Best banking and finance lawyers in Toronto

Lexpert reveals the best banking and finance lawyers in Toronto based on the results of our comprehensive annual peer survey. The complete list of the Ontario’s most recommended lawyers and law firms in the field can be accessed via our practice area rankings.

In our survey, banking law encompasses the practice of representing domestic and international providers and consumers of debt financing, while financial law focuses on the regulatory matters affecting banks, insurance providers, and trust and loan companies.

Most frequently recommended banking and finance lawyers

David M.A. Amato

Law firm: Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2000

David M.A. Amato is a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, where he co-chairs the asset-based lending team. He devotes his practice to corporate finance. Amato serves as counsel and advisor to various foreign and domestic financial institutions, insurance companies, funds and other credit providers. He boasts significant experience in sophisticated debt financing transactions and has led numerous multijurisdictional, international and domestic debt financing mandates, including cash-flow, asset-based, acquisition, debtor-in-possession, mine and project financings. As a key member of the NRF’s asset-based lending team, Amato represents and advises Canadian and US asset-based lenders. He also has extensive insolvency and restructuring experience acting on behalf of creditors.

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Jean E. Anderson

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1981

Jean E. Anderson is a partner in the banking and finance law group at Goodmans LLP. She focuses on financing, corporate transactions and financial institution regulatory matters. Anderson boasts more than three decades of extensive expertise in acquisition financing, project finance, asset-based lending, debt restructuring and complex domestic and cross-border financings. Among the clients she has represented are Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citizens Bank, US Bank, Monroe Capital, Hitachi Capital, UBS, PNC Bank and Clearwater Seafoods.

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Gordon D. Baird

Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1991

Gordon D. Baird is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s financial services group in Toronto. He devotes his practice to lending and secured transactions, with particular emphasis on lending to the power, financial services, and media and telecommunications sectors. Baird regularly acts for bank syndicates, non-bank lenders and borrowers on domestic, cross-border and international loan transactions. His recent transactions include acting for borrowers in multibillion-dollar liquidity facilities backstopping commercial paper programs and in respect of central clearing parties. He has also acted for investors on multiple bond offerings in connection with the development or financing of wind-power and hydroelectric generation facilities and for lenders on a $3-billion acquisition financing of a media company. Baird has acted for the providers of the margin funding facility in connection with the restructuring of the Canadian non-bank asset-backed commercial paper market and for Canadian borrower clients with significant foreign operations in the implementation and restructuring of their global credit facilities. Baird is also the chair of McCarthy Tétrault’s national pro bono committee.

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Ian J. Binnie

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1995

Ian J. Binnie is a partner in the financial services and project finance groups at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. His practice encompasses a broad range of business law matters, with a focus on financing transactions and financial regulatory matters. Binnie has extensive experience in all aspects of commercial finance, both domestically and internationally, including public and private debt issuances, project finance primarily in the power generation industry, bilateral and syndicated lending, asset-based lending, private equity, second lien and other forms of subordinated lending, securitization and derivative transactions. He is also an expert in negotiating and integrating commercial law and finance documentation. Binnie has a long-standing interest in personal property security matters and participates in several ongoing law reform initiatives.

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Adam E. Delean

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1990

Adam E. Delean is a partner at Torys LLP. He is also the co-head of firm’s banking and debt finance practice and chair of its India practice group. Delean specializes in corporate banking, leveraged finance and structured finance. He represents both lenders and borrowers in transactions, including bank credit facilities, Canadian and US bond financings, structured finance transactions, mezzanine financings and derivatives, with expertise in cross-border and international financings. Delean also regularly advises lenders and borrowers on compliance matters related to financing arrangements.

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Simon A. Finch

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1995

Simon A. Finch is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He devotes his practice to private debt transactions, acting both for borrowers and lenders. Finch boasts extensive experience in structuring and negotiating syndicated facilities, asset-based loans, capital call bridges, letter of credit facilities, project financings and structured financings. He provides advice on acquisition financings, including both strategic and sponsor leveraged buyouts and tender-offer financings for public companies. Finch has developed an expertise in the mining sector and has been recognized as a leading Canadian lawyer in global mining. His clients include foreign financial institutions, private equity funds, corporations and law firms, who retain him to assist with the Canadian aspects of multi-jurisdictional financings. Finch is a member of Blakes’ opinions committee and has been responsible for developing the firm's precedent documentation for secured financings. He is a frequent participant in conferences and panels and has written and spoken about a wide variety of commercial lending issues.

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Michael R. Harquail

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1984

Michael R. Harquail is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, where he was a member of the executive committee for several years. He advises financial institutions and corporate clients on corporate lending, debt restructuring and general corporate matters. Harquail is an expert in structuring and documenting domestic financing transactions, cross-border financing transactions, syndications, acquisition financings, asset-based financings, project financings, high-yield offerings, subordinated debt arrangements and structured finance. He also has extensive experience in buying and selling businesses and in structuring shareholder arrangements. Harquail has advised lenders and borrowers in financing transactions across a wide range of industries, including aerospace, agriculture, automotive, energy, financial services, general manufacturing, healthcare, mining, pulp and paper, retail, steel, technology, telecommunications and transportation. He has been an instructor for the practice skills portion of the Law Society of Ontario’s Bar Admission Course. Harquail has also spoken publicly and delivered papers on various topics relating to commercial lending.

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Richard T. Higa

Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1990

Richard T. Higa is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Toronto office. He focuses on all aspects of structured, acquisition and cross-border financings, including asset-based lending, bilateral and syndicated financings, term B loans, second lien loans, mezzanine financings and high-yield notes. Higa represents large Canadian and US banks and other financial institutions. More than half of his practice involves acquisition financings for private equity sponsored acquisitions. His recent transactions include acting for private equity-sponsored acquisition financings in the chemicals, transportation, healthcare and call centre industries. Higa is a regular speaker at conferences and considered one of the best banking and finance lawyers in Canada.

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Blair W. Keefe

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1989

Blair W. Keefe is a partner who co-heads Torys LLP’s financial services, bank regulatory and insurance regulatory, and payments and cards practices. He focuses on corporate and regulatory issues relating to financial institutions, including mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance. Keefe provides regulatory advice on the establishment of new banks, trust companies and insurance companies under the applicable federal financial services legislation. He has also provided regulatory advice on foreign and domestic demutualizations and on the development of various capital instruments, including under the new Basel III rules. Keefe co-chairs the Canadian Bar Association’s financial services legislative reform committee. He is also co-editor of Carswell’s Consolidated Bank Act and Regulations and has published numerous articles on financial institution regulatory matters.

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Justin A. Lapedus

Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2000

Justin A. Lapedus is a partner in the financial services group at McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Toronto office. He specializes in complex secured and unsecured lending transactions, including cross-border acquisition financings and multi-jurisdictional financing transactions. Lapedus regularly acts as counsel for lenders, including Canadian and international banks, financial institutions, corporate borrowers and private equity firms in connection with structuring, negotiation and implementation of leveraged acquisition financings, asset-based loans, corporate and commercial financings, domestic and international syndicated bank financings, subordinate and mezzanine financings and financings in connection with bankruptcies and restructurings.

Michael D. Matheson

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1994

Michael D. Matheson is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He boasts more than 20 years of experience in banking and financial services law, with a particular specialization in corporate and commercial finance. Matheson devotes his practice to the areas of banking, syndicated lending, leveraged finance, project finance, and mergers and acquisitions. He regularly advises Canadian and foreign financial institutions and borrowers on structuring and negotiation of syndicated loan transactions, acquisition financings, takeover bid financings, leveraged buyouts, corporate reorganizations, workouts and M&A.

Read more about Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP on financing the mining industry

Carol D. Pennycook

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1981 (AB); 1985 (ON)

Carol D. Pennycook is a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. She is recognized as one of Canada’s top banking and finance lawyers. Pennycook advises on a wide range of transactions, including syndicated loans, corporate finance, structured finance, project finance, debt capital market offerings, private equity, private mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations and derivative products. A significant portion of her practice is devoted to financing transactions, acting for both borrowers and lenders. Pennycook also acts on renewable energy transactions, joint ventures, corporate and acquisition credit facilities and capital markets bond, debenture and note offerings, both Canadian and cross-border. She acts in many of the highest-profile public-private partnership projects in Canada and the US and has achieved great success for borrower and lender clients in complex infrastructure financings. Pennycook is a former director of PPP Canada.

Read more about Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP on infrastructure investments during the pandemic

Joel M. Scoler

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1993 (ON); 1992 (New York)

Joel M. Scoler serves as a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. He specializes in national and international banking and finance, representing financial institutions and private equity firms. Scoler has extensive expertise in a broad range of finance-related matters with an emphasis on syndicated and cross-border loan transactions, leveraged buyouts and takeover bid financings, mezzanine and subordinate debt, asset-based lending, insolvencies, restructurings and workouts.

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John W. Torrey

Law firm: Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1988

John W. Torrey is a partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP. He specializes in lending transactions. Torrey boasts extensive experience in all areas of lending, with expertise in project and acquisition financings and in all aspects of mine finance. He acts on behalf of both borrowers and lenders and has significant experience with a broad range of financings in a several industries. Torrey regularly represents, or acts opposite, most banks active in Canada. He is also familiar with counsel active in this area. Torrey’s familiarity with those active in Canadian lending consistently proves an asset in effective and efficient file management.

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Tom Zverina

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2001

Tom Zverina serves as a partner at Torys LLP. He specializes in the financing of mergers and acquisitions. Zverina also boasts extensive experience in a broad range of debt financing work, including project financing of wind, solar and hydro projects, asset-backed loans, public and private debt securities, railcar financing, equipment leasing, reinsurance security arrangements and derivatives products. He is regularly involved in creating and implementing innovative and unique tax-driven structured debt transactions. Zverina is also an expert in complex domestic and international transactions and has navigated many high-stakes projects.

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