These are Ontario’s leading property development law firms based on the results of Lexpert’s extensive annual peer review. The complete list of the province’s most recommended lawyers and law firms in the field is available on our practice area rankings.
In our survey, the property development practice is broken down in two areas. The first involves commercial, retail and residential real estate financing and development work, which covers all aspects of real property transactions. The second is land-use planning and municipal law encompassing commercial, retail and residential planning and land-use work.
Most frequently recommended property development law firms
Aird & Berlis LLP
Year established: 1919
Number of lawyers: 21 (Municipal & Land Use Planning)
Number of ranked lawyers: 8
Partners: Maggie Bassani, Eileen P.K. Costelo, Patricia A. Foran, Tom Halinski, Patrick Harrington, Kim Kovar, Leo F. Longo, John Mascarin, David P. Neligan, N. Jane Pepino, Andrea Skinner, Sidonia J. Tomasella, Hon. Peter Van Loan, Christopher J. Williams, Steven Zakem
Aird & Berlis LLP is a Toronto-based full-service business law firm, serving clients across Canada and globally. It has a roster of more than 170 lawyers and business advisors dedicated to providing strategic legal and business advice in all principal areas of business law, including corporate finance, banking, insolvency and restructuring, energy, environmental, infrastructure, technology, intellectual property, litigation, workplace law, municipal and land-use planning, real estate and tax. The firm boasts strong national and international expertise and advises a range of clients from entrepreneurs to multinational corporations.
The firm’s municipal and land use planning group is one of the largest and most highly recognized practice groups of its kind in Canada. The team consists of dedicated lawyers and skilled land-use planners who devote their practice to matters relating to municipal law, land-use planning and development law. These practitioners act on behalf of landowners and developers, municipalities and public agencies, elected officials and local board members, institutional clients, utility companies and public interest groups.
Bennett Jones LLP
Year established: 1989 (Toronto)
Number of lawyers: 20+ (Commercial Real Estate)
Number of ranked lawyers: 5
Partners: Stephen W. Bowman, Simon P. Crawford, Jacob B. Dubelaar, Aleksandra B. Finelli, Leonard A. Gangbar, Craig R.R. Garbe, Jane C. Helmstadter, Natalia E. Iamundo, Andrew L. Jeanrie, S. Paul Mantini, Julia E. Schatz, John D. van Gent
Bennett Jones LLP has a roster of more than 400 lawyers and business advisors in its offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. It is among Canada’s largest full-service business law firms. The firm also has international headquarters in New York and Beijing. The firm specializes in complex cross-border and international transactions and litigation. It advises foreign businesses and investors on Canadian ventures and investments and connects Canadian businesses and investors with opportunities across the globe.
The firm’s commercial real estate group consists of property development and real estate lawyers who understand the cyclical nature of the business and can anticipate and respond to the market and its players. They boast expertise in development, construction, land-use planning, commercial leasing and property management. The team’s clients include cities, municipal districts and provincial and federal ministries, developers, investors, portfolio managers, landlords, tenants, retailers, real estate professionals and financial institutions. It has negotiated and advised on land-use assemblies and properties of virtually every type, including office properties, resort facilities, residential developments, retail and mixed-use commercial centres, industrial and manufacturing sites, gaming complexes, and other leisure and recreational buildings. The group also boasts expertise in energy-related land use, providing advice on zoning, environmental and construction-related matters, and multi-year and multi-phase projects, ranging from oil sands extraction facilities to refining and upgrading sites.
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Year established: 1856
Number of lawyers: 14 (Commercial Real Estate)
Number of ranked lawyers: 4
Partners: Silvana M. D'Alimonte, Patrick Gordon, Joseph Grignano, Chris Huband, John Hutmacher, Jonathan W. Kahn, Daniel Kofman, Thomas von Hahn
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP is one of Canada’s largest full-service law firms, providing legal advice to leading domestic and international businesses. It has offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Montréal, and international headquarters in New York, London and Beijing. The firm handles transactions of all sizes and levels of complexity, whether local or multi-jurisdictional, or practice-area specific or interdisciplinary.
Blakes has one of the biggest commercial real estate practices in Canada. The group offers clients seamless service on a complete spectrum of commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions, financing, development and leasing. The team’s client base consists of Canadian, US and other international institutional and private entities, developers, real estate advisers, banks, pension funds, fund managers, insurance companies, REITs, retail and other commercial property owners and occupiers, governments and government agencies, and hotel owners and operators.
Year established: 1917
Number of lawyers: 15 (Commercial Real Estate)
Number of ranked lawyers: 13
Partners: Ira Barkin, Ira Berg, David Bronskill, Tyler D’Angelo, Bram Green, Ken Herlin, Roslyn Houser, Robert Howe, Catherine Lyons, Michelle Roth, Fred Rubinoff, Jeffrey Shore, Andrew Wiseman
Toronto-based Goodmans LLP is recognized as one of Canada’s most innovative law firms, providing expert legal service in all aspects of business law. The firm’s business-related specialties include capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, technology, real estate investment trust, tax and litigation. The firm caters to a wide range of Canadian and international businesses, from startups to multinational corporations.
Goodmans’ commercial real estate group works with developers, owners and managers, contractors, consortiums, leading financial institutions, investment dealers and intermediaries, governments, government agencies and crown corporations. The team is regularly involved in acquisitions, sales and financings of large office buildings, shopping centres, industrial parks and portfolios of properties and mortgages. The group also handles land purchases and sales, construction, financing, leasing, zoning and tenant negotiations. It is involved in bond financings, project financings, synthetic lease-based financings, public-private partnerships, privatizations, real estate syndications and securitizations, real estate investment trusts, loan syndications, co-tenancy agreements, general partnership and limited partnership agreements. The group also acts for clients in structuring transactions involving complex tax, corporate law, withholding and income tax components.
McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Year established: 1855
Number of lawyers: 33 (Real Property Development)
Number of ranked lawyers: 9
Partners: Ted A. Cox, John C. Currie, Michael Foderick, Paul Galbraith, Tzen-Yi Goh, Danny C. Grandilli, Kosta Kalogiros, Michael Kershaw, James Klein, Cynthia A. MacDougall, William D. McCollough, Tristan Musgrave, Brad Nicpon, Jamie Orzech, Jonathan D. See, Godyne N.L. Sibay
McCarthy Tétrault LLP is one of Canada’s largest full-service law firms, offering expert legal services to clients in Canada and around the world. The firm delivers integrated business, litigation, tax, real property and labour and employment offerings through its offices in Toronto, Montréal, Québec City, Calgary, Vancouver, New York in the US and in London, UK. The firm’s real property development group advises clients on the complete spectrum of commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions, leasing, financing, development and municipal properties across Canada. The team’s client base covers nearly all aspects of real estate, including financial institutions, governments, private companies, real estate investment trusts, hospitality groups and hotels and retail chains. The group also specializes in advising domestic and international pension, private equity and sovereign wealth funds on their real estate activities in Canada.
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Year established: 1862
Number of lawyers: 50 (Real Estate)
Number of ranked lawyers: 6
Partners: Chris Barnett, Rod Davidge, Stella Di Cresce, Adrian Hartog, Savvas Kotsopoulos, Heather McKean, Paul Morasutti, Ryan Nielsen, Iris Tam
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP one of Canada’s largest full-service firms with offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Calgary, Vancouver and New York in the US. It boasts a roster of more than 400 lawyers that provide expert legal services to both domestic and international clients. The firm is recognized for its extensive expertise in business. It specializes in a wide range of industries, including agribusiness, clean tech, energy, fintech, food products, gaming, health, hospitality and leisure, infrastructure, life sciences, mining, real estate investment trusts, retail and venture capital. Osler’s real estate group helps clients navigate complex real estate transactions. With local expertise in every major Canadian market, the team advises on all aspects of real property including acquisitions, dispositions and joint ventures, investments, development projects, capital markets transactions, financing arrangements, commercial leasing, asset and risk management and infrastructure projects.
Stikeman Elliott LLP
Year established: 1952
Number of lawyers: 18 (Real Estate)
Number of ranked lawyers: 7
Partners: Eric Carmona, Vince F. Imerti, Douglas J. Klaassen, Calvin Lantz, C. Mario Paura, Dana Porter, Melissa Schyven, Neil Shapiro, Lanette Wilkinson
Stikeman Elliott LLP specializes in business law and represents clients within Canada and across the globe. The firm provides counsel and advise through its offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Calgary and Vancouver and international headquarters in New York, London and Sydney. Its primary practice areas include mergers and acquisitions, securities, litigation and dispute resolution, banking and finance, competition and foreign investment, tax, restructuring, energy, real estate, project development, pensions, and labour and employment.
Stikeman Elliott’s national real estate group provides legal advice to real estate investors and key industry players on the acquisition, disposition, municipal land use, development, financing and leasing of all classes of real estate. The group also boasts expertise in complex domestic and cross-border transactions involving real estate, major infrastructure projects, agricultural lands, mining rights, aboriginal law and loan securitizations. The team’s range of clients includes non-taxable institutional investors, publicly traded REITs, investment funds, private equity firms and foreign investors.
Year established: 1860
Number of lawyers: 18 (Planning & Land Development)
Number of ranked lawyers: 2
Partners: Richard Arezes, Denise Baker, Lisa Borsook, Alex Clute, Bruce Engell, Peter Gross, Raj Kehar, Ryan Morris, Patrick Nugent, Sylvain Rouleau, Steven Rukavina
WeirFoulds LLP is a full-service business law firm that provides expert legal advice to clients in four major areas of practice, namely government, litigation, property and corporate. The firm has acted in some of Canada’s most significant mandates and have represented clients in many landmark cases. WeirFoulds boasts one of Canada’s leading land use planning practices. The group serves clients on every aspect of the planning process, from the start of the project to municipal approvals and agreements and, if necessary, hearings before applicable municipal bodies or courts. The team’s lawyers act for a range of clients on land development and use matters, including construction firms, commercial and residential property developers, public sector organizations, private institutions and interest groups. The group provides pre-development opinions and help clients raise project finance, obtain environmental and land use approvals and undertake stakeholder consultations. It also negotiates cost sharing arrangements, easements and development agreements.