Ontario’s best construction lawyers

Lexpert reveals Ontario’s best construction lawyers as we roll out this year’s results of our comprehensive peer survey. The full roster of the province’s most recommended construction lawyers and law firms can be accessed via our practice area rankings list.

Construction is a branch of the legal profession dealing with matters relating to building construction, engineering and other related fields. This includes contract, commercial, planning and employment law.

Most frequently recommended lawyers

Glenn W. Ackerley

Law firm: WeirFoulds LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1989
City: Toronto

Glenn W. Ackerley is a partner at WeirFoulds LLP, a business law firm with offices in Toronto and Oakville. Ackerley is considered as one of the best construction lawyers in Canada. He represents clients from across the construction industry, including public and private owners, contractors, subtrades, suppliers and consultants. Ackerley advises on project structures, construction and consultant contracts, procurement issues and risk-avoidance strategies, often in the role of “project lawyer.” He also litigates construction claims, including construction lien and trust claims, tendering disputes, and deficiency and delay claims. Ackerley is trained and experienced in mediation and arbitration, acting as counsel, mediator, arbitrator and referee. He speaks and writes regularly for legal and trade seminars and publications.

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Matthew R. Alter

Law firm: Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1987
City: Toronto

Matthew R. Alter is a partner at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. He represents clients in all types of construction disputes, including bid disputes, contractor defaults, interference, delay, lien, trust and bond claims. He also assists clients with contracts, tenders and RFPs for domestic and international projects. Alter is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in construction law. He is also the current president of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers. Alter has authored and co-authored numerous articles and publications. He is recognized as one of top construction lawyers in the country. His firm specializes in business law and has offices in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

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Geza R. Banfai

Law firm: McMillan LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1978
City: Toronto

Geza R. Banfai is a counsel at McMillan LLP, which specializes in business law. He devotes his practice to construction and infrastructure matters. Banfai boasts extensive experience in preparing domestic and international construction contracts, pre-bid, bid and project alliancing, domestic and international joint venture and teaming agreements, and negotiation and preparation of integrated team and public-private partnership contracts. He also advises on procurement issues, contract claims and disputes, construction liens, trust claims, lien priority disputes, bond claims, claims involving the negligence of design professionals and OHSA issues. Banfai is recognized as among the country’s leading construction lawyers. He is a director at the Canadian Construction Association and a past director of the Consulting Engineers of Ontario and the Toronto Construction Association.

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Brendan D. Bowles

Law firm: Glaholt Bowles LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2000
City: Toronto

Brendan D. Bowles is a partner at construction law firm Glaholt Bowles LLP. He is certified as a specialist in construction law by the Law Society of Ontario and is considered among the best construction lawyers in Canada. Bowles acts regularly for a variety of clients in the mediation and arbitration of construction disputes and has appeared at all levels of Ontario courts, including the Court of Appeal. He has significant experience in various types of construction claim cases, including construction liens, delay claims, construction deficiencies and professional negligence. Bowles is a frequent speaker on construction law topics and has also authored and co-authored articles on various topics related to the practice.

Anna M. Esposito

Law firm: Pallett Valo LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1987
City: Mississauga

Anna M. Esposito is a partner at Pallett Valo LLP’s construction practice. She is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in construction law and is a fellow of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers. Esposito acts for all parties in the construction pyramid, including general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, owners, developers, sureties, mortgagees and trustees in bankruptcy. She advises on the areas of liens, breach of trust, labour and material payment bonds, debt collection, performance bonds, contract preparation and the resolution of all types of construction disputes whether by way of litigation or by other dispute resolution mechanisms. Esposito often acts as a mediator in construction disputes. She is considered as among Canada’s top construction lawyers.

Duncan W. Glaholt

Law firm: Glaholt Bowles LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1979
City: Toronto

Duncan W. Glaholt is partner at Glaholt Bowles LLP, a construction law firm that he founded. He is recognized as one of the best construction lawyers in Canada. Glaholt has mediated and arbitrated a wide range of complex, multiparty construction industry disputes with particular focus on mining, energy and infrastructure, co-generation, nuclear power, power distribution systems and conventional infrastructure and environmental projects. He has authored and co-authored several standard reference books on construction law and alternative dispute resolution. Glaholt is a fellow of the American and Canadian colleges of construction lawyers and the International Academy of Construction Lawyers.

W. Andrew McLauchlin

Law firm: McLauchlin & Associates

Year called to the Bar: 1975
City: Toronto

W. Andrew McLauchlin is a principal at McLauchlin & Associates, one of Canada’s leading construction law boutiques. He has practised exclusively in construction law since being called to the Bar. McLauchlin has practised trial and appellate advocacy at all levels of court. He boasts significant experience in all forms of alternative dispute resolution. McLauchlin is recognized as one of the top construction lawyers in the country. He is a member of the teaching faculty of the Construction Education Council, a council of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada and the University of Waterloo. He is also a member of the Law Society of Ontario, Canadian Bar Association, American Bar Association and The Advocates’ Society.

Howard M. Wise

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1985
City: Toronto

Howard M. Wise is a partner at full-service business law firm Goodmans LLP. He specializes in construction law and commercial litigation. Wise acts for owners, general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and lenders in large construction disputes, including construction liens, contract and negligence claims. His practice includes trial and appellate work and mediation and arbitration of construction disputes and negotiating and drafting complex construction contracts. Wise is considered among the Canada’s leading construction lawyers. He is a frequent lecturer on construction law, including design-build contracts, bidding and tendering and construction liens.

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Consistently recommended lawyers

Jeffrey A. Armel

Law firm: Koskie Minsky LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1994
City: Toronto

Jeffrey A. Armel is a partner at Koskie Minsky LLP’s litigation group. He assists and advises businesses and entrepreneurs on construction law, with a focus on litigation. Armel is adept at handling disputes before the courts, including tort actions, construction lien litigation and breach of trust actions. He also reviews construction contracts on behalf of his clients and assists them in preparing new contracts. His clients include owners, suppliers, contractors, engineers, trades and sureties. Armel has written several articles on construction law issues and has been a speaker and chairperson at Ontario Bar Association conferences, The Advocates' Society seminars and private industry forums. He is recognized as among the country’s top construction lawyers.

Sandra Astolfo

Law firm: WeirFoulds LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1995
City: Toronto

Sandra Astolfo is a partner at WeirFoulds LLP. She devotes her practice to infrastructure and construction law. Astolfo has worked with her clients for more than 25 years and is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education programs and industry conferences. She has extensive experience in negotiating construction agreements, providing contract administration advice, litigating, mediating and arbitrating disputes. Astolfo advocates on behalf of all project participants. She also assists her clients with protecting their interests in the event of a project participant’s insolvency. Astolfo is a fellow of both the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers and the Construction Lawyers Society of America. She is recognized as one of the leading construction lawyers in the country.

Ted Betts

Law firm: Gowling WLG

Year called to the Bar: 1997
City: Toronto

Ted Betts is a partner at Gowling WLG’s Toronto office and heads the firm’s infrastructure and construction group. He is a certified specialist in construction law. Betts acts on all aspects of tendering, negotiating and drafting of construction contracts, structuring, project management, financing and sales. He boasts expertise in negotiating and drafting construction contracts on large-scale construction, public-private partnerships in infrastructure and development projects. Betts works in all sectors that involve construction projects, including commercial construction, real estate development, P3 in infrastructure and civil works, power and energy, mining and transportation. He is recognized as one of Canada’s top construction lawyers and has worked on some of the largest construction and infrastructure projects in the world. His firm specializes in business law.

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Joseph Cosentino

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1997
City: Toronto

Joseph Cosentino is a partner at Goodmans LLP. He focuses on construction and commercial litigation. Cosentino’s construction practice involves negotiating major contracts, lien litigation and resolving disputes for owners, general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and lenders. His practice also involves commercial litigation matters, including bankruptcy and insolvency litigation. Cosentino regularly negotiates and drafts complex construction contracts on high-value projects throughout Ontario. He has also worked with owners, contractors and architects in updating and supplementing their CCDC contract documents. Cosentino boasts expertise in construction litigation and in arbitration, mediation and adjudication proceedings. He is considered one of Canada’s best construction lawyers.

Kenneth W. Crofoot

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1984
City: Toronto

Kenneth W. Crofoot is general counsel at Goodmans LLP. He is involved in all aspects of professionalism involving the firm, including insurance, risk management, conflicts and ethics. Crofoot is also a partner at the firm’s litigation and construction groups. He is recognized as among the country’s leading construction lawyers. Crofoot has been involved as counsel in several arbitrations and mediations, including commercial, joint venture, partnership and construction project disputes, insurance loss determinations and bankruptcy claim valuations. He has also written numerous articles and has spoken widely at continuing legal education seminars on aspects of construction law and practice. Crofoot is a fellow and past president of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers.

Kenneth P. Eccleston

Law firm: Miller Thomson LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1989
City: Toronto

Kenneth P. Eccleston is a partner at business law and litigation firm Miller Thomson LLP. He has practised exclusively in the area of construction law for more than 30 years. His practice focuses on contract review and drafting, tender review, Construction Act claims, construction defect claims and delay claims. Eccleston is considered among the country’s leading construction lawyers. He has provided legal counsel to developers, owners, architects, contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, banks and surety bonding companies.

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Roger J. Gillott

Law firm: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1996
City: Toronto

Roger J. Gillott is a partner at full-service business law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. He has practised exclusively construction litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution for 20 years. He is recognized as one of the top construction lawyers in Canada. Gillott boasts extensive advocacy experience in trial, appellate and arbitration proceedings. He also advises on the avoidance and management of risk in the administration of construction contracts. Gillott has represented clients in a wide variety of disputes involving construction liens and trusts, mortgage priorities, contract interpretation, bidding and tendering, delay and extras claims, professional negligence and claims under performance and payment bonds. He has chaired the annual conference on construction liens for the Law Society of Ontario for over 10 years and has published over 50 papers on construction law topics.

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Karen Groulx

Law firm: Dentons Canada LLP

Year called to the Bar:
City: Toronto

Karen Groulx is a partner at Dentons Canada LLP’s construction, litigation and real estate groups. Her practice includes negotiation and drafting of various types of construction documents on behalf of owners and general contractors. She also acts in dispute resolution and litigation involving the awarding of contracts, construction liens and related proceedings on behalf of owners, general contractors and subcontractors and mortgagees. Groulx handles trust and bond claims, negligence claims and contract claims. She also boasts expertise in e-discovery in litigation matters, and in the preparation of records retention and records management policies. Groulx is considered as among the country’s leading construction lawyers. Her firm is one of the world’s largest business law firms.

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Andrew J. Heal

Law firm: Heal & Co. LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1990
City: Toronto

Andrew J. Heal is a founding partner at boutique construction law firm Heal & Co. LLP. His litigation and construction practice includes advising on and reviewing complex construction contracts, municipal and construction liability matters, professional liability and discipline, and judicial and appellate review of public authority and commercial disputes. Heal counsels and encourages exploring alternative means of resolving disputes, whenever appropriate. He has also actively defended public authorities, including municipalities and provincial authorities responsible for regulating and inspecting construction projects. Heal has acted for construction sureties, insurers, owners, contractors and trades in construction and real property disputes. He also acts in defence of construction professionals in malpractice claims. Heal is considered as one of the best construction lawyers in Canada.

Paul A. Ivanoff

Law firm: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1993
City: Toronto

Paul A. Ivanoff is a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s litigation department. He is also a key contact for the firm’s construction and infrastructure practice group. Ivanoff’s practice involves the litigation, arbitration and mediation of disputes arising from construction and infrastructure projects. He also provides contract administration advice during completion of projects. Ivanoff represents project participants on disputes related to a broad range of construction and infrastructure projects, including subways, airport facilities, power plants, highways, industrial facilities, commercial buildings and civil works facilities. He is certified as a specialist in construction law by the Law Society of Ontario. Ivanoff is also recognized as one of the country’s top construction lawyers.

Dan J. Leduc

Law firm: Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1993 (ON); 2011 (Grenada)
City: Ottawa

Dan J. Leduc is partner at full-service business law firm Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP. He practises almost exclusively in the field of construction law and dispute resolution. Leduc is frequently called upon to advise and represent owners, subcontractors, suppliers and builders in contract reviews, tender issues and general construction matters, as well as in litigation and arbitration. He is experienced in negotiating, mediating, arbitrating and litigating construction disputes, including construction liens, trust claims, delay claims, construction insurance claims, and architect’s and engineer’s errors and omissions. Leduc has extensive experience in drafting and negotiating various forms of construction contracts on behalf of owners, developers, general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. He also has experience in surety bonding claims. Leduc is considered among Canada’s leading construction lawyers.

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Andrea Lee

Law firm: Glaholt Bowles LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2006
City: Toronto

Andrea Lee is a partner at Glaholt Bowles LLP. She is certified as a specialist in construction law by the Law Society of Ontario and is recognized as one of Canada’s top construction lawyers. Lee represents owners, developers, contractors and design professionals in complex litigation matters involving liens, trusts, bonds, construction deficiencies, delay claims and professional negligence. She acts as counsel on arbitrations conducted under institutional rules and ad hoc. Lee also advises clients on construction contracts and design agreements under various project delivery methods. She has co-founded the construction law course at Queen's University and is the instructor of the construction law course offered through Osgoode LLM's program. Lee also mentors young professionals through the OBA’s mentorship program.

Bernie McGarva

Law firm: Aird & Berlis LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1980
City: Toronto

Bernie McGarva is partner at full-service business law firm Aird & Berlis LLP, where he is a member of litigation and dispute resolution group. McGarva is an experienced litigator, mediator and arbitrator, and is recognized as among Canada’s leading construction lawyers. He practises commercial and construction litigation, with a focus on construction and infrastructure disputes, securities litigation, shareholders’ rights disputes and errors and omissions defence. McGarva has appeared before numerous professional tribunals and all levels of the court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He has acted for commercial clients in disputes with federal and provincial taxing authorities. His professional liability practice includes advising architects, engineers, doctors, dentists, social workers and lawyers on insured negligence claims and discipline related matters. McGarva is certified as a specialist in construction law by the Law Society of Ontario.

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Maria Ruberto

Law firm: Pallett Valo LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2005
City: Mississauga

Maria Ruberto is a partner and head of the construction group at Pallett Valo LLP. She devotes her practice to resolution of disputes in the construction industry. Ruberto provides legal advice and representation on a wide variety of matters, including the preservation and enforcement of liens, bond claims, breach of trust claims and construction contract disputes. She also is typically involved in complex multi-party proceedings where liability is hotly contested. Ruberto has been appointed as carriage counsel representing multiple subcontractor lien claimants on complex construction lien litigation matters. She is also an active member of the executive of the construction and infrastructure law section of the Ontario Bar Association. Ruberto is considered one of the country’s best construction lawyers.

Rocco M. Sebastiano

Law firm: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1994
City: Toronto

Rocco M. Sebastiano is a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. His practice focuses on engineering, procurement and construction law and infrastructure matters. Sebastiano has acted for project participants, including owners, governmental authorities, developers, contractors, operators, lenders, architects and engineers. He has extensive experience in public-private partnerships, privatizations and outsourcing of government services, procurements, project finance, major building, civil and public works design, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance focusing on energy and infrastructure projects. His practice also includes contract negotiation with an emphasis on “preventative” structuring aimed at minimizing project risks and disputes. Sebastiano is a qualified and experienced professional engineer. He is also among Canada’s top construction lawyers.

Rick H. Shaban

Law firm: Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG)

Year called to the Bar: 1985
City: Toronto

Rick H. Shaban a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), where he also serves as the national co-chair of its construction group. He is recognized as one of Canada's leading infrastructure, surety and construction lawyers. Shaban has over 30 years’ experience in this industry, bringing practical legal and industry-specific expertise to each client engagement. He is uniquely positioned as both a barrister and a transactional lawyer. Shaban has experience in a large number of infrastructure projects, successfully leading transaction teams and closing a number of public-private partnership deals and crafting complex project agreements. He also has extensive experience in dispute resolution having resolved countless project disputes, including appearances at every level of court.