With the release of the 15th Edition of The Best LawyersTM in Canada, we are excited to announce the "Law Firm of the Year" awards in Canada for 2021.

These awards are given to a single firm nationwide for excellence in a specific practice area. The recognitions are based on several criteria, including feedback from lawyers recognized by Best Lawyers on the individual and firm-wide work, historical analysis of the firm’s “Lawyer of the Year” awards in this area, and peer-review scores for the firm's work in a specific practice area. This year, for the first time, we invited firms in Canada to provide feedback on significant matters in certain practice areas that highlight the practice and its strongest work.

Below are the firms that received this award and their specialty as well as highlights from their feedback.

The 2021 Canadian "Law Firm of the Year" Honorees

Aboriginal Law
Lawson Lundell

"We are currently advising Canadian Natural on regulatory and Indigenous matters associated with their application for approval of the Horizon South application and the North Pit Extension application for the Horizon Oil Sands Processing Plant and Mine, a 250,000 bbl/day oil sands mine. We are also acting for Canadian Natural in relation to a judicial review application related to the North Pit Extension project and a regulatory appeal related to the approval of the High Temperature Paraffinic Froth Treatment project. We have provided legal and strategic support to Canadian Natural in their efforts to respond to the appeals. We also advise Canadian Natural on responses to Indigenous objections to applications for surface land dispositions, well and facility licensing applications and other similar matters for their thermal and heavy oil operations, and on responses to Indigenous groups expressing concerns about unplanned events and other matters associated with Canadian Natural operations."

Administrative and Public Law
Stockwoods 

Advertising and Marketing Law
McMillan 

Alternative Dispute Resolution
Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin 

Appellate Practice
Peacock Linder Halt & Mack 

Banking and Finance Law
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada 

Class Action Litigation
McCarthy Tétrault 

Competition / Antitrust Law
McCarthy Tétrault 

"Following the acquisition by Brookfield Business Partners L.P. of a 57 percent controlling interest in Genworth MI Canada Inc. (“Genworth”) for an aggregate purchase price of approximately CAD2.4 billion, Genworth entered into a Revolving and Term Credit Agreement with The Bank of Nova Scotia, as a lead arranger and as the administrative agent, and a syndicate of lenders, providing for revolving and term credit facilities in the amount of up to CAD600 million. Concurrently with the closing of the Revolving and Term Credit Agreement, Genworth closed a Bridge Credit Agreement with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, as a lead arranger and as the administrative agent, and a syndicate of lenders, providing for a bridge credit facility in the amount of CAD200 million. McCarthy Tetrault advised both administrative agents and both lending syndicates on all aspects of both refinancings provided to Genworth. Genworth is the largest private sector residential mortgage insurer in Canada, providing mortgage default insurance to Canadian residential mortgage lenders. This transaction was named among Lexpert’s Top 10 Deals of 2019."

Construction Law
Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel 

Corporate and Commercial Litigation
Stikeman Elliot 

Corporate Law
Gowling WLG 

"Counsel to US-based global power leader Cummins Inc. in its cross-border acquisition of Hydrogenics Corporation of Mississauga, Ontario, with an approximate enterprise value of US$290 million."

Criminal Defence
Gindin Wolson Simmonds Roitenberg

"Over the past two years, the firm has been involved in defending well over 25 homicide cases; litigated at least a dozen matters before the Manitoba Court of Appeal, argued matters before the Supreme Court of Canada; defended police officers charged or investigated criminally, successfully defended a Winnipeg city counsellor, defended members of the clergy charged criminally; and defended a number of people charged in major drug conspiracies. Our firm has acted for parties in Judicial Inquiries involving quasi-criminal investigations; child welfare; wrongful convictions; as well as acting as Commission Counsel to the Oliphant Inquiry involving the Mulroney-Schreiber financial dealings. Our lawyers have received community service awards and awards of distinction as practitioners. Further, many of our lawyers are involved in either teaching law or facilitating continuing legal education."

Energy Law
Dentons Canada

"The past 12 months have been difficult for the Canadian oil and gas industry. Notwithstanding this, Denton's advice has continued to be sought by major players on commercial and regulatory matters related to the sale and purchase of upstream and midstream suites of assets, energy project development, and the regulation of energy infrastructure. Clients include Enbridge, Cenovus, Suncor, Husky, Pembina, Petronas, and Shell. Details of some of these matters are given in this submission. Of particular note is the firm’s prominence in matters relating to the midstream industry – both commercial and regulatory, which has been an area of recent growth. The quality of the retainers that the firm has won is testimony to the fact that Dentons is a recognizable leader, a “go-to” firm in the area because of the quality of our practitioners and the fact that our commercial and regulatory teams work together in a seamless fashion to give clients practical advice and successful outcomes."

 

Environmental Law
Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers

 

Family Law

Epstein Cole 

 

"The husband obtained an order in Ontario that varied a Manitoba support order that was made under the Divorce Act. The wife brought a motion to set aside the Ontario order on the basis that the husband had not followed the correct process for varying a support order that was made in another province. The court granted the mother’s motion and provided a detailed summary of the provisions of the Divorce Act that deal with varying support orders that were made in another province. (Cascegna v. Peretta)"

Immigration Law
Green and Spiegel

"Stephen Green is a subject matter expert in the new field of start-up visas for Canada.  The application process is complex and few immigration lawyers have processed as many of these types of visas as Stephen.  Prior to the pandemic, Stephen traveled to regularly to India, Turkey, and Dubai in order to speak to many business and start-up organizations regarding Canada’s start-up visa process.  Since the pandemic, Stephen has continued to speak to the same types of organizations via webinar. Most recently, Stephen has been a Demo Day judge for several start-up organizations in India."

Insolvency and Financial Restructuring
Goodmans 

Insurance Law
Robinson Sheppard Shapiro

Intellectual Property Law
Smart & Biggar 

Labour and Employment Law
Borden Ladner Gervais

Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law
Torys 

Medical Negligence
Gowling WLG 

"In May 2018, fertility specialist Dr. Del Valle discovered that a cryogenic tank containing embryos belonging to 47 patients had low levels of liquid nitrogen, which likely compromised the genetic integrity of the embryos. Two class actions were commenced against Dr. Del Valle, his fertility clinics, and the manufacturer of the cryogenic equipment. The outcome of these class actions will be important in addressing some of the challenges apportioning liability in product liability cases generally. These actions also raise other interesting legal issues, including the procedural requirement to consolidate both class actions as well as the validity of releases signed by potential class members in exchange for free fertility services. As General Counsel to the CMPA, Gowling WLG plays an important role in these class actions strategizing and advising counsel representing Dr. Del Valle on how best to approach these issues with the plaintiffs and co-defendants. Given its experience managing other class actions, Gowling WLG has provided important strategic guidance to minimize the client’s exposure to liability and potentially substantial damages. Gowling WLG is also providing advice to counsel for Dr. Del Valle in exploring a resolution with the plaintiffs and negotiating apportionment between defendants."

Mergers and Acquisitions Law
Blake, Cassels & Graydon 

Mining Law
Lawson Lundell

"New Gold entered into a strategic partnership with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (“Ontario Teachers’”). Under the terms of the strategic partnership, Ontario Teachers agreed to acquire a 46.0 percent free cash flow interest in the New Afton mine (“New Afton”) with an option in four years to convert the interest into a 46.0 percent partnership interest in New Afton with New Gold holding the remaining 54.0 percent partnership interest in a limited partnership New Gold and Ontario Teachers’ will form at the time of conversion, or have its interest remain as a free cash flow interest at a reduced rate of 42.5 percent, for upfront cash proceeds of $300 million payable upon closing of the transaction. New Gold will hold (i) an overriding buyback option to re-purchase and cancel Ontario Teacher’s right to convert to a partnership during the four year period and (ii) a right of the first offer for the life of the agreements. Lawson Lundell advised New Gold (as co-counsel with Cassells Brock & Blackwell)."

Natural Resources Law
Fasken 

"Fasken is advising Aitken Creek Gas Storage ULC on amendments to the Unit Operating Agreement with BP Canada Energy for the Aitken Creek gas storage facility in Northeastern British Columbia.  Aitken Creek is the largest natural gas storage facility in British Columbia and is a critical infrastructure for the Western Canadian gas industry."

Personal Injury Litigation
Thomson, Rogers 

Privacy and Data Security Law
Fasken

Real Estate Law
Blake, Cassels & Graydon 

Securities Law
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt 

Tax Law
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg 

Trusts and Estates
Duncan Craig 

Workers' Compensation Law
Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark