Canadian Law Awards 2021

The Canadian Law Awards recognize the nation’s leading law firms, in-house legal teams, individuals, deals and cases over the past year
Canadian Law Awards 2021

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:


Deal Awards

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


Case Awards

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.)


In-House Awards

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


Canadian Law Department of the Year 

Winner: TD Bank Group


Firm Awards

The Western Union Business Solutions Award for IP Boutique Law Firm of the Year

Winner: Smart & Biggar


Atlantic Canada Law Firm of the Year 

Winner: Stewart McKelvey LLP


Ontario Law Firm of the Year 

Winner: Lerners LLP


Prairies Law Firm of the Year 

Winner: Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP


Quebec Law Firm of the Year 

Winner: Lavery Lawyers
Excellence Awardee: Spiegel Sohmer


Western Canada Law Firm of the Year 

Winner: Farris LLP
Excellence Awardee: Lawson Lundell LLP


Litigation & Dispute Resolution Boutique Law Firm of the Year

Winner: Lenczner Slaght


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


Female Trailblazer

Academia / General Counsel

Winner: Donna E. Young, Ryerson University Faculty of Law
Excellence Awardees: Jasmine Singh, BMO Financial Group
 Lisa Ford, Royal Bank of Canada

Private Practice

Winner: Krista Hill, Torys LLP
Excellence Awardee: Elizabeth S. Dipchand, Dipchand LLP