Here are Toronto’s leading property development lawyers based on Lexpert’s comprehensive yearly peer survey. Check out the complete list of the Ontario’s most recommended lawyers and law firms in the field on our latest practice area rankings.
In our survey, the practice of property development 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 lawyers
Chris Barnett is a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s real estate group. He devotes his practice to administrative and regulatory law, with a focus on municipal and planning advice and environmental approvals. Barnett specializes in providing clients in the public and private sectors with strategic advice on coordinating and addressing the various levels of approvals required for complex projects. He advises clients on a broad range of matters, including heritage issues, growth management issues, cultural heritage, parkland dedication and valuations, employment land, aggregate resource policies and ward boundary reviews. Barnett also advises large landowner groups and individual clients on development charges and cost sharing matters, environmental assessment processes and approvals and the implications of provincial policies and initiatives. He appears regularly before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and municipal councils and has appeared before the Environmental Review Tribunal. Barnett also advises clients on potential remedies in the courts, representing both the private sector and municipalities in bringing and responding to applications for judicial review of municipal and government decisions.
Robert T. Bauer heads the commercial real estate and infrastructure practices at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, where he is also a senior partner. He boasts more than 40 years of experience on high-profile and business-critical commercial real estate development and infrastructure projects, public-private partnerships, project financings and joint ventures in Canada, the US, Europe and Asia. Bauer advises clients on transformative and landmark projects, including hospitals, casinos, cross-border rail tunnels, toll roads and airport developments.
David J. Bronskill serves as a partner at Goodmans LLP. He specializes in municipal law matters for private and public sector clients in Ontario. Bronskill assists clients with planning, environmental and heritage issues, development charges and other municipal approvals. He boasts extensive experience in obtaining approvals for significant intensification projects in Toronto and redevelopment throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Bronskill regularly appears before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, municipal councils and committees regarding official plan and zoning bylaw amendments, plans of subdivision, site plan approval, development charges and variances. He has also appeared before the Conservation Review Board, Assessment Review Board, Ontario Highway Transportation Board, Divisional Court of Ontario and Ontario Court of Appeal. Bronskill is a past chair of the Trinity College Board of Trustees, current board member and former chair of the Toronto Humane Society and past board member of the Artscape Foundation.
Eric Carmona is a partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP’s real estate group. His practice focuses on commercial real estate and encompasses all aspects of real property transactions, including the purchase, sale and financing of commercial office complexes, retail shopping centres, residential apartment buildings, hotels, retirement homes, long-term residences and secured lending. Carmona has extensive experience in joint venture structuring, portfolio acquisitions, financings and restructurings, acting on behalf of lending syndicates and corporate borrowers. He also practises corporate commercial law, with an emphasis on the acquisition and privatization of public real estate enterprises and capital markets transactions. His experience has given him significant exposure to a wide variety of transactional work for private and public companies and real estate investment trusts.
Abraham Costin serves as counsel at McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s real property and planning group in Toronto. His practice covers a full range of transactions, including leasing, acquisitions, development and financing. He acts for large and small developers, pension funds and financial institutions. Costin’s practice also includes insolvency and realization work related to real property. He is a fellow and member of the board of regents of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys. Costin is also a member of the advisory board of the Georgetown Law School Advanced Commercial Leasing Institute.
Simon P. Crawford is a partner at Bennett Jones LLP. He advises real estate investors on private equity matters, fund formation, joint ventures, income trusts, purchase and sale of real estate assets and real estate companies, property development, banking and mortgage lending. He also advises on structured finance and asset securitization, corporate finance, mezzanine and participating debt structures, infrastructure, public-private partnerships, mortgage and loan servicing and enforcement and real estate issues in bankruptcy and insolvency. Crawford is among a handful of lawyers in Canada who are called upon regularly to lead and structure the country’s largest and most complex real estate bids and transactions. He has been a key advisor and strategist in developing, trading, financing and tailoring the ownership and joint venture structures for many of the Canada's landmark office, commercial, retail, sports and entertainment, infrastructure and residential projects and portfolios. He is also called upon regularly to moderate panels for the commercial real estate community. Crawford is a prolific writer and speaker on developments in real estate law and a frequent lecturer for the Law Society of Ontario for the continuing education of the real estate bar.
John C. Currie
Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Year called to the bar: 1997
John C. Currie is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, where he leads the firm’s real property and planning group. Currie has a commercial real estate practice that covers all aspects of real estate transactions, including single and multi-asset acquisitions and dispositions, large and mid-scale secured financing, securitizations, asset management and development agreements, joint ventures, operating contracts and leasing and licensing. His recent transactions include acting for lenders in the mid- and large-scale construction and permanent financings of condominium, energy, office, entertainment and gaming facilities, green energy, hydroelectric and timberland operations and multi-asset mezzanine lending.
Silvana D’Alimonte is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. She boasts 30 years of commercial real estate experience. D’Alimonte has worked on a wide variety of transactions, with an emphasis on real estate financings, joint ventures, acquisitions and dispositions of commercial real estate properties, receivership sales, security enforcement and restructurings. She is also an active author and speaker on numerous real estate matters, including loans to joint ventures, due diligence in real estate financings, and tendering in an electronic registration environment.
Patrick J. Devine
Law firm: Devine Park LLP
Year called to the bar: 1978
Patrick J. Devine is a founding partner at Devine Park LLP, Planning and Development Lawyers. He assists landowners and developers in achieving approvals for significant development and redevelopment projects. Devine works with some of the Canada’s largest developers, property owners and institutions. He boasts considerable experience at the local level and on appeals to the province’s planning court and the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. In 2017, Devine received the Ontario Bar Association Award for Excellence in Municipal Law. He is a past chair of the planning and development committee of the Board of Trade and a past president of the Toronto Chapter of Lambda Alpha, an international land economics organization. Devine is also recognized by the Law Society of Ontario as a certified specialist in municipal law (land use planning and development). He has written many articles and made many presentations to programs of the LSO and the Ontario Bar Association on various topics relating to planning and development law.
Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Year called to the bar: 2002
Tzen-Yi Goh is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Toronto office. He devotes his practice to general commercial real estate. He specializes in real estate financings, acquisitions and sales, property development and commercial leasing. Goh boasts extensive experience in the areas of syndicated financings, mortgage bond financings and public offerings and private placements of commercial mortgage-backed securities.
Bram J. Green
Law firm: Goodmans LLP
Year called to the bar: 1999
Bram J. Green is a partner at Goodmans LLP. He devotes his practice to commercial real estate, including acquisitions and divestitures, joint ventures, secured lending, condominium resort development, hospitality, renewable energy generation projects and commercial leasing. Green advises real estate investment trusts, foreign investors, pension fund advisors and many of Canada’s largest real estate development firms. He also acts for domestic and international renewable energy companies in all aspects of the development of utility scale solar and wind power projects. His recent transactions include representing Leadon Investments in its $1.1-billion acquisition of SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio from a Canadian pension fund manager and representing RioCan REIT in the formation of its urban retail and office joint venture with Allied REIT and its joint venture partners. He also represented Allied Properties REIT and Diamondcorp’s sale of the residential component of the Well to Tridel and Woodbourne and InnVest Hotels in the purchase of the Trump International Hotel and Tower.
Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Year called to the bar: 1985
Chris Huband serves as a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, where he is also co-coordinator of the firm’s real estate practice. Huband boasts more than 30 years of experience in completing commercial real estate transactions. His practice includes a wide range of real estate matters affecting all classes of real estate assets. Huband is often engaged in the purchase and sale of major real estate assets. He has significant expertise in mortgage financings, joint ventures and development projects. Huband also advises pension funds and their advisers concerning the various rules relating to the investment by pension funds in real estate. His clients include pension funds, mutual funds, life insurance companies and other institutional investors, lenders, advisers, non-resident investors and developers.
Leo F. Longo is a partner and senior member of the municipal and land use planning group at Aird & Berlis LLP. He devotes his practice to all areas of land use planning and development and municipal law, representing both private and public sector clients. Longo appears before councils, tribunals and various levels of court. He is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in municipal law (local government and land use planning and development). Longo writes and lectures and has organized several professional seminars in his area of expertise. He is the co-author of A Comprehensive Guide to the City of Toronto Act, 2006. Longo is a member of the International Municipal Lawyers Association, Lambda Alpha International Simcoe (Toronto) Chapter. He is also a member and former chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s municipal law section and the Canadian Bar Association’s national municipal law section.
N. Jane Pepino
Law firm: Aird & Berlis LLP
Year called to the bar: 1973
N. Jane Pepino is a senior partner and founder of Aird & Berlis LLP’s municipal and land use planning group. She provides advice on the statutory scheme for planning, zoning and land development throughout Ontario and on a range of municipal and provincial licensing and other regulatory matters. Her clients include provincial, regional and local governments and agencies, large development corporations, small landowners and citizen and special interest groups. Pepino regularly appears before decision-making bodies controlling land development, including local planning committees and councils, conservation authorities, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and the courts. She is a member of the Canadian Urban Institute, the International Women’s Forum of Canada, Lambda Alpha International’s Simcoe Chapter, Building Industry and Land Development Association, Architectural Conservancy of Ontario Chair’s Advisory Council and several boards, including Women’s College Hospital and the University of Toronto's Governing Council. Pepino was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1985.
Sidney H. Troister is a senior partner at Torkin Manes LLP’s commercial real estate group. He is regarded as a real estate litigation strategist and noted expert on section 50 (subdivision control under the Planning Act). Troister provides a practical mid-sized firm approach to his broad business law practice with a special focus on purchase, sale and financing of commercial real estate, Planning Act problems, mortgage fraud, real property arbitration and mediation, title insurance defence. He also provides specialized services to lawyers as counsel, strategist and creative problem solver on difficult real estate issues. Troister provides opinions and strategy regarding real estate lawyers’ negligence claims and the standard of practice of real estate lawyers. He is a past co-head of the real estate section of the Ontario Bar Admission Course. Troister is also the author of The Law of Subdivision Control in Ontario and a frequent lecturer to the bar.