Lexpert reveals Alberta’s leading banking and finance lawyers based on the results of its latest comprehensive annual peer survey. The full list of the province’s most recommended lawyers and law firms in the field can be viewed on our practice area rankings.
In our survey, banking law encompasses the practice of representing domestic and international providers and consumers of debt financing, while financial law focuses on the regulatory matters affecting banks, insurance providers, and trust and loan companies.
Most frequently recommended banking and finance lawyers
Richard P. Borden is a senior partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP’s Calgary office, where he specializes in commercial transactions. Borden focuses on larger-scale projects and financings primarily in the energy sector, including oil sands, pipeline, liquified natural gas and public-private partnership infrastructure projects. He also has significant experience in high-yield domestic and cross-border financing transactions, term loan B financings and joint venture transactions. His clients include major banks and project sponsors. Over the years, Borden has developed strong relationships with the key project lending specialists within the major Canadian banks.
Kevin Fougere is one of the founding partners of the Torys LLP’s Calgary office. He devotes his practice to corporate lending and project financing. Fougere boasts extensive experience in advising corporate clients and financial institutions on a wide range of financing transactions, including project financing, syndicated transactions, bond financings, cross-border financings, acquisition financings, asset and reserve-based lending. He is also an expert in financings in the oil and gas, oil sands, pipeline, energy services and renewable power sectors. Fougere routinely acts for the major Canadian banks and several international financial institutions.
J. Michael McIntosh is a senior partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Calgary. He specializes in banking, acquisition finance and project finance. McIntosh regularly advises on cross-border financings. His recent transactions include financings of oil sands projects, conventional oil and gas reserves, refineries, pipelines and power-generating assets. McIntosh was the lead counsel in connection with the establishment of syndicated credit facilities for each of Suncor Energy Inc., Husky Energy Inc., Ovintiv Canada ULC, Athabasca Oil Corporation, Crew Energy Inc., TransCanada PipeLines Limited and ENMAX Corporation. He was also the lead counsel to the lenders financing the Sturgeon County refinery being developed by North West Redwater Partnership and to the borrowers in connection with the project financings for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project and the Coastal GasLink Pipeline project.
Consistently recommended banking and finance lawyers
Peter B. Birkness is a partner and the head of the McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s financial services group in Calgary. With a practice focused on corporate lending, he regularly represents lenders and borrowers in sophisticated domestic and international debt financing transactions, including bank credit facilities, public debt transactions, private loan transactions, reorganizations and mergers and acquisitions financings. Birkness also has extensive experience representing lenders and other stakeholders in significant Canadian restructuring matters.
Patrick J. Brennan is a partner and the chair of Bennett Jones LLP’s banking and financial services group. He also heads the firm’s air finance practice group and serves as partner in the corporate commercial department. Brennan is an expert in asset-based financing and leasing, banking and debt financing, personal property security, debt restructuring, aircraft acquisition and disposition, inventory financing, commercial transactions and aviation law. He primarily acts for airlines, aircraft lessors and financiers, oilfield service companies, oil and gas companies, manufacturers, borrowers, banks and other financial institutions.
Denise D. Bright
Law firm: Bennett Jones LLP
Year called to the bar: 1994
Denise D. Bright is a senior corporate partner called in Alberta and British Columbia. She is also long-term member of the at Bennett Jones LLP’s opinion committee. Bright acts as lead counsel on domestic and cross-border complex financial transactions. Her practice includes syndicated and bilateral domestic and international commercial banking, structured finance, acquisition finance and project finance, acting for lenders, syndicates and borrowers. Bright’s borrower practice encompasses a wide variety of clients and industries. She advises key stakeholders in respect to domestic and international public and private bond/note financings, including hybrid notes. She is experienced in transactional debt-related issues, debt reorganizations, reserve and asset-based lending, subordinated and second lien debt, intercreditor issues and financing of takeover bids, arrangements, amalgamations and mergers and acquisitions. Bright also acts as agents’ counsel in respect to offshore financings. She is a CPA-CA and holds a CF designation from the Chartered Professional Accountants.
Elizabeth Burton is a partner and the leader of the financial institutions and services group at Gowling WLG’s Calgary office. She works with a variety of financial institutions and corporate clients, delivering strategic advice for both syndicated and bilateral financing transactions. Burton has an extensive background in financial services law. She has represented lenders and borrowers in financing transactions across a range of industries including the energy, agricultural and real estate sectors, as well as in Indigenous business ventures. Burton advises on cross-border financings and is a trusted adviser in restructuring financings, intercreditor arrangements and corporate and real estate matters. She is an active member of her community, committed to supporting diversity and active living. Burton is a member of the firm’s National Diversity & Inclusion Council and was previously involved with the National Women’s Strategy Advisory Committee of Pride at Work Canada and the Law Society of Alberta’s Justicia Project and the development of its Respect in the Workplace Model Policy.
Ira Cooper is a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. He devotes his practice to corporate finance, with an emphasis on syndicated lending, banking, corporate and commercial lending, project finance, structured finance, acquisition financing and Personal Property Security Act matters. Cooper acts for lenders, investors, borrowers and issuers in connection with domestic, cross-border and international debt financings. His recent transactions include major acquisition financings, corporate credits, financings of private-equity takeovers, private placements, bond issuances, cross-border financings, covenant-based financings and margined financings in various industries, including energy, energy services and pipelines to agriculture, financial services and the food industry. Cooper’s transactions range from investment grade and covenant-based financings to energy reserves and accounts and inventory margining facilities to demand credit facilities.
William K. Jenkins is a partner at Dentons Canada LLP, where he co-leads the banking and financial services practice group in Calgary. Jenkins has a diverse transaction-based practice advising on the structuring and implementation of debt and equity financings, project financings, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures. He was the presiding member of the National Partnership Board of Dentons Canada from 2009 to 2015 and has participated in the formation of the firm, serving as the first global vice chair from Canada from 2012 to 2015. Jenkins was a recipient of the Client Choice Award for 2016, 2017 and 2018 from the International Law Office with respect to M&A in Alberta. He represented the Canadian Bankers’ Association in Alberta for many years and has experience advising financial institutions on issues relating to lending practices and capital markets compliance. Jenkins is also a former chairman of the securities law section of the Canadian Bar Association in Southern Alberta and a frequent contributor to seminars on corporate finance topics.
Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Year called to the Bar: 1997
Warren Nishimura is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He acts as lead counsel on large-syndicated credit facilities, including project finance primarily in the energy sector. Many of these transactions are cross-border, predominantly involving the US, but also Europe, Australia and Central and South America. Nishimura works directly with the lead banks and corporate treasury departments and regularly manages divergent views while handling in and out of court restructurings or the financing requirements associated with mergers and acquisitions. In addition to domestic and international banks, he regularly advises private equity investors on their debt and quasi-debt investments.
Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Year called to the bar: 1990 (ON); 1996 (AB)
Joseph Palin is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Calgary office and a member of the firm’s financial services group. He devotes his practice to structuring and completing domestic and international financing transactions. Palin frequently advises lenders and borrowers as they navigate matters involving complex financing structures. He acts as an advisor to his clients. With more than 30 years of experience, Palin has detailed industry knowledge and established business relationships within the oil and gas, energy services and power sectors.
Darlene W. Scott
Law firm: Dentons Canada LLP
Year called to the bar: 1985
Darlene W. Scott is partner at Dentons Canada LLP. She served as chair of the firm’s banking and finance group in Edmonton for more than a decade. Scott provides legal advice to institutional and corporate clients on commercial matters, including sales, leasing, development and acquisition of real estate, business and shares. She has also represented lenders and borrowers in financing and secured transactions for more than 30 years. Scott regularly acts for institutional and other lenders in documenting secured transactions and has acted for borrowers in a broad range of industries. Her experience ranges from real estate and other asset-based lending to project and operating financing, together with more specialized lending such as retirement compensation arrangements. Scott also acts for developers of commercial, residential and condominium projects. She received her Queen’s Counsel designation in 2016. Scott has served as a bencher of the Law Society of Alberta since 2014, and in that capacity, she is the chair of audit and finance and the vice chair of conduct.
Law firm: Dentons Canada LLP
Year called to the bar: 1990
Grant Vogel is a partner in Dentons Canada LLP’s Edmonton office. He works extensively in the areas of financial services, acquisitions, dispositions and development of real estate as well as general corporate commercial matters. His clients include mortgage lenders, banks, asset-based lenders, owners and developers of real estate. Vogel also represents publicly traded and privately owned oil field service businesses in domestic and cross-border transactions.