British Columbia’s best corporate and commercial lawyers in 2021

Lexpert puts the spotlight on British Columbia's best corporate and commercial lawyers based on the results of our comprehensive annual peer survey
British Columbia’s best corporate and commercial lawyers in 2021

Lexpert puts the spotlight on British Columbia’s best corporate and commercial lawyers based on the results of our comprehensive annual peer survey. The full roster of the province’s most recommended lawyers and law firms in the field can be viewed via our practice area rankings.

Corporate law refers to the rules and regulations that govern the way corporations operate and do business. Commercial law applies to the rights, relations and conduct of persons and businesses engaged in commerce, merchandising, trade and sales.

Most frequently recommended corporate and commercial lawyers

David A. Allard

Law firm: Lawson Lundell LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1987

David A. Allard is a partner at Lawson Lundell LLP. He practises in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and securities law. Allard advises private and public companies on transactional and general corporate commercial matters, corporate reorganizations and restructurings and corporate governance issues. Among his major representative transactional work are the sale and purchase of numerous large-scale manufacturing and processing operations and businesses, multi-jurisdictional structured sales, private equity and venture capital investments, convertible debt financings, early-stage financings and corporate restructuring transactions and proceedings. Allard represents senior public companies, start-ups and leading entrepreneurs across a variety of industries, including forestry, services and technology. He is a regular lecturer on business law matters and contributor to continuing legal education publications.

Read more about Lawson Lundell LLP on Indigenous consultation standards

Cameron G. Belsher

Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1988

Cameron G. Belsher is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Vancouver and Toronto offices. He focuses on corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. Belsher has acted as lead counsel on substantial debt restructurings, cross-border and domestic M&A involving public and private companies in the distribution, mining, technology and resort industries, proxy contests, initial public offerings, joint ventures, and public and private equity and debt financings. He also conducts significant work with pension fund and private equity clients. Belsher is a former adjunct professor at University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law and a past member of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) listings advisory committee.

Read more about McCarthy Tétrault LLP on the growth of capital markets amid the pandemic

John Paul Bogden

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1999 (MB); 2000 (BC)

John-Paul Bogden co-leads the private equity group at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, where also serves as a partner. He devotes his practice to mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, infrastructure and projects work and general corporate law. Bogden’s clients range from start-ups and venture-financed businesses to large, publicly traded corporations. A significant portion of his practice involves working with private equity funds, including buyout, infrastructure and venture capital funds, and their portfolio companies in investment, add-on, recapitalization and exit transactions. He also acts for technology-based businesses in relation to both operational and transactional matters and investment banks and other corporate finance professionals in relation to M&A and financing transactions. Bogden is also frequently engaged as special M&A counsel by seller groups and investment banks undertaking competitive auction processes. He regularly speaks at business law conferences and is a member of several industry associations, including the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, the British Columbia Technology Industry Association and the Vancouver chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth.

Read more about Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP on restructuring in a challenging economy

Mitchell H. Gropper

Law firm: FARRIS

Year called to the Bar: 1966 (BC); 1970 (ON)

Mitchell H. Gropper is a senior partner at FARRIS. He boasts an extensive corporate and securities practice, with a focus on complex transactions, including real estate matters, corporate finance, reorganizations and mergers and acquisitions. Gropper has acted for purchasers and sellers in M&A transactions, including those for Aritzia, MDS, IntraWest, Vancouver Island Helicopters, Mark Anthony Presents, Coast Hotels and Global University Services. He has advised boards of directors and special committees, including those at Goldcorp, Intrawest, Coast Wholesale, Sterling Shoes and Vancouver City Savings Credit Union. He has also been involved in going-private and related-party transactions. Gropper has advised on financial reorganizations and debt restructurings, including as special legal advisor to Vancouver for the Olympic Village and several reorganization transactions for Concord Pacific Group, Onni Development and A&W Revenue Royalties. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1990.

Read more about FARRIS on shareholder activism in Canada

Robin Mahood

Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2006 (BC); 2004 (New York)

Robin Mahood is a partner at the business law group at McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Vancouver office. He advises public and private corporations on mergers and acquisitions, securities, day-to-day governance, continuous disclosure obligations and commercial matters. His recent transactional experience includes advising Canadian and international acquirers and targets in respect of domestic and cross-border M&A transactions in the renewable energy, mining, retail, forestry and life sciences industries. Mahood has also advised issuers, underwriters and investors on cross-border and domestic public offerings of equity and debt, including initial public offerings and private placements of equity and high-yield debt. He was formerly a law clerk to Justice Frank Lacobucci at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Read more about McCarthy Tétrault LLP on legislative shifts in climate change environmental regimes

Bradley A. Newby

Law firm: FARRIS

Year called to the Bar: 1995

Bradley A. Newby is a partner at FARRIS. He focuses on corporate commercial, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and securities and corporate governance law. Newby has extensive experience in advising corporations, private equity firms, professional managers and entrepreneurs on a wide range of complex business transactions.

Read more about FARRIS on Canadian venture capital investments

Consistently recommended corporate and commercial lawyers

John F. Anderson

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to Bar: 1991

John F. Anderson is a partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP. He devotes his practice to corporate and securities law, with a focus on public mergers and acquisitions. Anderson is also well-versed in private M&A, joint ventures, corporate governance, corporate finance and securities. He boasts industry expertise in technology and resources, particularly in mining, forestry and energy. Anderson has worked on many of British Columbia’s most significant resources transactions in the past 20 years, including the sales of MacMillan Bloedel to Weyerhaeuser, Terasen to Kinder Morgan and UrAsia and Energy Metals to Uranium One. In the technology sector, his focus is on providing one-stop legal services for start-up companies.

Read more about Stikeman Elliott LLP on private equity investment in Canada

Brian R. Canfield

Law firm: FARRIS

Year called to Bar: 1991 (BC); 1995 (Washington State); 2007 (AB)

Brian R. Canfield is a partner at FARRIS and serves as a strategic advisor for his business clients. He is often asked to handle difficult negotiations, tight timelines or similar challenges for his clients in buying and selling businesses or real estate, raising financing, facilitating regulatory approvals, settling shareholder or other disputes, restructuring and other matters. Canfield boasts extensive experience in assisting both public and private clients, including boards and special committees, with a special emphasis on established and emerging entrepreneurs. His clients operate in many key industries including automotive, construction, financial, food and beverage, hospitality, infrastructure, real estate and resources.

Gordon R. Chambers

Law firm: Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1987

Gordon R. Chambers is a partner at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. He advises on all aspects of securities law, including mergers and acquisitions, public and private offerings of securities and continuous disclosure and other ongoing regulatory requirements applicable to public companies. Chambers also represents special committees of boards of directors and assists in proxy contests. He acts for clients in diverse industries, with a focus on mining companies, including dual-listed issuers. Gordon is a member of the Toronto Stock Exchange Listings Advisory Committee and served on the Securities Legal Advisory Committee of the British Columbia Securities Commission and the Vancouver Stock Exchange, Securities Advisory Committee.

Read more about Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP on stakeholder engagement

Peter H. Finley

Law firm: Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1982

Peter H. Finley is a counsel at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP’s Vancouver office. He represents private and public companies in mergers and acquisitions, partnerships and real estate matters, including investment properties, acquisitions and dispositions and real estate financing. Finley also has significant exempt market financing experience. He acts on a variety of transactions involving tax-driven structures.

Albert J. Hudec

Law firm: FARRIS

Year called to the Bar: 1981 (AB); 1994 (BC)

Albert J. Hudec is a senior partner at FARRIS. He devotes his practice to commercial transactions involving Indigenous parties and has been lead lawyer on many of Canada’s most significant Indigenous transactions in the last 12 years. He is also a prominent legal advisor to the British Columbia wine industry, advising on purchase and sale transactions and regulatory matters. Hudec is a mergers and acquisition and corporate governance practitioner with 40 years of experience in all legal aspects of securities and corporate finance. He is also well-versed in independent committee representation, with emphasis on the North American resource, infrastructure and technology industries. Hudec writes and speaks frequently on a variety of legal topics relating to wine law, Aboriginal law, corporate finance and corporate governance. He is a certified financial analyst.

Kathleen P. Keilty

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2001

Kathleen P. Keilty is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. She has been a corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions lawyer for 20 years. Keilty has extensive experience acting for public and private issuers in a broad range of industries, including mining, forestry, retail, financial services, cannabis, technology and manufacturing. She advises issuers and underwriters on domestic and cross-border public offerings and private placements of equity and debt securities. She also advises public and private companies and their boards of directors and special committees in connection with M&A, including takeover bids, plans of arrangement, going-private and spin-out transactions and joint venture and shareholder agreements. Keilty has been counsel in connection with numerous domestic and cross-border initial public offerings, including the IPOs of Aritzia Inc., Ero Copper and Tilray Inc. Her recent representative M&A transactions include Tilray’s proposed combination with Aphria Inc. to create the world’s largest cannabis company, Great Canadian Gaming’s proposed acquisition by Apollo Global Management, Tilray’s acquisition of Manitoba Harvest, Auryn’s acquisition of Eastmain to form Fury Gold Mines and Carillion Canada’s sale of its services business to an affiliate of Fairfax Financial Holdings.

Read more about Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP on infrastructure investments during the pandemic

Ted I. Koffman

Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1987

Ted I. Koffman is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s office in Vancouver. He devotes his practice to providing general counsel to businesses, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, venture capital, outsourcings, and formation and financing of business ventures and corporate reorganizations. Koffman regularly advises on various technology companies, venture capitalists and investors in numerous equity and debt financings. He boasts extensive experience in cross-border transactions. Koffman is also a regular lecturer at various programs and conferences on the legal aspects of buying and selling businesses, outsourcing agreements and the formation of business ventures.

Gregory D. Lewis

Law firm: Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1988

Gregory D. Lewis leads the Canadian infrastructure team and co-heads the North American infrastructure team at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, where he is also a partner. Lewis focuses on projects and commercial transactions in the infrastructure, energy and other sectors. He has assisted clients on a range of major projects, including public-private partnerships, port developments, hydro power projects, co-generation projects, purchases and sales of businesses in a variety of sectors and related corporate and project financings. Prior to law school, Lewis was a logistics officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, attaining the rank of captain.

Read more about Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP on the importance of vigilance to avoid fraud

R. Hector MacKay-Dunn

Law firm: FARRIS

Year called to the Bar: 1978 (BC); 2014 (ON); 2014 (AB)

R. Hector MacKay-Dunn is a senior partner at FARRIS. He boasts more than 30 years of experience in providing legal advice to high-growth public and private companies in a broad range of industries, including life sciences, health, mining, clean tech and tech. MacKay-Dunn advises on corporate domestic and cross-border public and private securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, international partnering and licensing transactions. He also represents boards of directors and independent board committees on corporate governance matters. MacKay-Dunn has served as board member with several private and public companies and the BC Tech Association. He has also served as board and executive committee member of Tennis Canada and chair of the BC Innovation Council and Genome BC. MacKay-Dunn was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2003.

Valerie C. Mann

Law firm: Lawson Lundell LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1992

Valerie C. Mann co-chairs the mergers and acquisitions group and chairs the technology group at Lawson Lundell LLP, where she also serves as partner. Her practice is transactional as well as advisory. She has been involved in transactions for private and public companies, including mergers and acquisitions, financing, corporate reorganizations, strategic alliances and joint ventures. Mann’s practice also includes acting for public and private companies, private equity firms and large institutional investors. She has significant experience in private equity and venture fund formations. Mann has been lead counsel on several large mid-market transactions, including in the resource and commodities, real property and manufacturing sectors, in addition to acquisition activity in the technology sector. In 2017, she obtained her ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors and the Rotman School of Management.

Jonathan McCullough

Law firm: Bennett Jones LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1986

Jonathan McCullough is the national co-head of the corporate department at Bennett Jones LLP, where he also serves as a partner. He has been practising corporate and securities law for more than 30 years. McCullough devotes his practice to private equity, acting on behalf of both fund sponsors and institutional investors in forming private funds to invest in buyouts, mezzanine, venture capital, infrastructure, water and timber assets. He is also familiar with all aspects of structuring, negotiating and completing such investments and with standards for investment policies, fees, returns and governance in this expanding asset class. Additionally, he has significant experience in assisting such funds with transactions, including growth investments, mergers and acquisitions, recapitalizations, add-on investments and exits. McCullough frequently represents institutional investors in direct investments and co-investments, including negotiating consortium governance arrangements.

Read more about Bennett Jones LLP on when a purchaser reneges on a deal

William J. McFetridge

Law firm: Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1979

William J. McFetridge is a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP. He has more than four decades of experience in providing professional strategic counsel and advice to clients in a range of industries, including transportation, marine, construction and forestry. McFetridge is particularly knowledgeable on the process of buying and selling businesses. He also boasts extensive experience in structuring and negotiating joint venture arrangements and long-term supply agreements. McFetridge chaired Legal Strategies for Business Acquisitions course designed for senior practitioners in British Columbia for 10 years. Prior to entering law, he trained and practised as a chartered professional accountant, a background that he draws on to deal with a variety of corporate and commercial matters. McFetridge remains active in the accounting profession and is the past chair of Canada’s Auditing and Assurance Standards Oversight Council. He was elected a fellow of CPA British Columbia in 2012. McFetridge is also a Chartered Arbitrator (CArb). He is recognized as a domestic arbitrator by the Vancouver International Arbitration Centre and has been involved with many large and small arbitrations.

Read more about Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP on the oil sector’s tough year

Steven R. McKoen

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1998 (BC); 2002 (New York)

Steven R. McKoen is partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, where he practises securities and corporate law. He focuses on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, corporate finance and corporate governance. McKoen acts for issuers, underwriters and private equity clients in a variety of sectors, including mining, forestry, high-tech and bio-tech. He has been a bencher of the Law Society of British Columbia since 2016 and was an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia for eight years. His recent transactions include acting for Nevsun Resources Ltd. on unsolicited acquisition proposal by Lundin Mining Corporation and Nevsun’s subsequent acquisition by Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. for $1.86 billion, BRS & Co.’s acquisitions of majority stakes in Organika Health Products Inc. and Canada Pooch Ltd., and Correvio Pharma Corp. in its agreement to be acquired by ADVANZ Pharma Corp. Limited. He has also acted as Canadian counsel to Digital Colony Partners and EQT Infrastructure IV Fund in connection with their consortium’s US$14.3-billion agreement to acquire, recapitalize and take private Zayo Group Holdings, Inc.

Read more about Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP on stakeholder engagement

Andrew McLeod

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1996

Andrew McLeod is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, where he practices securities law. He acts for public and private companies in the local, national and international level, advising in all aspects of their business including financings, restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, negotiation of commercial agreements and ongoing governance and disclosure matters. McLeod regularly represents investors, boards of directors, special committees, investment bankers and other participants in financing and M&A transactions in all industries, particularly mining and technology. His practice also includes acting for private equity and venture capital investors and companies receiving such investments. He is a regular author and speaker on structuring cross-border transactions, venture capital investing and advising tech clients.

Sven O. Milelli

Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Year called the Bar: 2005 (BC); 2000 (New York)

Sven O. Milelli is the regional managing partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP in British Columbia. He advises public and private corporations in a wide range of industries regarding mergers and acquisitions, public and private securities offerings, joint ventures and corporate governance matters. Among his recent transactions are advising Canadian, US and international acquirers and targets on domestic and cross-border M&A, takeover bids and joint ventures in renewable energy, trucking and logistics, technology and software, oil and gas, forestry, pharmaceuticals, financial services, retail liquor, publishing, and pulp and paper industries. Milelli has also advised issuers and underwriters on cross-border, US and domestic public and private offerings of equity and debt, including initial public offerings, bought deal financings and secondary offerings.

Denise Nawata

Law firm: FARRIS

Year called to the Bar: 2005 (AB); 2006 (BC)

Denise Nawata is a corporate-commercial partner at FARRIS. She devotes her practice to the fields of corporate finance and securities, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance. Nawata also focuses on complex business transactions for both public and private companies at various stages of their corporate growth. She acts for clients in a wide range of industries, including natural resources. Nawata boasts extensive experience in mining, and oil and gas transactions, technology and life sciences.

Fred R. Pletcher

Law firm: Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG)

Year called to the Bar: 1993

Fred R. Pletcher is the national leader of the mining group at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, where he is also partner. He advises public companies and underwriters in connection with mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, corporate governance, continuous disclosure and general commercial matters. Pletcher frequently advises boards of directors and special committees of public companies. He also has considerable experience in the field of shareholder activism. In the mining field, Pletcher acts for Canadian and international mining companies in acquisitions and dispositions of mines, development projects and exploration properties, joint venture and option agreements, royalty and streaming transactions, expropriations and NI 43-101 reporting obligations. Pletcher frequently speaks and publishes papers on corporate, securities and mining issues.

Read more about Borden Ladner Gervais LLP on trends to watch in law and business

Trevor R. Scott

Law firm: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1998

Trevor R. Scott is a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. He has extensive experience advising senior public and private companies, institutions, investment dealers, boards of directors and special committees on hostile and negotiated mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt financings, restructurings, corporate governance and shareholder activism. Scott is the past chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Business Law Section and the Securities Law Subsection of the Canadian Bar Association (BC). He is also a past member of the Securities Law Advisory Committee, which is a committee of leading lawyers that provides advice to the British Columbia Securities Commission on legal and policy issues relating to securities regulation. Scott regularly lectures and authors articles on M&A, corporate finance and shareholder activism. He is also a director of the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

Read more about Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP on managing ESG issues in corporate Canada

Gary R. Sollis

Law firm: Dentons Canada LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1978

Gary R. Sollis is a partner in Dentons Canada LLP’s Vancouver office. He represents clients in the areas of corporate and securities law, with a focus on acquisitions, financings and reorganizations. Sollis has acted for a variety of public and private companies in financing transactions, including public offerings, private placements of debt and equity, special warrant financings, and public and private limited partnership offerings. He has also assisted clients in connection with takeover bids, mergers, proxy contests, spin-offs, joint ventures and acquisitions of private businesses. Sollis is an adjunct professor of securities regulation at Faculty of Law at University of British Columbia. He has also lectured on corporate and commercial law topics for the Continuing Legal Education Society and the British Columbia Professional Legal Training Course.

Read more about Dentons Canada LLP on financing the mining industry

Michael G. Urbani

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1997

Michael G. Urbani is a partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP’s corporate and securities group and a member of the firm’s professional ethics committee. He devotes his practice to corporate finance, securities, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. Urbani acts for private and public entities and investment dealers in public financings and private placements in Canada and the US. He also represents clients on takeover bids, M&A, and corporate and commercial matters involving public and private corporations. His clients span a range of industries, including mining, high-tech, biotech, hospitality, communications and forest products.

Read more about Stikeman Elliott LLP on special purpose acquisition corporations (SPACs)

Bob J. Wooder

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1995

Bob J. Wooder is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP’s capital markets group. He specializes in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. Wooder advises public and private companies and financial institutions. He boasts extensive expertise in advising on takeover and issuer bids, private equity financings and as independent counsel to boards of directors. Among his recent transactions are advising Nevsun Resources in connection with the $1.4-billion hostile takeover bid by Lundin Mining, which resulted in a friendly agreement with Zijin Mining Group to acquire Nevsun for $1.8 billion and acting for Equinox Gold in connection with its $1.5-billion merger with Leagold Mining. Wooder also has extensive experience advising on M&As, including advising Aurizon in connection with the hostile bid made by Alamos and advising a Special Committee of Alterra Power in connection with its $1.1-billion acquisition by Innergex Renewable Energy.