While the last 18 months were anything but business as usual, the Canadian legal profession did not slow down. Deals were inked, litigation fought, diversity and inclusion initiatives were conceived and strived for and technology continued — even sped up — its transformation of the industry.
Lawyers from across the country were forced to make their impact — whether before a judge or among their peers — via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Though many were ideally positioned to weather the storm, many lost their jobs and some lost family members and friends. For those spared the more severe consequences, the worry was ever-present.
With conditions so much less accommodating and the pan-demic a constant distraction, a night of appreciation for the professionals who persevered was even more appropriate this year than in the before times.
The second annual Canadian Law Awards – presented by Lexpert and supported by Canadian Lawyer and InHouse magazines – took place on May 20, 2021. Once again, the festivities were held virtually.
The day began with opening remarks from the host and CBC news anchor, Suhana Meharchand. That was followed by an afternoon of live virtual panels, led by some of the more than 130 excellence awardees nominated this year. After the panels, Meharchand took to the virtual main stage to make the awards presentations. There were awards for prominent deal-making, litigation, best use of technology, pro-bono and diversity initiatives, as well as awards for in-house legal departments, boutique and regional law firms and individual lawyers.
- Hundreds of nominations were received from firms and legal departments across the nation.
- The Awards research team reviewed all nominations, applying its own knowledge and some third-party information, to identify the outstanding firms, teams, individuals, deals or cases in each category that receive Excellence Awards.
- The second phase of the research process involved the submissions of the Excellence Awardees being forwarded to the independent judging panel for scoring against strict criteria. Judges’ scores were aggregated to produce a winner in each category, a process fully verified by independent auditors PwC.
- Winners for all categories were announced during the virtual Canadian Law Awards event on May 20, 2021.
Here are the winners of Canadian Law Awards 2021:
Capital Markets Deal of the Year
Winner: Creation of Brookfield Infrastructure Corporation and Brookfield Renewable Corporation
- Firms: Appleby, McMillan LLP, Torys LLP
- Accountants: Deloitte, EY, PwC, KPMG
- Banks: RBC Capital Markets
Infrastructure & Projects Deal of the Year
Winner: Financing of Coastal Gaslink Pipeline
- Firms: Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Stikeman Elliot LLP, Torys LLP
- Organizations: AIMCo, KKR
- Banks: RBC Capital Markets
Insolvency & Restructuring Deal of the Year
Winner: CCAA Restructuring of Cirque du Soleil
- Firms: Bennett Jones LLP, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Goodmans LLP, Lavery Lawyers, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, McMillan LLP, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Stikeman Elliott LLP, Torys LLP, Woods LLP
- Accountants: Ernst & Young
M&A Deal of the Year
Winner: KingSett Capital and Starlight Investments acquisition of Northview Apartment REIT
- Firms: Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, Bloom Lanys PC, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, Goodmans LLP, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Stikeman Elliott LLP
Mid-Market Deal of the Year
Winner: GMP Capital acquisition of Richardson GMP
- Firms: Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), Goodmans LLP, Lenczner Slaght, Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Stikeman Elliot LLP, Voorheis & Co. LLP
- Organizations: Cormark Securities Inc., Gryphon Advisors Inc., Kingsdale Shareholder Services Inc.,Longview Communications & Public Affairs
- Banks: RBC Capital Markets
Class Action Team of the Year
Winner: Bennett Jones LLP
- Winder v. Marriott International Inc.
Commercial Litigation Team of the Year
Winner: Arvay Finlay LLP, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), Caza Saikaley S.R.L./LLP, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Gall Legge Grant Zwack LLP, Grant Kovacs Norell, JFK Law Corporation, Lawson Lundell LLP, MacKenzie Fujisawa LLP, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, NG Ariss Fong, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Ratcliff and Company LLP, White Raven Law Corporation
- Attorney General of British Columbia v. Attorney General of Canada (B.C.)
Banking & Financial Institutions Law Department of the Year
Winner: TD Bank Group
Construction, Infrastructure & Transportation Law Department of the Year
Winner: IBI Group
Energy & Resources Law Department of the Year
Winner: Ontario Power Generation
Law Department Leader of the Year
Winner: Graeme McPhail, Rogers Communications Inc.
Law Department Innovation Award
Winner: Teck Resources Ltd.’s Business Transformation Program - RACE21TM
Ontario Law Firm of the Year
Winner: Lerners LLP
Prairies Law Firm of the Year
Winner: Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP
Litigator of the Year
Winner: Sylvie Rodrigue, Torys LLP
Best Use of Technology in a Law Firm
Winner: Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG)
Excellence Awardee: Gluckstein Lawyers
Managing Partner of the Year
Winner: Dave Leonard, McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Excellence Awardee: Suzana Popovic-Montag, Hull & Hull LLP
Legal Profession Awards
Pro Bono Initiative of the Year
Winner: Dentons Canada LLP
Dentons helps employers put domestic abuse on the agenda
The Bereskin & Parr Award for Diversity Initiative of the Year
Winner: McCarthy Tétrault LLP
McCarthy Tétrault’s Anti-Racism Strategy