Toronto’s best mergers and acquisition lawyers in 2021

Lexpert reveals Toronto's best M&A lawyers based on our yearly peer survey
Toronto’s best mergers and acquisition lawyers in 2021

Lexpert reveals Toronto’s best mergers and acquisitions lawyers based on our yearly comprehensive peer review. Check out the full roster of Ontario’s most recommended M&A lawyers and law firms on our practice area rankings.

Mergers and acquisitions is the branch of corporate law dealing with the purchase of one company by another or the blending of two companies into a new entity.

Most frequently recommended mergers and acquisitions lawyers

Aaron Atkinson

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the bar: 2001

Aaron Atkinson is a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. He specializes in public and private mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and securities and corporate governance. Atkinson advises Canadian and international businesses in a wide range of industries, including mining, life sciences and financial services. He has also advised clients in various high-profile domestic and cross-border cases, including unsolicited takeover bids and proxy contests, financing transactions, negotiated acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships. Atkinson is well-versed in commercial governance, which is why he is called to advise on transactional matters, internal investigations and complex governance issues.

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William J. Braithwaite

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the bar: 1980

William J. Braithwaite is a senior counsel at Stikeman Elliott LLP. He was the firm’s chair from 2012 to 2018 and is former head of the corporate group in Toronto. He also previously served on the firm’s partnership board and executive committee. Braithwaite specializes in mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance. He has acted as counsel to major Canadian corporations, boards of directors and institutional shareholders and various governments and regulatory authorities. He is also a special lecturer in Osgoode Hall Law School’s part-time LLM program. Braithwaite has participated in numerous panels and conferences on corporate and securities law. He also serves as chairman of the board of directors of Computershare Trust Company of Canada.

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John J. Ciardullo

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the bar: 1997

John J. Ciardullo is a partner and head of the corporate group at Stikeman Elliott LLP. He is also the former head of the firm’s capital markets and public mergers and acquisitions group. Ciardullo boasts significant experience in a wide range of corporate and securities transactions, with a focus on complex M&A transactions, proxy contests and contested meetings and corporate finance transactions. He counsels clients on a wide variety of matters, including transaction structuring, acquisition and defense strategy and compliance with fiduciary duties. Ciardullo is a former member of the securities advisory committee to the Ontario Securities Commission.

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Matthew Cockburn

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the bar: 1995

Matthew Cockburn is a partner at Torys LLP. He practises corporate and securities law, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions and private equity. Cockburn acts for a wide variety of private equity firms and pension funds, advising on all aspects of their investment transactions. He has also advised on public takeover bids, plans of arrangement, and private acquisitions and divestitures. Cockburn has significant experience in the corporate finance area, advising issuers and underwriters on public and private offerings of debt and equity securities.

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John E. Emanoilidis

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the bar: 1999

John E. Emanoilidis is a partner and co-head of the mergers and acquisition practice at Torys LLP. He specializes in corporate, commercial and securities law, with an emphasis on M&A and corporate finance. Emanoilidis advises companies, directors and shareholders on corporate governance and securities compliance matters. He also boasts significant experience advising domestic and foreign acquirors, selling shareholders and investment banks in all aspects of public and private M&A, including hostile takeover bids, strategic review processes, proxy contests, going-private transactions, private equity transactions and negotiated acquisitions. Emanoilidis has extensive experience in corporate finance transactions, representing issuers, underwriters and investors in domestic and international debt and equity public offerings and private placements. He also provides ongoing advice to public companies on their disclosure, corporate governance and other corporate and securities law obligations.

Read more about Torys LLP in the private equity market in 2021

Jeremy D. Fraiberg

Law firm: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Year called to the bar: 2000

Jeremy D. Fraiberg is a partner Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, where he chairs the mergers and acquisitions group. Fraiberg has acted for several public and private companies, private equity firms and investment banks on a range of acquisitions, securities offerings and other corporate transactions. He routinely represents investment dealers on fairness opinions, valuations and complex financial advisory assignments. Fraiberg has also taught at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law on contested mergers and proxy contests. He has spoken and written about a range of legal issues.

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Michael Gans

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the bar: 1996

Michael Gans is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He devotes his practice to international inbound and domestic mergers and acquisitions. Gans has advised on many of the country’s highest-profile M&A transactions. He frequently acts for financial sponsors in both platform and roll-up transactions. Gans also regularly acts for special committees of boards in connection with internal investigations and related party transactions. Recent examples of his experience include advising The Stars Group on its combination with Flutter Entertainment, Cerberus on its acquisition of Dorel Industries and Danaher Corporation on several Canadian acquisitions. Gans also regularly acts for special committees and boards in connection with corporate governance matters, internal investigations and related party transactions.

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Stephen H. Halperin

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the bar: 1976 (QC); 1979 (AB); 1987 (ON)

Stephen H. Halperin currently serves a counsel for Goodmans LLP after more than 30 years as a partner. He was also co-chair of the firm’s corporate and securities group. Halperin specializes in transactional corporate and securities law, domestic and international corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance, including activist shareholders matters. Halperin was lead counsel for Pan-Canadian Investors Committee for Third Party Asset-Backed Commercial Paper (ABCP) Restructuring from 2007 to 2009.

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Jonathan Lampe

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the bar: 1984

Jonathan Lampe is a partner at Goodmans LLP, where he is also past co-chair of the corporate and securities group and member of the executive committee. He advises domestic and international clients on mergers and acquisitions, strategic relationships, financings, dissident shareholder activities, governance and regulatory matters and investigations. Lampe also advises entrepreneurial families and their family offices on strategic and structural matters. His clients include Canadian and international publicly listed companies, family offices, pension funds and private equity investors. He has also represented Ontario Securities Commission staff and market participants in enforcement and transactional regulatory proceedings. Lampe is a former Ontario Securities Commission general counsel, past chair of the OSC securities advisory committee and past member of OSC enforcement advisory committee.

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Jeffrey R. Lloyd

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the bar: 1991

Jeffrey R. Lloyd is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He specializes in mergers and acquisitions, public company advisory matters and capital markets transactions. Lloyd advises purchasers, target companies and vendors on public and private M&A transactions. He has extensive experience in both negotiated and unsolicited transactions. Lloyd also advises public companies on corporate governance, shareholder activism and securities law matters and in connection with public offerings of equity and debt securities. He boasts extensive experience in a wide range of industries, including mining, real estate, financial services, power generation and retail and consumer products.

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Neill I. May

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the bar: 1992

Neill I. May is a partner Goodmans LLP, where is also the co-chair of corporate securities group and a member of the executive committee. May boasts extensive experience in corporate and securities law, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, governance and proxy matters, domestic and cross-border public and private financings, private equity and business restructurings. May is also actively involved in mining and Asian market practice areas.

Vincent A. Mercier

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP
Year called to the bar: 1990

Vincent A. Mercier is a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. He specializes in mergers and acquisitions, where has acted for many of Canada’s most important transactions. Mercier represents acquirers, targets, controlling shareholders and committees of independent directors in public company acquisitions, both negotiated and hostile. He also represents strategic and private equity buyers in private M&A transactions and has extensive experience in cross-border transactions. Mercier is well-versed in various industries, including financial services, communications and media, technology, mining and energy. He advises public company boards on activism defence and other corporate governance issues.

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J. Alexander Moore

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1998 (ON); 2001 (California)

J. Alexander Moore is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He devotes his practice to mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and corporate governance. Moore advises Canadian and international clients on public and private M&A transactions and has experience in both negotiated and unsolicited transactions. He also advises issuers on equity and debt financings, public company corporate governance and securities law matters. Moore has represented boards and shareholders in many shareholder activism matters and played a central role in some of Canada’s most high-profile proxy contests. His extensive experience in corporate governance matters provides him with valuable insight as a key member of the firm’s corporate governance practice. Moore is a fellow of the American College of Governance Counsel. He has been a lecturer and adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and has taught courses on his fields of practice.

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

Patricia L. Olasker

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the bar: 1979

Patricia L. Olasker is a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. She acts on many of Canada’s most complex mergers and acquisitions and capital markets transactions. Olasker has extensive experience advising parties on both sides of proxy contests and shareholder activism issues. She also advises boards of directors, special committees and activist shareholders on corporate governance and transaction-specific matters. Olasker’s practice also involves public market derivatives, the development of innovative structured debt and equity products and multijurisdictional disclosure system offerings of equity and debt. Olasker is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, where she teaches advanced M&A and cannabis law. She is also a former adviser to the chair of the Ontario Securities Commission and past chair of its securities advisory committee. Olasker serves as vice-chair of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research, president of the Osgoode Hall Law School Alumni Association and vice-chair of the Royal Ontario Museum Foundation board.

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Emmanuel Pressman

Law firm: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Year called to the bar: 1998

Emmanuel Pressman is a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, where he is also chair of the corporate department and former head of the mergers and acquisitions group. He represents public and private companies, private equity sponsors, special committees, boards of directors and financial advisers involved in takeover bids, negotiated and contested M&A, joint ventures and a range of corporate transactions and restructurings. Pressman’s clients include Constellation Brands, Magna International, Blackstone, TPG Capital, KingSett Capital, Vector Capital, Fairfax Financial, Walter Energy, The ADT Corporation and Shoppers Drug Mart.

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Brian M. Pukier

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the bar: 1994

Brian M. Pukier is a partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP’s mergers and acquisitions group, which he previously headed. He also serves on the management committee in the Toronto office. Pukier specializes in cross-border M&A, private equity investments, corporate finance transactions, complex corporate reorganizations and public policy. He boasts significant experience in counselling senior management and the boards of directors of leading public and private corporations. Pukier is a member of the Ontario Bar Association, the Canadian Bar Association and the International Bar Association. He is also on the board of directors of Computershare Trust Company of Canada. Pukier is a frequent speaker and writer on M&A and securities regulatory topics.

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Simon A. Romano

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the bar: 1989

Simon A. Romano serves as partner in the capital markets and mergers and acquisitions groups at Stikeman Elliott LLP. He was also a former member of the management committee in the Toronto office. His practice focuses on securities, public and private mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance. Romano advises public companies, financial institutions, underwriters, investment funds, private equity funds, real estate investment trusts and income trusts, alternative trading systems and regulatory and self-regulatory organizations. He also acts on corporate governance and executive compensation matters. Romano was instrumental in the structure and launch of special purpose acquisition companies in Canada. He was previously seconded to the Ontario Securities Commission as special counsel and is a former member of its securities advisory committee. He also co-authored the first book on Canadian income funds and is a former clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada.

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Jeffrey Singer

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the bar: 1994 (ON); 1994 (California)

Jeffrey Singer is the managing partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP’s Toronto office and a member of its executive committee and partnership board. He devotes his practice to domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and private equity-related transactions. Singer previously served on the securities advisory committee to the Ontario Securities Commission. He is also the Canadian contributing editor to the International Finance and Law Review and Federated Press’ Corporate Finance and Innovative Financing publications. Singer has written several articles about domestic and cross-border M&A, capital markets, private equity and sovereign wealth funds and income funds and REITs. He has spoken domestically and internationally on these subjects. He has also lectured on these topics at the University of Toronto Law School, Osgoode Hall Law School, Windsor Law School and the Law Society of Ontario.

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Edward J. Waitzer

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the bar: 1978 (ON); 1985 (New York)

Edward Waitzer is a former partner of Stikeman Elliott LLP but continues his relationship with the firm as an independent law practitioner. He was chair of the firm from 1999 to 2006. His practice focuses on complex business transactions and advising clients in respect of various public policy and governance matters. Waitzer has served as a director of numerous corporations and community organizations and writes and speaks extensively on a wide range of legal and public policy issues. He is also a contributing editor on the advisory boards of various publications. Waitzer was chair of the Strategy Working Party, which restructured the International Accounting Standards Board. He also served as a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Task Force on Standard Setting, public director of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, member of the Independent Review Panel on the Comptrollership Function in Canada, chair of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, vice-chair of Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) and as president of the Canada-Chile Business Council. Waitzer is a professor and holds the Jarislowsky Dimma Mooney Chair in Corporate Governance at Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business at York University. He is also the director of the Hennick Centre for Business and Law.

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David E. Woollcombe

Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Year called to the bar: 1991

David E. Woollcombe is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Toronto office. He focuses on mergers and acquisitions and has advised many Canadian and international businesses and private equity firms on acquisition, divestiture, and reorganization transactions. He has also represented boards of directors and dissidents on proxy fights, governance, and contested matters. Woollcombe has significant experience in capital markets matters and has acted for issuers and investment dealers in a wide variety of cross-border and domestic public offerings and private placements. He regularly advises on joint ventures and related shareholders agreements across a broad range of industries, including natural resources, financial services, technology, consumer products, media and telecom.

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