Chambers salutes nine business firms, along with a Hunter and a Fish

Legal directory publisher Chambers and Partners has published its latest guide ranking Canadian law firms, and along with it has announced a slew of awards recognizing Canadian legal talent.

Lawson Hunter, currently counsel with Stikeman Elliott LLP, and Simon Fish, General Counsel of BMO Financial Group, were singled out with individual awards that salute their lengthy legal careers. Several Canadian business law firms were also honoured as leaders in their practice areas.

Fish has previously practised securities law and worked in-house at mining company Vale and energy firm Shell. He is highly regarded by his peers in the in-house legal community. He received the 2013 Canadian General Counsel of the Year award, in part for his work in spear-heading initiatives to enhance diversity in legal employment.

Joanna Lane, editor of Chambers Canada, presented Fish with the Chambers 2016 award for outstanding achievement to the in-house legal profession.

“I’m just thrilled, delighted and honoured to be included amongst the group of recipients,” Fish said. “I think the legal profession is going through an exciting period at the moment. There is a lot of change, but along with the change and the challenges that come with it, there is enormous opportunity for those that wish to grasp it.”

Hunter, whom Lane described as the “dean” of Canadian competition law, received the Chambers 2016 lifetime achievement award. Hunter has had several important roles in both business and public service. He advised Bell Canada on regulatory issues as in in-house lawyer, and he served as Canada’s top civil servant in charge of competition policy and enforcement.

Lawyers should remember that character counts, Hunter said. Honesty, integrity, creativity and persistence are traits that will distinguish lawyers, he said. He added that kindness and civility matter — it never hurts to be nice to people.

Hunter also encouraged lawyers, even those currently working in private practice, to do public policy work. “There is no more satisfying or challenging work for me than wrestling with large, public policy issues that affect millions of Canadians in real ways every day, issues that can shape whole industries, issues that can leave a legacy for years to come,” he said. “The country will be better for it, and so will you.”

Chambers recognized nine Canadian law firms for distinction in specific practice areas.

McCarthy Tétrault LLP was named Canadian firm of the year for dispute resolution. “The winning firm’s outstanding litigation experience permeates nearly every practice area in which it’s ranked,” Lane said.

Goodman LLP was named real estate firm of the year. Lane said the firm is noted for its work in the Real Estate Investment Trust space and for advising both national and international clients on commercial transactions involving properties in Canada and beyond.

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP was honoured as employment firm of the year for its work on behalf of federally regulated employers and national employers.

MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP, a Western Canada firm that is about to merge with Winnipeg-based Aikins MacAulay & Thorvaldson LLP, was named regional firm of the year.

Stikeman Elliott was named energy law firm of the year. Lane said its coast-to-coast energy practice has long-standing reputation in both the Canadian and global markets.

Gowling WLG, which earlier this year went global by merging with a sizeable British firm, was named IP firm of the year. “This firm has one of the best known and long-standing IP practices in Canada,” Lane said.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP was recognized as having the best competition practice in the country, while Torys LLP was named banking firm of the year.

Finally, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP was named corporate law firm of the year. “This firm played a central role in many of Canada’s largest transactions during the year, including the IPO of Hydro One, and the acquisition of Canadian Oil Sands by Suncor,” Lane said.

The Chambers Canada 2017 guide is a collection of rankings of Canadian business law firms and lawyers. It has some cachet in the legal business because U.K.-based publisher Chambers and Partners bases those rankings on research conducted with clients and legal peers.

Canadian lawyers have been and continue to be ranked in the Chambers Global Guide, which comes out each year in March. But the guide has proven to be so popular that last year Chambers began publishing a stand-alone Canadian guide. The 2017 edition unveiled last Thursday is the second annual edition.

Legal Post will have more coverage on the Chambers Canada 2017 rankings on Oct. 13.

Financial Post

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