Toronto’s leading mergers and acquisition lawyers

Lexpert reveals Toronto’s leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers based on our yearly comprehensive peer review. Check out the full roster of Ontario’s most recommended M&A lawyers and law firms on our practice area rankings list.

Mergers and acquisitions is the branch of corporate law dealing with the purchase of one company by another or the blending of two companies into a new entity.

 

Most frequently recommended lawyers

Aaron Atkinson

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2001

Aaron Atkinson is a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, a business law firm that specializes in complex and high stakes matters. He devotes his practice to public and private mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and securities and corporate governance. Atkinson advises domestic and international businesses, investors and other market participants spanning a wide range of industries, including mining, life sciences and financial services. Recognized as one of Canada’s best mergers and acquisitions lawyers, Atkinson has advised on some of the country’s most high-profile domestic and cross-border transactions, including unsolicited takeover bids and proxy contests, financing transactions, negotiated acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships. He is also well-versed in corporate governance and called upon to advise boards and board special committees on transactional matters, internal investigations and complex governance issues.

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

William J. Braithwaite

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1980

William J. Braithwaite is a senior counsel at leading Canadian business law firm Stikeman Elliott LLP. He was the firm’s chair from 2012 to 2018 and is former head of the corporate group in Toronto. He also previously served on the firm’s partnership board and executive committee. 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 considered among the top mergers and acquisitions lawyers in Canada. He is a special lecturer in Osgoode Hall Law School’s part-time LLM program. He has also participated in numerous panels and conferences on corporate and securities law.

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John J. Ciardullo

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1997

John J. Ciardullo is a partner and head of the corporate group at Stikeman Elliott LLP. He is also the former head of the firm’s capital markets and public mergers and acquisitions group. Ciardullo boasts significant experience in a wide range of corporate and securities transactions, with a focus on complex M&A transactions, proxy contests and contested meetings and corporate finance transactions. He counsels clients on a wide variety of matters, including transaction structuring, acquisition and defense strategy and compliance with fiduciary duties. Ciardullo is recognized as among the leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers in the country.

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Matthew Cockburn

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1995

Matthew Cockburn is a partner at Torys LLP, one of Canada’s largest full-service business law firms. 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. He is recognized as among the country’s best mergers and acquisitions lawyers.

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John E. Emanoilidis

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1999

John E. Emanoilidis is a partner and co-head of the mergers and acquisition practice at Torys LLP. He specializes in corporate, commercial and securities law, with an emphasis on M&A and corporate finance. Emanoilidis is considered one of the top mergers and acquisitions lawyers in Canada. He advises companies, directors and shareholders on corporate governance and securities compliance matters. He also boasts significant experience advising domestic and foreign acquirors, selling shareholders and investment banks in all aspects of public and private M&A, including hostile takeover bids, strategic review processes, proxy contests, going-private transactions, private equity transactions and negotiated acquisitions. Emanoilidis has extensive experience in corporate finance transactions, representing issuers, underwriters and investors in domestic and international debt and equity public offerings and private placements. He also provides ongoing advice to public companies on their disclosure, corporate governance and other corporate and securities law obligations.

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Jeremy D. Fraiberg

Law firm: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2000

Jeremy D. Fraiberg is a partner at full-service business law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. He is also co-chair of the firm’s mergers and acquisitions group. Fraiberg has acted for public and private companies, private equity firms and investment banks on a range of acquisitions, securities offerings and other corporate transactions. He has also taught at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law on contested mergers and proxy contests and has spoken and written about a range of legal issues. He is considered one of the leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers in Canada.

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Michael Gans

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to Bar: 1996

Michael Gans is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, one of Canada’s largest business law firms. He devotes his practice to international inbound and domestic mergers and acquisitions. Gans has advised on many of the country’s highest-profile M&A transactions. 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. He is recognized as among the leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers in the country.

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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. He is considered as among the Canada’s top mergers and acquisitions lawyers. His firm specializes in business law.

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Jonathan Lampe

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1984

Jonathan Lampe is a partner at Goodmans LLP, where he is also past co-chair of the corporate and securities group and member of the executive committee. He advises domestic and international clients on mergers and acquisitions, strategic relationships, financings, dissident shareholder activities, governance, and regulatory matters and investigations. Lampe also advises entrepreneurial families and their family offices on strategic and structural matters. His clients include Canadian and international publicly listed companies, family offices, pension funds and private equity investors. He has also represented Ontario Securities Commission staff and market participants in enforcement and transactional regulatory proceedings. Lampe is recognized as one of the best mergers and acquisitions lawyers in the country.

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. He is considered as one of Canada’s top mergers and acquisitions lawyers.

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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. He is recognized as one the Canada’s leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers.

Vincent A. Mercier

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1990

Vincent A. Mercier is partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. He is recognized as among Canada’s leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers. Mercier has acted on many of Canada’s most important M&A transactions. He represents acquirers, targets, controlling shareholders and committees of independent directors in public company acquisitions, both negotiated and hostile. Mercier also acts for strategic and private equity buyers in private M&A transactions. He has extensive experience in cross-border transactions and across all industries, including financial services, communications and media, technology, mining and energy. Mercier also advises public company boards on activism defence and other corporate governance issues.

Patricia L. Olasker

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1979

Patricia L. Olasker is a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. She acts on many of Canada’s most complex mergers and acquisitions and capital markets transactions. Olasker has extensive experience advising parties on both sides of proxy contests and shareholder activism issues. She also advises boards of directors, special committees and activist shareholders on corporate governance and transaction-specific matters. Olasker’s practice also involves public market derivatives, the development of innovative structured debt and equity products and multi-jurisdictional disclosure system offerings of equity and debt. Olasker is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, where she teaches advanced M&A and cannabis law. She is considered one of the country’s best mergers and acquisitions lawyers.

Emmanuel Pressman

Law firm: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1998

Emmanuel Pressman is a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. He is also the chair of the firm’s corporate department and former head of the mergers and acquisitions group. Pressman represents public and private companies, private equity sponsors, special committees, boards of directors and financial advisers in takeover bids, negotiated and contested M&A, joint ventures and a range of corporate transactions and restructurings. He is recognized as among Canada’s leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers.

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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. Pukier is considered among the top mergers and acquisition lawyers in Canada.

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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 mergers and acquisitions 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.

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Edward J. Waitzer

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1978 (ON); 1985 (New York)

Edward J.  Waitzer is a senior partner and head of the corporate governance group at Stikeman Elloitt LLP. He was also the firm’s chair from 1999 to 2006. Waitzer devotes his practice to complex business transactions, advising clients on various public policy and governance matters. He has served as a director of numerous corporations and community organizations. Waitzer is a contributing editor on the advisory boards of various publications. He also writes and speaks extensively on a wide range of legal and public policy issues. Waitzer is a professor and holds the Jarislowsky Dimma Mooney Chair in corporate governance at Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business at York University. He is also a director of the Hennick Centre for Business and Law. Waitzer is recognized as among the leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers in the country.

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 and is considered one of the country’s best M&A lawyers. 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. His firm is among the largest business law firms in Canada.

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Cornell C.V. Wright

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2002

Cornell C.V. Wright is a partner and co-head of the mergers and acquisitions practice at Torys LLP. He boasts extensive experience in M&A and corporate finance transactions. Wright has acted for bidders, targets and controlling shareholders in the full spectrum of public and private M&A transactions, including negotiated and contested acquisitions and divestitures, minority investments and carve-out transactions. He has also acted for both issuers and investment banks in a variety of public offerings for debt and equity. Wright advises senior management, boards of directors and shareholders on corporate governance matters. He has represented some of Canada’s largest companies on their most significant transactions. Wright is recognized as among the country’s top mergers and acquisitions lawyers.