Ontario’s leading construction lawyers in 2021

Lexpert unveils Ontario’s leading construction lawyers based on this year’s peer survey
Ontario’s leading construction lawyers in 2021

Lexpert unveils Ontario’s leading construction lawyers based on the results of this year’s comprehensive peer survey. The full roster of the province’s most recommended construction lawyers and law firms can be accessed via our practice area rankings.

Construction law is a branch of the legal profession dealing with matters relating to building construction, engineering and other related fields. This includes contract, commercial, planning and employment law.

Most frequently recommended construction lawyers

Glenn W. Ackerley

Law firm: WeirFoulds LLP

Year called to the nar: 1989

City: Toronto

Glenn W. Ackerley is a partner and the chair of the construction practice at WeirFoulds LLP. He represents clients from across the construction industry, including public and private owners, contractors, subtrades, suppliers and consultants. Ackerley advises on project structures, construction and consultant contracts, procurement issues and risk-avoidance strategies, often in the role of “project lawyer.” He also litigates construction claims, including construction lien and trust claims, tendering disputes and deficiency and delay claims. Ackerley is trained and experienced in mediation and arbitration. He has taught various courses, including the Ontario Association of Architects’ admission course and Ryerson University’s construction law course. In 2019, Ackerley received the Donald P. Giffin, Sr. Construction Industry Achievement Award from the Toronto Construction Association and the Jock Tindale Memorial Award for Integrity in the Construction Industry from Ontario General Contractors Association. He is a member of the construction section of the ADR Institute of Ontario and fellow of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers. Ackerley is also past chairman of the board of the TCA and former board member of the Canadian Construction Association.

 Matthew R. Alter is a partner at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, where he chairs the construction group. He represents clients in all types of construction disputes, including bid disputes, contractor defaults, interference, delay, lien, trust and bond claims. He also assists clients with contracts, tenders and RFPs for domestic and international projects. Alter is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in construction law. He is a fellow and past president of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers and former editor of the CCCL’s journal. Alter is also a past chair of the International Construction Division of the ABA’s forum on construction law and the OBA’s construction and infrastructure law section. He has authored and co-authored numerous articles and publications. Alter is also a frequent speaker at seminars and conferences.

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Sandra Astolfo

Law firm: WeirFoulds LLP

Year called to the bar: 1995

City: Toronto

Sandra Astolfo is a partner at WeirFoulds LLP. She devotes her practice to infrastructure and construction law. Astolfo has worked with her clients for more than 25 years and is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education programs and industry conferences. She has extensive experience in negotiating construction agreements, providing contract administration advice, litigating, mediating and arbitrating disputes. Astolfo advocates on behalf of all project participants. She also assists her clients with protecting their interests in the event of a project participant’s insolvency. Astolfo is a fellow of both the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers and the Construction Lawyers Society of America. She is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in construction law and has authored numerous articles on construction law topics. Astolfo is the recipient of the Ontario Bar Association’s 2019 Construction and Infrastructure Law Award of Excellence, the first female to receive the award.

Geza R. Banfai

Law firm: McMillan LLP

Year called to the bar: 1978

City: Toronto

Geza R. Banfai is a counsel at McMillan LLP. He devotes his practice to construction and infrastructure matters. Banfai boasts extensive experience in preparing domestic and international construction contracts, pre-bid, bid and project alliancing, domestic and international joint venture and teaming agreements and negotiation and preparation of integrated team and public-private partnership contracts. He also advises on procurement issues, contract claims and disputes, construction liens, trust claims, lien priority disputes, bond claims, claims involving the negligence of design professionals and OHSA issues. Banfai’s past directorships include the Canadian Construction Association, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Ontario and Toronto Construction Association. He remains active in an advisory role to these associations and continues as the ex-officio legal representative on the Canadian Construction Documents Committee. Banfai is also a fellow of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers. He is the recipient of the 2016 OBA Award of Excellence in Construction and Infrastructure Law.

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Brendan D. Bowles

Law firm: Glaholt Bowles LLP

Year called to the bar: 2000

City: Toronto

Brendan D. Bowles is a partner at Glaholt Bowles LLP. He is certified as a specialist in construction law by the Law Society of Ontario. Bowles acts for a variety of clients involved in construction, including subcontractors and suppliers, general contractors, owners, design professionals, sureties and insurers. He is experienced lead counsel in the arbitration, mediation and litigation of all manner of construction disputes. Bowles was designated as an associate in Canadian Surety Bonding by the Surety Association of Canada in 2004. From 2002 to 2017, he volunteered on the executive for the construction and infrastructure law section of the Ontario Bar Association, serving as chair from 2015 to 2016. Bowles is former a lecturer in construction law at Ryerson University and George Brown College and has also served as a guest lecturer at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. He is currently a member at large for The Advocates’ Society Arbitration and Mediation Practice Group.

Anna M. Esposito

Law firm: Pallett Valo LLP

Year called to the bar: 1987

City: Mississauga

Anna M. Esposito is a partner at Pallett Valo LLP’s construction practice. She is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in construction law and is a fellow of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers. Esposito acts for all parties in the construction pyramid, including general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, owners, developers, sureties, mortgagees and trustees in bankruptcy. She advises on the areas of liens, breach of trust, labour and material payment bonds, debt collection, performance bonds, contract preparation and the resolution of all types of construction disputes whether by way of litigation or by other dispute resolution mechanisms. Esposito often acts as a mediator in construction disputes.

Duncan W. Glaholt

Law firm: Glaholt Bowles LLP

Year called to the bar: 1979

City: Toronto

Duncan W. Glaholt is partner at Glaholt Bowles LLP, a construction law firm that he founded. He is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in construction law. Glaholt is a fellow of the American and Canadian Colleges of Construction Lawyers and International Academy of Construction Lawyers and a distinguished fellow of the International Academy of Mediators. He is an author and co-author of several reference books on construction law and alternative dispute resolution. Glaholt is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. He is also a chartered arbitrator and has mediated and arbitrated a wide range of complex, multiparty construction industry and infrastructure work, including processing plants, refineries, capture plants, mining, energy, infrastructure and transportation projects.

R. Bruce Reynolds

Law firm: Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

Year called to the bar: 1983

City: Toronto

R. Bruce Reynolds is a named partner at Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP’s construction and infrastructure group. He practises contentious and non-contentious construction law. Reynolds is a former counsel to the Ontario government in expert review of the Construction Lien Act. He is also a co-author of A Guide to Canadian Construction Insurance Law, Scott and Reynolds on Surety Bonds and Construction, Builders and Mechanics’ Liens in Canada (7th edition). Reynolds is past co-chair of the  international construction projects committee of the International Bar Association and former governor of the American College of Construction Lawyers. He serves as program coordinator of the International Academy of Construction Lawyers, co-chair of the international committee of the American College of Construction Lawyers, member of the board of governors of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers and fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

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Sharon C. Vogel

Law firm: Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP

Year called to the bar: 1993

City: Toronto

Sharon C. Vogel is a named partner and co-chair of the construction and infrastructure law group at Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP. She handles the negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation of construction disputes and has appeared at all levels of court. Vogel has been involved with public policy mandates, including acting as co-counsel retained by the Ontario government and federal government to prepare reports and make recommendations on prompt payment and adjudication. She is a senior fellow at the University of Melbourne, where she teaches international construction law. Vogel is a certified specialist in construction law and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Canadian College of Construction Lawyers and American College of Construction Lawyers.

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Howard M. Wise

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the bar: 1985

City: Toronto

Howard M. Wise is a partner at full-service business law firm Goodmans LLP. He specializes in construction law and commercial litigation. Wise acts for owners, general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and lenders in large construction disputes, including construction liens, contract and negligence claims. His practice includes trial and appellate work and mediation and arbitration of construction disputes and negotiating and drafting complex construction contracts, including engineering, procurement and construction contracts and public-private partnership agreements. Wise is an LSO-certified specialist in construction law. He is a frequent lecturer on construction law, including design-build contracts, bidding and tendering and construction liens. Wise is a past chair of the construction law subsection of CBA and OBA, past president and fellow of the CCCL, member of The Advocates’ Society, ATLA, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

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Consistently recommended construction lawyers

Joseph Cosentino

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the bar: 1997

City: Toronto

Joseph Cosentino is a partner at Goodmans LLP. He focuses on construction and commercial litigation. Cosentino’s construction practice involves negotiating major contracts, lien litigation and resolving disputes for owners, general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and lenders. His practice also involves commercial litigation matters, including bankruptcy and insolvency litigation. Cosentino regularly negotiates and drafts complex construction contracts on high-value projects throughout Ontario. He has also worked with owners, contractors and architects in updating and supplementing their CCDC contract documents. Cosentino boasts expertise in construction litigation and in arbitration, mediation and adjudication proceedings. He has conducted in-house symposiums to industry participants on construction issues, best practices and current developments. Cosentino is the editor of Canadian Forms & Precedents, Debtor/Creditor chapter on construction liens. He is a member of the Toronto Construction Association, CBA and The Advocates’ Society.

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Kenneth W. Crofoot

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the bar: 1984

City: Toronto

Kenneth W. Crofoot is general counsel at Goodmans LLP. He is also a partner at the firm’s litigation and construction groups. Crofoot is involved in all aspects of professionalism involving the firm, including insurance, risk management, conflicts and ethics. He has been involved as counsel in several arbitrations and mediations, including commercial, joint venture, partnership and construction project disputes, insurance loss determinations and bankruptcy claim valuations. He has also written numerous articles and has spoken widely at continuing legal education seminars on aspects of construction law and practice. Crofoot is a fellow and past president of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers.

Roger J. Gillott

Law firm: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1996

City: Toronto

Roger J. Gillott is a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. He has practised exclusively construction litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution for 20 years. Gillott boasts extensive advocacy experience in trial, appellate and arbitration proceedings. He also advises on the avoidance and management of risk in the administration of construction contracts. Gillott has represented clients in a wide variety of disputes involving construction liens and trusts, mortgage priorities, contract interpretation, bidding and tendering, delay and extras claims, professional negligence and claims under performance and payment bonds. He has chaired the annual conference on construction liens for the Law Society of Ontario for over 10 years and has published over 50 papers on construction law topics.

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Glenn Grenier

Law firm: McMillan LLP

Year called to the bar: 1991

City: Toronto

Glenn Grenier is a partner and co-chair of McMillan LLP’s construction law and aviation practice groups. He is an expert in construction law, construction liens and construction litigation. Grenier regularly acts for project developers, financiers, contractors, subcontractors, engineers, designers and planners. His experience includes dealing with all manner of construction disputes, including claims for lien, extras, delay, acceleration, negligent design, tender disputes, priority disputes, construction insolvency and asserting and defending bond and trust claims. Grenier also advises parties at every stage of the construction process, including resolving issues to avoid litigation and allowing parties to finish their projects. He has successfully argued some of the leading cases on priorities, notice holdback and security for costs in the construction context. His published articles on concurrent delay and acceleration are considered two of the leading Canadian dissertations on these subjects.

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Karen Groulx

Law firm: Dentons Canada LLP

Year called to the bar: 1990

City: Toronto

Karen Groulx is a partner at Dentons Canada LLP’s construction, litigation and real estate groups. Her practice includes negotiation and drafting of various types of construction documents on behalf of owners and general contractors. She also acts in dispute resolution and litigation involving the awarding of contracts, construction liens and related proceedings on behalf of owners, general contractors and subcontractors and mortgagees. Groulx handles trust and bond claims, negligence claims and contract claims. She also boasts expertise in e-discovery in litigation matters, and in the preparation of records retention and records management policies. Groulx is a founding member of the Sedona Canada Working Group on Electronic Document Retention and Production in Canada.

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Andrew J. Heal

Law firm: Heal & Co. LLP

Year called to the bar: 1990

City: Toronto

Andrew J. Heal is a founding partner at Heal & Co. LLP. His litigation and construction practice includes advising on and reviewing complex construction contracts, municipal and construction liability matters, professional liability and discipline, and judicial and appellate review of public authority and commercial disputes. Heal counsels and encourages exploring alternative means of resolving disputes, whenever appropriate. He has also actively defended public authorities, including municipalities and provincial authorities responsible for regulating and inspecting construction projects. Heal has acted for construction sureties, insurers, owners, contractors and trades in construction and real property disputes. He also acts in defence of construction professionals in malpractice claims. Heal is a certified specialist in construction law by the LSO and the current chair of the CBA national construction and infrastructure law section.

Dan J. Leduc

Law firm: Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Year called to the bar: 1993 (ON); 2011 (Grenada)

City: Ottawa

Dan J. Leduc is partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP. He practises almost exclusively in the field of construction law and dispute resolution. Leduc is frequently called upon to advise and represent owners, subcontractors, suppliers and builders in contract reviews, tender issues and general construction matters, as well as in litigation and arbitration. He is experienced in negotiating, mediating, arbitrating and litigating construction disputes, including construction liens, trust claims, delay claims, construction insurance claims, and architect’s and engineer’s errors and omissions. Leduc has extensive experience in drafting and negotiating various forms of construction contracts on behalf of owners, developers, general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. He also has experience in surety bonding claims.

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Andrea Lee

Law firm: Glaholt Bowles LLP

Year called to the bar: 2006

City: Toronto

Andrea Lee is a partner at Glaholt Bowles LLP. She is certified as a specialist in construction law by the Law Society of Ontario. Lee represents owners, developers, contractors and design professionals in complex litigation matters involving liens, trusts, bonds, construction deficiencies, delay claims and professional negligence. She acts as counsel on arbitrations conducted under institutional rules and ad hoc. Lee also advises clients on construction contracts and design agreements under various project delivery methods. She has co-founded the construction law course at Queen's University and is the instructor of the construction law course offered through Osgoode LLM's program. Lee also mentors young professionals through the OBA’s mentorship program and the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.

Bernie McGarva

Law firm: Aird & Berlis LLP

Year called to the bar: 1980

City: Toronto

Bernie McGarva is partner at Aird & Berlis LLP, where he is a member of litigation and dispute resolution group. He is an experienced litigator, mediator and arbitrator who specializes in professional liability and construction law. McGarva practises commercial and construction litigation, with a focus on construction and infrastructure disputes, securities litigation, shareholders’ rights disputes and errors and omissions defence. He is a certified as a specialist in construction law by the Law Society of Ontario. McGarva has appeared before numerous professional tribunals and all levels of the court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He advises architects, engineers, doctors, dentists, social workers and lawyers on professional liability matters, including insured negligence claims and discipline-related matters. McGarva has mediated or arbitrated more than 600 cases in areas such as construction, insurance, errors and omissions, commercial and real estate contracts, shareholder disputes, franchises and estates. He is a member and past executive of the Canadian and Ontario Bar Associations construction law section and a member of the Toronto Lawyers Association.

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Rocco M. Sebastiano

Law firm: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Year called to the bar: 1994

City: Toronto

Rocco M. Sebastiano is a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. His practice focuses on engineering, procurement and construction law and infrastructure matters. Sebastiano has acted for project participants, including owners, governmental authorities, developers, contractors, operators, lenders, architects and engineers. He has extensive experience in public-private partnerships, privatizations and outsourcing of government services, procurements, project finance, major building, civil and public works design, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance focusing on energy and infrastructure projects. His practice also includes contract negotiation with an emphasis on “preventative” structuring aimed at minimizing project risks and disputes. Sebastiano is a qualified and experienced professional engineer.

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Rick H. Shaban

Law firm: Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG)

Year called to the bar: 1985

City: Toronto

Rick H. Shaban is a senior partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s construction group. He is actively involved in many infrastructure projects, successfully leading transaction teams and closing several public-private partnership deals and crafting complex project agreements using most project delivery methods. Shaban has extensive experience in domestic and international dispute resolution having resolved countless project disputes including appearances at every level of court including the Supreme Court of Canada. He is a founding fellow and a past president of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers, former member of the Finance Committee of the Canadian Construction Association, member of the International Bar Association (ICP), American Bar Association’s tort trial and insurance practice section, fidelity and surety law committee and forum on the construction industry. Shaban is also a member of the Canadian Counsel for P3s and involved in the Surety Association of Canada. He is a past co-director of Osgoode Hall Certificate Program in P3s.

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Richard G.C. Wong

Law firm: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Year called to the bar: 1997

City: Toronto

Richard G.C. Wong is a partner and the chair of the construction and infrastructure practice group at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. He specializes in the development of energy projects in Canada, major infrastructure works and commercial and industrial construction projects. Wong advises clients on the “front-end” of all aspects of project structuring and development, including joint venturing and consortiums, risk allocation and management, procurement and tendering, construction contracts, performance guarantees and bonds and operation and maintenance issues. His services include reviewing, negotiating and drafting EPC contracts, engineering and construction management agreements, equipment supply agreements, power purchase agreements and procurement law in Canada, including drafting RFPs and tender documentation. Wong is a frequent speaker on procurement, construction and energy matters. He is also an evaluator of professional practice exams for Professional Engineers Ontario. Wong is an executive of the Ontario Bar Association’s construction and infrastructure law section. He also serves as the chair of the international construction division of the American Bar Association’s forum on construction law.

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