Canada Teams 2019 – GC Powerlist

Canada Teams 2019

ACS Infrastructure Canada

| ACS Infrastructure Canada

ACS Infrastructure Canada is the Canadian division of the global energy construction and infrastructure engineering company that is highly experienced in handling public private partnerships and major projects around the...


Aecon Group

| Aecon Group

The highly regarded legal team at Aecon Group is led by Yonni Fushman, executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary, and is at the forefront of the infrastructure construction...


Air Canada

| Air Canada

The in-house legal team at Air Canada, the national airline of Canada, is led by the international award-winning lawyer and chief legal officer David Shapiro, and combines the talents of...


Alamos Gold

| Alamos Gold

Alamos Gold is a mid-tier Canadian gold producer with projects in Mexico, the US, Canada and Turkey, and is listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges. Nils Engelstad,...


Alberta Energy Regulator

| Alberta Energy Regulator


The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) is the single regulatory agency for energy development in the province of Alberta, being responsible for ensuring regulation of the production, exploration and development of...



| Alcanna

Formerly known as Liquor Stores, Alcanna is a major alcohol retailer in Alberta, British Columbia, Alaska, New Jersey and Kentucky. Matthew Hewson, vice president and general counsel, leads a legal...


Alcon Canada

| Alcon Canada

Alcon Canada develops and markets over-the-counter drugs, highly-sophisticated surgical devices, and consumer eye care products, within the ophthalmological space and is currently owned by Novartis, a top-tier global pharmaceutical company....


Aon Canada

| Aon Canada

As chief counsel, Shaun Miller manages the in-house legal team for Aon Canada, the Canadian operation of the major global insurer that offers insurance, reinsurance and pension products. Miller serves...


ArcelorMittal Canada, Steel Business

| ArcelorMittal Canada, Steel Business

ArcelorMittal Canada’s legal team for steel strives to balance collaboration and cross-training to improve efficiencies and client service, while also developing individual team member subject-matter expertise for particular areas of...


Association de la construction du Québec (ACQ)

| Association de la construction du Québec (ACQ)

The Association de la construction du Québec is a non-profit organisation representing practitioners in all construction trades in the institutional, commercial and industrial construction sectors across the province. It provides...


Editor Message

As the world’s second largest country by total area, Canada is a leader in the environmental and energy industries as well as in a whole range of industrial, commercial and professional services sectors. Over the last few years the country’s economy has experienced significant changes, such as those related to the global fall in the price of crude oil, which has hurt Canada’s energy sector. Politically, the potential effects of the US and China’s trade war as well as Canada’s own relationship with China and the potential renegotiation of NAFTA are all likely to signal further changes in the economy.

However, despite these concerns, the Canadian economy has proved resilient, as demonstrated by a 40 year low in unemployment, so it can therefore be seen as a time of both challenges and opportunities for the Canadian business sector generally.

The in-house legal industry in Canada has had to react to these challenges and their impact on the business world, forcing adaptation and innovation. In this regard, the Canadian in-house industry is one of the strongest in the world. In particular, in-house legal teams in the country have been active in harnessing the benefits of new legal technology and have increasingly taken a keen interest in environmental regulations and relations with First Nation communities.

This year we have the pleasure of highlighting the top 100 in-house legal teams in Canada, with each team being an outstanding example of innovation, technical ability, management and showcasing the most important and challenging work in the industry.

Peter Tweedley

Research Analyst

GC Powerlist series

McMillan LLP  logo

McMillan LLP is pleased to congratulate this year’s in-house counsel named in The Legal 500’s GC Powerlist: Canada Teams. This remarkable group of lawyers have earned recognition through their dedication to the success of their companies and profession, even as they navigate the choppy waters of an increasingly complex role. As a national business law firm, we have assisted general counsel with the many demands placed on them: legal advisor of course, but also operations manager, business strategist, procurement advisor, relationship manager, crisis counsellor, and budget “hawk”.

Across the range of companies and sectors, we hear the same concerns from general counsel: how to manage the uncertain risks of lengthy litigation, cybersecurity and other crises within a fixed budget. Effective counsel are increasingly looking to their external legal advisors to be more than just purveyors of legal advice; they need to be drivers of solutions that help the business. That means being attuned to the need for cost-effective, timely and business-specific solutions.

McMillan is acutely aware of the need to predict and manage legal spend. In our experience, the demand for alternative fee arrangements has shown double digit growth. Creative counsel have worked with us to manage the unpredictability of legal spend, for instance by negotiating a single price for managing all of a company’s litigation or structuring a discount/premium arrangement to control the costs of busted deals.

The exponential growth of new technology is creating new opportunities for innovation and mischief. Artificial intelligence and data analytics, while costly, are allowing companies and their advisors greater insight into the business. The sophistication and availability of legal operations products continues to grow, enabling legal teams to use data and analytics, apps and artificial intelligence to assign and manage work, and predict and prepare for future demand. However, new technology adds risk and security issues that continue to keep lawyers up at night. As a firm, we are investing in the same tools to address cybersecurity threats.

An ever-increasing area of in-house focus is managing the regulatory pressures that impact business strategy and overall results. Many
important business decisions need to be made in a context that includes public policy considerations, legal decision-makers and a wide variety of stakeholders. At our affiliated public policy shop, McMillan Vantage, we have seen the importance that good general counsel place on ensuring they bring all of these factors to bear as they advise their companies.

The hard-working counsel on this year’s list certainly aren’t resting on their laurels. McMillan looks forward to continuing to work closely with in-house counsel to drive efficiency, reduce risk, manage costs, and advance innovation in our profession.