales and acquisitions, distribution and commercial agreements, IP, litigation and tax matters. Key contacts in Toronto include Ken Dhaliwal, whose practice spans the film, television, book publishing and live theatre spheres, and cross-border specialist Jim Russell. Senior associate Jayme Alter, also in Toronto, is rated for her ‘deep industry knowledge’. In 2019, Vancouver’s Gordon Esau moved into a senior counsel role.

Dispute resolution Tier 2

Dentons has a sizeable national practice, which benefits from well-staffed teams in five offices across Alberta, BC, Ontario and Quebec. In addition to a strong domestic presence, the team can also draw upon its global platform for supplementary support in multi-jurisdictional cases. Of recent note, the firm has continued to develop its profile in Ontario, particularly on the class actions side where it was recently instructed by Amazon to advise on four multi-jurisdictional class actions. Gordon Tarnowsky QC heads the national team from Calgary and is recognized for his experience in energy litigation and arbitration. Matthew Fleming, who is the deputy head of the national practice, is recommended for securities litigation and class actions in Toronto. Other key contacts include David Wotherspoon, who leads the Vancouver litigation practice, and Montreal litigation head Margaret Weltrowska.

Energy and natural resources: oil and gas Tier 2

Dentons distinguishes itself by a dedicated focus on oil and gas, with equally strong offerings in transactional and regulatory work. Another key differentiator is the firm’s ability to draw on its wider global energy practice, which provides significant multi-jurisdictional support on cross-border matters. Michael Hurst heads the national energy group and ranks among Canada’s leading transactional specialists. Bernard Roth, who leads the energy regulatory practice, is also highly regarded. Impressive up-and-coming partners include Laura Estep, who advises on regulatory matters, and George Antonopoulos, who handles commercial transactions.

Indigenous law Tier 2

Dentons is consistently involved in major energy infrastructure projects, which sees it advising on a significant amount of indigenous law-related issues. In addition, the firm secures a steady stream of mandates involving the mining, transportation and forestry sectors. Montreal-based practice co-head Ann Bigué Ad E handles an array of contentious and non-contentious matters, with strong skill sets in Aboriginal relations, land claims and treaty rights. Regulatory specialist Bernard Roth in Calgary co-heads the team alongside Bigué.

Telecoms Tier 2

Dentons has an increasingly prominent telecoms practice, which which regularly advises on complex transactional and regulatory matters. The group is best known for its robust wireless and satellite sector coverage and also stands out in the broadcasting sector, where it can seamlessly team with its top-tier media and entertainment team. Ottawa-based Monica Song heads the department and was recently appointed by the Government of Canada to a national panel of seven experts selected to review the legislative framework governing telecommunications, broadcasting and radiocommunication. Ottawa-based counsel Gregory Kane QC is also recommended.

Capital markets Tier 3

Dentons’ national practice is particularly active in Calgary, where it handles a steady stream of energy-related debt and equity transactions for both issuers and managers. The group, which benefits from robust platforms in Toronto and Vancouver, also continues to strengthen its capabilities in the cannabis, technology, and media and entertainment spheres. The team is regularly engaged by Canada’s largest investment banks, and also has strong issuer-side relationships with Enbridge and Shaw Communications. A name to note is Calgary-based Bill Gilliland, who counts Capital Power and National Oilwell Varco among his key clients.

Corporate and M&A Tier 3

Dentons' corporate practice is widely recognized for its experience in energy deals. Other strings to its national bow include a robust venture capital practice, and a firm-wide strength in media and telecoms. The firm's broad Canadian footprint (including offices across Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec) is also complemented by the its ability to plug into its extensive global network. The group is led jointly by Charles Spector and Dan Shea from Montreal and Calgary respectively.

Energy and natural resources: mining Tier 3

Dentons handles a wide range of transactional, regulatory and contentious matters for mining companies, investors and industry service providers. The firm has a strong offering in Vancouver, which includes Brian Abraham QC, and is supported by senior expertise throughout offices in Eastern and Western Canada. The practice also has the ability to tap into its global network, which includes offices in key mining jurisdictions such as Brazil, Peru and Chile.

Energy and natural resources: power Tier 3

At Dentons, the ability of the Canadian power team to plug into the firm's extensive global network has become an increasingly key differentiator. Indeed, the firm utilized large cross-office teams in several big-ticket power mandates over the past year. In one example, the Canadian team worked hand-in-hand with the Tashkent office to advise SkyPower on its $1.3bn investment in photovoltaic solar energy facilities in Tashkent, which marked the largest foreign direct investment by a Canadian company into Uzbekistan. Toronto-based transactional partner Vivek Bakshi co-heads the national power practice alongside regulatory specialist Bernard RothHelen Newland is also recommended in Toronto.

Environment Tier 3

Dentons’ environmental team regularly works alongside its signature oil and gas practice to advise on the environmental aspects of major pipeline projects, including recent mandates for PETRONAS and Syncrude Canada. It also has expertise in contaminated sites, and a wide variety of contentious issues and transactional support matters. Alex MacWilliam is a name to note.

International trade Tier 3

Dentons’ diverse trade practice handled several high-profile trade matters over the past year for major Canadian corporates and foreign multinationals. In line with its signature oil and gas practice, the firm is a popular choice for energy companies looking for support on trade issues, but also has solid experience in matters involving the manufacturing and transportation sectors. Toronto-based Paul Lalonde heads the practice and has a strong record in trade remedies, customs issues, sanctions and trade treaty matters.

Labour and employment Tier 3

Dentons’ increasingly prominent labour and employment practice covers all the key pillars, with strong skill sets in litigation, investigations and health and safety law. The team also sets itself apart through its ability to lean on its global network for support in multi-jurisdictional mandates. Barbara B Johnston QC heads the Calgary labour and employment group and is recommended for her deep expertise in matters relating to drug and alcohol testing. Andy Pushalik heads the group in Toronto and advises a range of companies, charities and public sector organizations on contentious and non-contentious issues.

Pensions Tier 3

Leveraging capable teams in Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton, the national practice group at Dentons regularly advises on administration, regulatory issues and transactional support matters. The department is jointly led by pensions specialists Scott Sweatman and Mary Picard, who are based in Vancouver and Toronto respectively.

Public procurement Tier 3

Equally adept at advising public and private sector clients, Dentons’ procurement team is well versed in bidding processes, compliance issues and bid challenges. Toronto-based Paul Lalonde heads the team and is recognized for his experience in procurement law challenges, where he acts for both suppliers and buyers. On the projects side, Vancouver’s John Haythorne routinely advises municipal, provincial and federal government entities and healthcare authorities on procurement matters.

Real estate Tier 3

Dentons has well-staffed offices across Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, and acts for a broad roster of developers, investors and owners. Notable sweet spots include project development and finance, real estate investment deals, retail transactions and leasing. In addition, its enviable global platform makes it a popular choice for cross-border transactions. Toronto-based Jules Mikelberg is noted for his robust property development practice.

Restructuring and insolvency Tier 3

The restructuring group at Dentons attracts a steady stream of high-profile work from lenders and accounting firms, including BMO, PwC, TD Bank and HSBC Bank. The national group combines historical strengths in British Columbia and Alberta with a growing presence in Toronto, and also has solid recent experience in cross-border cases. The department is headed by Calgary-based David Mann, while managing partner of the Vancouver office John Sandrelli is a dominant figure in BC.

Transport: aviation Tier 3

Dentons’ increasingly prominent practice group stands out for its client relationships with China-based airlines, including China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. Toronto-based counsel Carlo Vairo, whose practice spans aircraft finance, leasing and acquisitions, is recommended.

Transport: other transport Tier 3

Dentons advises rail, trucking, bus and public transit companies on regulatory issues. The multi-disciplinary practice also acts alongside the firm's infrastructure lawyers to advise private and public sector clients on the development of transport projects. Michael Ledgett, based in Toronto, maintains a broad practice spanning general transportation work, PPPs and other corporate matters.

Banking and finance Tier 4

Traditionally strong on the borrower side, Dentons’ national banking group continues to raise its profile among lenders, with recent weighty mandates for both domestic and foreign financial institutions. Most notably, Toronto-based Dennis Wiebe (‘every deal he’s on runs smoothly’) acted for HSBC Bank Canada on two deals over the past year. The team also benefits from the firm’s increasingly prominent cannabis practice, and recently advised a major Canadian bank, as agent, on a C$200m syndicated loan to Aurora Cannabis, which represented the first conventional debt financing of a cannabis company in Canada — Toronto-based Tom Hunter led that matter.

Competition and antitrust Tier 4

Supported by an expansive global network and a national full-service offering, Dentons’ competition group is consistently involved in a mix of transactional, regulatory and contentious matters. The practice routinely works as part of cross-office national and international teams, and enjoyed an impressive run of cross-border matters over the past year, with US and Asia-based clients being particularly active. The department is co-chaired by Toronto-based Sandy Walker, who also leads the Canadian regulatory practice group, and Edmonton-based counsel Barry Zalmanowitz QC, who is held up as ‘the leading practitioner in Western Canada’.

Infrastructure and projects Tier 4

Dentons’ group has an emphasis on transportation and energy infrastructure, where it advises a variety of public authorities, sponsors, lenders and contractors on project development matters. The team is recognized in particular for its international reach, and its ability to plug into the firm’s global network for support in multi-jurisdictional deals, including recent mandates in Latin America. The national group is jointly chaired by Vancouver-based Jana Mansour, who is qualified in Canada, the UK and the US, and Montreal-based Ilan Dunsky.

Tax Tier 4

Dentons’ tax team covers all the key areas of taxation in Canada, with notable experience in indirect and sales taxes, excise and duties, resource taxation and trusts and estates. Best known for its solid litigation capability, the group also advises on transactional work, particularly in the energy, technology, entertainment and cannabis fields. In Toronto, up-and-coming partner Larry Nevsky handles a broad mix of advisory, tax planning and tax litigation matters, while Edmonton-based Mark Woltersdorf heads the national tax practice. Calgary-based litigator Jehad Haymour left to join Bennett Jones LLP.

Technology Tier 4

Dentons has demonstrated strengths in commercial transactions, joint ventures and M&A, which transfers well to its increased focus on start-ups and emerging companies. The national technology group is also well versed in licensing, privacy and trade secrets-related matters. Toronto-based Michael Beairsto has a solid record in technology and e-commerce, while Edmonton-based Tom Sides has an emphasis on intellectual property matters.

Dentons is the world’s largest law firm, delivering quality and value to clients around the globe. Dentons is a leader on the Acritas Global Elite Brand Index, a BTI Client Service 30 Award winner and recognized by prominent business and legal publications for its innovations in client service, including founding Nextlaw Labs, the Nextlaw Global Referral Network, the Nextlaw Public Affairs Network and Nextlaw In-House Solutions. Dentons’ polycentric approach and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client interests in the communities in which we live and work.

As part of the renowned global team, Dentons has an established history in six of Canada’s key economic centres – Calgary, Edmonton, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. With roots reaching as far back as 1839 in Canada, the firm is truly “in and of the community,” providing clients with legal services in common and civil law.

Dentons offers an unmatched presence across the globe with experienced lawyers in more than 170 locations serving 70+ countries. With more than 500 lawyers across the Firm’s Canadian offices, Dentons provides clients with on-the-ground legal experience across many industries, private and public business, in key sectors of the Canadian economy.

Dentons is well-positioned to support the success of the Firm’s clients and the vast array of international players that are investing and developing their presence in the Canadian economy. To complement the Firm’s legal services, Dentons is committed to creating and nurturing an environment of diversity and inclusion, where the diversity of its workforce contributes to the enrichment of the Firm, its professional practice and its community. Dentons strives to provide clients with the highest standard of representation and service, provided by a diverse team of highly experienced people. As a testament to the Firm’s continued dedication in this area, Dentons is proud to be named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers (2011-2019) and one of Canada’s Greenest Employers (2017-2019).

Whether clients are conducting business in Canada or looking to expand internationally, Dentons offers local knowledge, global proficiency and exceptional depth of talent.  Explore the legal services that Dentons provides at

Department Name Email Telephone
Global Chief Executive Officer Elliott Portnoy
Global Chairman Joe Andrew
Canada Chief Executive Officer Beth Wilson, FCPA, FCA
Toronto (Office Managing Partner) Blair McCreadie
Edmonton (Office Managing Partner) Fausto Franceschi
Vancouver (Office Managing Partner) John Sandrelli
Calgary (Office Managing Partner) Tim Haney
Ottawa (Office Managing Partner) David Little
Montréal (Office Managing Partner) Claude Morency
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Ms Jacqueline Rowniak  photo Ms Jacqueline Rowniak
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Number of lawyers in Canada : 500+
Number of lawyers globally : 10,000+
Total number of people globally : 18,000+

Diversity and Inclusion at Dentons Canada

At the core of our practice

At Dentons, we seek to attract, support, promote and retain individuals from all backgrounds, and provide a work environment in which everyone—regardless of race, colour, religion, ethnic and national origin, disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, expression and any other personal characteristic protected by law—is treated with respect, dignity and free of harassment.

Our multinational, multicultural, polycentric approach holds diversity and inclusion as driving principles behind our vision and strategy, and distinguishes us as the law firm of choice for not only our clients, but also our people.

Harnessing the unique perspectives of our people across our global organization is a business imperative. We draw on their talents and insights to provide our clients with local knowledge and sector experience in every legal tradition in the world, connecting our clients with high-quality lawyers who understand the business in every community in which they operate.

Fostering a diverse and inclusive environment

Over the years, we have implemented pipelines and initiatives to support Firm members in promoting and effecting diversity and inclusion. Initiatives include various scholarships directed to equity-seeking groups, specific programs designed to promote women and other under-represented groups into partnership and leadership roles, as well as robust regional and global affinity groups.

Below, we have outlined some of our programs, which we have invested in over the past three years to ensure, as a firm, we continue to uphold our unwavering commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Harassment and discrimination training

It is imperative that all our people feel safe and welcomed across the Firm. To achieve this, all Firm members complete mandatory harassment and discrimination training as part of our orientation learning experience. Our training module reviews our regional policy, including individual rights and responsibilities, and the Firm’s internal complaint process and investigation procedures. Training also demonstrates diverse and inclusive scenarios, including those that impact women, visible minority, religious and LGBT-inclusive examples as they relate to harassment and discrimination.

Global Inclusion Day

On one day every year, Dentons hosts a series of linked discussions across the Firm, highlighting different aspects of inclusion and its importance. The conversations provide insights and perspectives on the topic of inclusion that are beneficial to all. Over the years, panels have included a conversation around the business case for diversity and inclusion, women in leadership, creating a respectful workplace, global perspectives of our diverse and inclusive culture, affinity biases, our pro bono work, and various other important inclusion issues.

Global Pride Day

In May 2018, Dentons celebrated our inaugural Dentons Pride Day – a Firm-wide celebration of the first anniversary of the launch of our Dentons Global LGBT+ Network group. This celebration is part of the Firm’s deep commitment to LGBT inclusion, which is a key part of our diversity pillar, and thus an important component of our success.

Mental health

In 2017, Dentons conducted a benefits review, which has enabled us to develop an ongoing mental health strategy and program to raise awareness and destigmatize mental health issues and concerns across the Firm.

Our affinity groups and committees promote diversity within the Firm through awareness-building and engagement, and help foster an inclusive environment where new relationships may develop and flourish. In addition to our six local diversity and inclusion committees, our Canadian affinity groups include:

Dialogue LGBTA

Our regional and highly-inclusive LGBT and ally network, Dialogue LGBTA cuts through the stratification of the Firm to provide support to our LGBT members irrespective of geography, practice area, industry or type of employee. The core objective of Dialogue LGBTA is to educate all of our people on the differences between sexual orientation, gender identity, expression and sex; further breaking down barriers, building internal relationships and promoting professional growth through a variety of events, networking opportunities and programs.


Dentons’ women affinity group in Canada, WomenLEAD (Leadership, Entrepreneurism, Advancement, and Development), fosters an environment that attracts, develops and inspires women business leaders through business development planning programs, mentoring, networking and client events. This network creates opportunities for women to reach the top levels of their respective fields and become key influencers in both the professional environment and community at large.

Dentons Global LGBT+ Network

Our Firm-wide group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non- binary, queer and questioning colleagues, as well as their allies, this network supports LGBT colleagues throughout the Firm, particularly in locations without a local/regional LGBT affinity group. It promotes cooperation and sharing of ideas among local/regional Dentons LGBT affinity groups, and increases the visibility of issues affecting LGBT colleagues.

Our commitment to the advancement of women and gender diversity

Dentons has made a commitment to gender diversity in relation to our key leadership team members and Board of Directors. We were one of the first law firms to sign onto the Catalyst Accord 2022, a call to action to Canadian businesses to accelerate the advancement of women in senior leadership roles by increasing the percentage of women on boards and in executive positions to 30 percent or greater by 2022. In addition to this commitment, Dentons promotes the advancement of women through internal talent policies and processes that provide sponsorship and mentorship opportunities for women to progress to business and leadership positions.

Our Women’s Advancement Director and Women’s Business Development Director roles play a key part in promoting gender diversity and equality across our regions around the globe. These newly-created roles focus on the development and progression of women lawyers to partner and leadership positions, while supporting women partners and lawyers with targeted programs focused on enhancing, supplementing and supporting their business development and marketing skills.

Diverse talent

Developing a team that is diverse and inclusive is a business responsibility and a key component of our strategy. Our practice and sector management structure ensures each practice is adequately staffed, safeguarding the development and progression of our professionals. Our polycentric model not only gives us the flexibility to respond to our client’s needs, but also allows us to help our clients adapt to the shifting dynamics of the global marketplace.

The Firm’s practice group leaders are responsible for ensuring our talent pipelines and succession plans are diverse and inclusive, which strengthens our ability to provide our clients with innovative solutions. To achieve this, our Talent Management professionals participate in an ongoing diversity and inclusion learning and development program, which enables them to drive our diversity and inclusion strategy through our recruitment and retention efforts. The Firm’s mentorship program and succession plan provides our associates with an opportunity for growth and development, preparing them to assume leadership roles at the appropriate time.

Advancing diversity and inclusion in our communities

We are proud to support a strong culture of corporate social responsibility and civic engagement, pro bono work and commitment to diversity, inclusion and sustainability. It is an intrinsic part of our positive and forward-thinking culture—a culture that we believe has always been critical to our success and the success of our clients. To learn more about our pro bono work in the communities in which we live and work, click here 

Through partnerships with local organizations and progressive business policies, Dentons promotes diversity in our communities, and establishes the groundwork for the next generation of lawyers and business professionals.

We are committed to – and actively participate in – the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network, a group of Canadian law firms who have signed a Statement of Principles and have agreed to work together to promote diversity, and encourage a culture of inclusion in our firms and the broader legal community.

Dentons is an employer partner at the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), an organization that helps new Canadians connect to employment that fully leverages their skills and talents. Since its inception in 2004, Dentons has supported more than 100 skilled new Canadians who have gone on to succeed in the labour market.
Our Toronto office continues to make a positive impact on a local at-risk community by participating in the Law in Action Within Schools (LAWS) program, a mentoring partnership between the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School and the Toronto District School Board. LAWS was formed to provide an academic program aimed at supporting, guiding and motivating Grade 11 and 12 students attending school in a marginalized Toronto neighborhood. Dentons also provides a paid internship position to one or two LAWS student per year, which gives successful candidates the opportunity to not only gain firsthand experience working in a legal environment, on a rotation basis in our business services groups, but also network with our lawyers and other Firm members.

We also participate in other collaborative programs, such as RBC’s Aboriginal Articling Program and the Aboriginal Business Student Internship in partnership with Polygon Homes. Through our Polygon Homes partnership program, Indigenous undergraduate business students have the opportunity to work in non-traditional areas of business and network with business leaders in Vancouver.

Dentons is committed to partnering, sponsoring and engaging with a number of influential organizations across the country, as outlined below.

Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion

Dentons is a founding employer partner and pro bono legal counsel to the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI), an organization whose focus is to provide practical, sustainable solutions to help employers move forward towards true inclusion. We are proud to annually support the CCDI’s signature spring gala, BLOOM!, which celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of Canada’s diversity and inclusion professionals. Diversity champions have the opportunity to apply for the Dentons Senior Executive of the Year Award which recognizes Canadian Executive Leaders for outstanding contributions and commitment to diversity, inclusion, human rights and equity within their organization.

Catalyst Canada

Dentons is a member of Catalyst Canada, a non-profit corporate membership research and advisory organization, working to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women in business and professional service.

Pride at Work Canada

Dentons is a founding partner of Pride at Work Canada, an organization dedicated to fostering a workplace culture of inclusion for LGBT employees.

Start Proud

Dentons is pro bono legal counsel to Start Proud, a non-profit organization that facilitates the professional development of LGBTQ students as they transition from school to career. The Firm is also an annual sponsor of Start Proud’s Out on Bay Street Annual Conference and facilitates the annual Moot Competition – where teams of three and four work together to develop a strategic plan that addresses current LGBT issues, drawing from a multitude of business areas. Teams then present their plans to a panel of judges at Dentons’ Toronto office.

Justicia Project of the Law Society of Ontario and the Law Society of British Columbia

Dentons is a signatory and active participant in this program, which is designed to retain and advance women lawyers in private practice. In particular, this program focuses on maternity and parental leave, and flex-work policies, sharing strategies and best practices for tracking gender demographics, adopting initiatives to foster women’s networking and business development, and promoting leadership skills for women.

We are also proud to be affiliated with and support a number of fantastic organizations including the South Asian Bar Association, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, the Korean Lawyers Association, the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada and the Women’s Executive Network.


As a testament to our continued dedication, Dentons is proud to be recognized among the following:

  • Canada’s Best Diversity Employers (2011-2018)
  • Stonewall’s Top Global Employers (2018) for LGBT inclusion
  • British Columbia’s Top Employers (2017-2018)
  • Alberta’s Best Workplaces for Diversity and Inclusion (2016)
  • Canada’s Top LGBT-Inclusive Employers (2015)
  • Canada’s Best Employers for Young People (2012, 2016)
  • Canada’s Best Employers for New Canadians (2009 – 2013)