Ontario’s best private equity lawyers

Find out who the best private equity lawyers in Ontario are based on the results of Lexpert’s annual peer review. The full roster of the province’s most recommended private equity lawyers and law firms can be viewed in our practice area rankings list.

Private equity law is the branch legal profession covering private equity companies that pool investments of pension funds and other large investors to purchase assets and other companies. Lawyers in this practice assist in the formation of funds and negotiating contract terms.

Most frequently recommended private equity lawyers

Michael F.E. Akkawi

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1999

Michael F.E. Akkawi is a partner at Torys LLP, where he also heads the firm’s private equity practice. Akkawi specializes in corporate and commercial law, with a focus on private equity and venture capital. He advises private equity funds, venture capital funds and pension funds in all aspects of their domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions and other investment activities, including leveraged buyouts, majority and minority equity investments, co-investments and restructurings. Akkawi also advises both sponsors and institutional investors in structuring, negotiating and investing in private market funds, and sponsors on private market fund formation in buyout, infrastructure, secondary and search funds.

Read more about Torys LLP on cannabis sector regulation

Patrick G. Barry

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1993

Patrick G. Barry is partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. He devotes his practice to public and private mergers and acquisitions, private equity investment transactions and fund formation, and debt and equity corporate finance. He advises on high-profile transactions and boasts substantial experience in corporate joint ventures and structured finance transactions. Barry has also advised on the formation of some of Canada’s largest and most prominent private equity and hedge funds.

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

Sarbjit S. Basra

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1994

Sarbjit S. Basra is a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. He specializes in private mergers and acquisitions, private equity investment transactions, fund formation, and debt and equity corporate finance. His experience in advising Canada’s largest private equity firms and institutions spans more than two decades. Basra boasts extensive experience in fund formation and has advised on the formation of many of the country’s leading private funds.

Read more about Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP on how technology is reshaping privacy

Joel E. Binder

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1991

Joel E. Binder is a partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP’s corporate finance, securities, and mergers and acquisitions groups. He boasts extensive experience in these practice areas, along with private equity, where he often advises clients. Binder frequently represents public issuers, boards of directors and investment dealers in transactions involving public offerings, private placements, takeover bids, business combinations and governance and securities compliance matters. Binder regularly speaks at conferences on securities law and has authored articles on a variety of securities law topics.

Read more about Stikeman Elliott LLP on private equity investments

William J. Braithwaite

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1980

William J. Braithwaite is a senior counsel at Stikeman Elliott LLP, where he held chairmanship from 2012 to 2018. He also served on the firm’s partnership board and executive committee and is the former head of the corporate group in the Toronto office. Braithwaite specializes in mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance. He has acted as counsel to major Canadian corporations, boards of directors and institutional shareholders, and various governments and regulatory authorities. Braithwaite is recognized as one of the best private equity lawyers in Canada. He is currently a special lecturer in Osgoode Hall Law School’s part-time LLM program and participates in numerous panels and conferences on corporate and securities law.

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Matthew Cockburn

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1995

Matthew Cockburn is a partner at Torys LLP. He practises corporate and securities law, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions and private equity. Cockburn acts for a wide variety of private equity firms and pension funds, advising on all aspects of their investment transactions. He has also advised on public takeover bids, plans of arrangement, and private acquisitions and divestitures. Cockburn has significant experience in the corporate finance area, advising issuers and underwriters on public and private offerings of debt and equity securities.

Curtis Cusinato

Law firm: Bennett Jones LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1993 (ON); 1991 (Michigan)

Curtis Cusinato is a senior partner at Bennett Jones LLP. He devotes his practice to corporate and securities law, focusing on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, private equity and capital market transactions. Cusinato has advised boards of directors on various corporate governance matters in various industries, including steel, manufacturing, agribusiness, technology, food service, hospitality, gaming, waste management, financial services and life sciences. His clients include US and Canadian public companies, North American industry leading private companies, Canadian chartered banks, investment and merchant banks, private equity groups, hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds. Cusinato sits on the board of several entities and frequently acts as a speaker on various corporate topics.

Read more about Bennett Jones LLP on infrastructure investments during pandemic

Michael Gans

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1996

Michael Gans is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He specializes in international inbound and domestic mergers and acquisitions. Gans has advised on many of the country’s highest-profile mergers and acquisitions. He frequently acts for financial sponsors in both platform and roll-up transactions. Gans also regularly acts for special committees of boards in connection with internal investigations and related party transactions.

Read more about Blake, Cassels & Graydon on cannabis sector litigation

Stephen H. Halperin

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1976 (QC); 1979 (AB); 1987 (ON)

Stephen H. Halperin currently serves as a counsel at Goodmans LLP after more than 30 years as a partner. He is also past co-chair of the firm’s corporate and securities group. His practice focuses on transactional corporate and securities law, domestic and international corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance, including activist shareholders matters.

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Samantha G. Horn

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year Called to the Bar: 1993

Samantha G. Horn serves as partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP’s mergers and acquisitions and private equity groups. She devotes her practice to these areas, along with venture capital financing, which includes investments, buyouts and fund formation. Horn is also a member of the firm’s management committee in the Toronto office. She is recognized for her efforts in the promotion of the advancement of women in law. Horn is also a founding and executive member of the Canadian Women in private equity committee of the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association.

Read more about Stikeman Elliott LLP on insolvencies and consolidations in the agribusiness and cannabis sectors

Jeffrey R. Lloyd

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1991

Jeffrey R. Lloyd is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He specializes in mergers and acquisitions, public company advisory matters and capital markets transactions. Lloyd advises purchasers, target companies and vendors on public and private M&A transactions. He has extensive experience in both negotiated and unsolicited transactions. Lloyd also advises public companies on corporate governance, shareholder activism and securities law matters, and in connection with public offerings of equity and debt securities. He boasts extensive experience in a wide range of industries, including mining, real estate, financial services, power generation, and retail and consumer products.

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Neill I. May

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1992

Neill I. May is a partner, co-chair of the corporate securities group and member of the executive committee at Goodmans LLP. He boasts extensive experience in corporate and securities law, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, governance and proxy matters, public and private financings, private equity and business restructurings. May is also actively involved in the mining and Asian market practice areas.

Shevaun McGrath

Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2000 (ON); 2001 (New York)

Shevaun McGrath is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP. She specializes in mergers and acquisitions, private equity and investment funds. McGrath advises on domestic and cross-border public and private M&A and other related securities matters. She represents institutional investors in their investment activities, including acquisitions and divestitures of portfolio companies and investments in private equity and other alternative investment funds. McGrath also advises clients on fund formation activities.

Read more about McCarthy Tétrault LLP on competition and foreign investment

Brian M. Pukier

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1994

Brian M. Pukier is a partner at Stikeman Elliott’s mergers and acquisitions group, which he formerly headed. He also currently serves on the firm’s management committee in Toronto. He has worked in the firm’s Budapest and Hong Kong offices. Pukier devotes his practice to cross-border M&A, private equity investments, corporate finance transactions, complex corporate reorganizations and public policy. He has extensive experience in counselling senior management and the boards of directors of leading public and private corporations.

Read more about Stikeman Elloitt LLP on financing the mining industry

Cameron M. Rusaw

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1990

Cameron M. Rusaw is a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, where he specializes in mergers and acquisitions, private equity and corporate finance. He acts for public and private companies, private equity funds and portfolio companies in domestic, cross-border and international acquisitions, investments, sales processes and financings. Rusaw has significant experience in a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, healthcare, laboratory testing, heavy equipment manufacturing and distribution, technology, movie theatres, mortgage lending, retail and mining. He is also well-versed in venture capital financing and technology.

Jeffrey Singer

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1994 (ON); 1994 (California)

Jeffrey Singer is the managing partner of Stikeman Elliott’s Toronto office and a member of the firm's executive committee and partnership board. He is considered as one of the best private equity lawyers in Canada. Singer’s practice focuses on domestic and international M&A, capital markets and private equity-related transactions. He previously served on the securities advisory committee to the Ontario Securities Commission. Singer is the Canadian contributing editor to the International Finance and Law Review and Federated Press’ Corporate Finance and Innovative Financing publications. He has written numerous articles related to domestic and cross-border M&A, capital markets, private equity and sovereign wealth funds, and income funds and REITs, and has spoken domestically and internationally on these subjects. He has also lectured on these topics at the University of Toronto Law School, Osgoode Hall Law School, Windsor Law School and the Law Society of Ontario.

David E. Woollcombe

Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1991

David E. Woollcombe is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Toronto office. He specializes in mergers and acquisitions. Woollcombe has advised many Canadian and international businesses and private equity firms on acquisition, divestiture or reorganization transactions. He has also advised boards of directors and dissidents on proxy fights, governance and contested matters. Woollcombe has significant experience in capital markets matters, having acted for issuers and investment dealers in a wide variety of cross-border and domestic public offerings and private placements. He regularly advises on joint ventures and related shareholders agreements. Woollcombe boasts extensive experience across a broad range of industries, including natural resources, financial services, technology, consumer products and media and telecom.