Toronto's best environmental law firms in 2021

Here are Toronto's best environmental law firms based on Lexpert's comprehensive peer review
Toronto's best environmental law firms in 2021

Here are Toronto’s best environmental law firms based on the results of Lexpert’s comprehensive annual peer review. For the complete list of Ontario’s most recommended environmental lawyers and law firms, check out our latest practice area rankings.

Environmental law governs all aspects of the legal profession associated with how humans interact with their natural environment. The practice aims to protect the environment and regulate how people use natural resources.

Most frequently recommended environmental law firms

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP
Year established: 1961
Number of lawyers: 5 (Environmental & Indigenous)
Number of ranked lawyers: 2
Partners: Alexandria J. Pike, Sarah V. Powell

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP (Davies) is among Canada’s leading full-service business law firms. It specializes in high-stakes and complex matters. The firm’s clients include businesses and financial institutions in North America and abroad. It has offices in Toronto, Montréal and New York. Davies’ environmental and Indigenous practice group assesses and tackles clients’ environmental liabilities and exposures. The team provides advice on a wide range of complex transactions, including project development, remediation of contaminated lands, regulatory investigations and Indigenous engagement. The group represents clients spanning industries and regions, both local and global, with a focus on mining, manufacturing, pulp and paper, energy, chemical and real estate sectors.

Read more about Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP in how due diligence best practices can reduce client risk

Gowling WLG
Year established: 1887
Number of lawyers: 15+ (Climate Change & Environmental Law)
Number of ranked lawyers: 5
Partners: Ahab Abdel-Aziz, Adam Chamberlain, Clifford I. Cole, Harry Dahme, Jennifer Danahy, Jennifer L. King, Natalie Mullins, Rodney Northey, Susan D. Rosen, Scott A. Smith

Gowling WLG is an international full-service business law firm that boasts a network of more than 1,400 legal professionals in 19 cities worldwide. The firm serves clients in key sectors, including energy, financial services, life sciences, natural resources, infrastructure, real estate and technology. It has logged more than 9,400 pro bono hours and has been repeatedly recognized as a top employer committed to diversity, inclusion and innovation. Gowling WLG’s climate change and environmental law group helps clients anticipate new developments in environmental law, delivering practical advice and effective representation that helps clients address environmental issues as they arise. The group’s in-depth environmental law services include brownfields, climate change, corporate advice and transactions, emergency response, environmental assessments, litigation and advocacy, First Nations, international development, real estate transactions, toxic substances, training, transportation of dangerous goods, waste management and water and wastewater treatment and management.

Read more about Gowling WLG in how Canada can seize its opportunity to become a global energy leader

Consistently recommended environmental law firms

Bennett Jones LLP
Year established: 1989 (Toronto)
Number of lawyers: 5
Number of ranked lawyers: 2
Partners: Leonard J. Griffiths, Julia E. Schatz

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. Bennett Jones 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 core of Bennett Jones’ environmental law practice involves compliance matters, including the management of environmental risks and the advancement of sustainability. The practice covers the development of sustainability policies and implementation practices and procedures, relevant and practical proactive compliance advice, management of litigation risks, assisting with the purchase, sale and management of properties and businesses, management and development of contaminated properties, conducting environmental assessments for projects, assisting with insolvency matters and obtaining approvals for projects and facilities. The firm’s environmental lawyers appear in court and before various tribunals and boards to represent clients on liability and enforcement proceedings arising out of contaminated sites, prosecutions under federal and provincial statutes and municipal by-laws.

Read more about Bennett Jones LLP in when a purchaser can renege on a deal due to the pandemic

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Year established: 1856
Number of lawyers: 8
Number of ranked lawyers: 2
Partners: Iris Antonios, Ben A. Jetten, John W. Kahn, Charles Kazaz

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes) 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 an issue is local or multi-jurisdictional, or practice-area specific or interdisciplinary. Blakes environmental law group help clients navigate the many layers of environmental regulations. The team’s lawyers are experienced in devising risk-avoidance strategies. The group provides timely and reliable solutions to environmental law challenges faced by energy, resource and manufacturing companies. These issues include contaminated-site cleanup and liability, the establishment of municipal landfill and waste management operations, air and water permitting requirements, spill responses, greenhouse gas emissions, and the import, export and disposal of hazardous or toxic substances. The team’s litigators have successfully defended corporations, municipalities and individuals charged with environmental offences or named in government compliance and remediation orders. The lawyers develop sophisticated strategies to minimize clients’ exposure to environmental liabilities and advise clients on management, compliance, due diligence procedures, training and permit requirements for projects with potential environmental ramifications.

Read more about Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in the intersection of private and public M&A strategies

Miller Thomson LLP
Year established: 1957
Number of lawyers: 1
Number of ranked lawyers: 1
Partners: Tamara Farber

Miller Thomson LLP is recognized as one of Canada’s leading national business law and litigation firms. It has 550 lawyers in more than 60 specialty practices who are well-positioned to assist domestic and international decision makers with their Canadian legal needs. The firm offers a complete range of business law, advocacy and personal legal services to corporations, financial institutions, entrepreneurs, governments, not-for-profit organizations and individuals. It has clients in virtually every sector, including banking, insurance, manufacturing, energy, agribusiness, transportation, marketing and advertising, retail, commercial real estate, construction, projects, social impact, technology, life sciences and health care and environmental services. Miller Thomson’s environmental law group helps clients in managing environmental risk, including undertaking environmental due diligence, ensuring environmental regulatory compliance, preventing and defending against regulatory prosecutions, pursuing or defending environmental civil claims and structuring transactions involving environmental risk. The team’s lawyers include legal planners, negotiators, former regulators, and advocates who have the expertise that comes with deep experience and an understanding of the complex issues that face corporate decision makers, lenders and regulators.

Read more about Miller Thomson LLP on the rise of virtual dispute resolution

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Year established: 1862
Number of lawyers: 6
Number of ranked lawyers: 1
Partners: Jennifer Fairfax, Richard J. King, Paul Morassutti, Patrick G. Welsh

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP is 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. Osler’s regulatory, environmental, Aboriginal and land (REAL) group possesses extensive knowledge and decades of accumulated experience advising clients on a broad range of regulatory, environmental, aboriginal and related land issues. The firm’s REAL lawyers advise clients on their energy, natural resource and infrastructure matters, including mining, pipelines, oil sands, offshore drilling, conventional oil and gas operations, liquefied natural gas, electricity generation and transmission, renewables, gas gathering and storage facilities, refineries and upgraders, agri-food facilities, forestry, contaminated sites, nuclear, chemical plants, and rail, transportation and port facilities.

Read more about Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in the challenges and opportunities on the way to a low carbon future

Torys LLP
Year established: 1941
Number of lawyers: 11
Number of ranked lawyers: 3
Partners: Tyson Dyck, Michael J. Fortier, Patricia D.S. Jackson, Dennis E. Mahony, David Outerbridge, John A. Terry

Torys LLP is one of Canada’s largest full-service business law firms with offices in Toronto, Montréal, Halifax, Calgary and New York. It advises clients on a wide range of transactions, including banking and debt finance, board advisory and governance, capital markets, competition and foreign investment, consumer protection, corporate restructuring, intellectual property, litigation and dispute resolution, mergers and acquisitions, private equity and tax. Torys was among the first firms in Canada to develop a dedicated environmental practice, which has evolved in close step with the rest of the firm. The firm’s environmental group is regularly part of corporate transaction teams, assisting with liability assessments and other aspects of deals where environmental and occupational health and safety (EHS) law expertise adds value. The team’s lawyers advise proponents and other corporations on the full range of EHS regulatory compliance, consumer protection, permitting and environmental/sustainability management-related matters. They also assist clients in all forms of dispute resolution with respect to administrative, civil and regulatory matters, including a substantial defence practice.