Toronto's top professional liability lawyers in 2021

These are Toronto's top professional liability lawyers based on the results of Lexpert’s annual peer survey
Toronto's top professional liability lawyers in 2021

These are Toronto’s top professional liability lawyers based on the results of Lexpert’s annual peer survey. The complete list of Ontario’s most recommended professional liability lawyers and law firms can be accessed on our practice area rankings.

In our survey, professional liability practice covers the provision of advice and representation in civil proceedings alleging damages resulting from the negligent provision of professional services. The scope of this area encompasses different professionals, including lawyers, notaries, insurance agents and brokers, real estate professionals, accountants, architects and engineers, directors and officers, actuaries and stockbrokers. Lexpert has a separate survey for medical negligence.

Most frequently recommended professional liability lawyers

Tom Curry

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the bar: 1986

Tom Curry is the managing partner at Lenczner Slaght. He is recognized as one of the most experienced trial and appellate advocates in Canada. Curry boasts expertise in high-profile commercial litigation, class actions, arbitrations, business disputes, administrative law, judicial review, intellectual property, competition and professional liability cases. He is certified as a specialist in civil litigation by the Law Society of Ontario. Curry is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He is a regular speaker on a wide variety of subjects relating to trial practice and substantive law. Curry was recently the recipient of the prestigious Law Society Medal for his exceptional career achievement and exemplary contribution to the profession.

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Brian J. Gover

Law firm: Stockwoods LLP

Year called to the bar: 1983

Brian J. Gover serves as a partner at Stockwoods LLP. He has extensive experience in both federal and provincial commissions of inquiry and related processes. His clients include individuals, corporations, regulators and government agencies. Gover is a former executive legal officer to Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice. He is regularly retained to act for judges facing disciplinary proceedings. Since 2013, Gover has assisted the judges tasked with administering the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, Canada's largest and most complex class action settlement. His extensive teaching experience includes serving as an adjunct professor at Western and Osgoode Hall Law School. Gover is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a fellow and director of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and was president of The Advocates’ Society from 2018 to 2019.

Peter Griffin

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the bar: 1980

Peter Griffin is a founding partner at Lenczner Slaght. He boasts extensive experience in complex cross-border litigation, especially in relation to class proceedings and insolvency and restructuring. Griffin regularly advises the boards of national and multinational companies. He also represents clients in arbitration and alternative dispute resolution proceedings and acts as an arbitrator in commercial disputes. Griffin is a past president of The Advocates’ Society. He is also a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and past chair of its Ontario Province Committee. He is constantly sought out as an expert speaker on advocacy, shareholder disputes, class actions, professional liability and insolvency and restructuring.

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Consistently recommended professional liability lawyers

Geoffrey D.E. Adair

Law firm: Adair Goldblatt Bieber LLP

Year called to the bar: 1969

Geoffrey D.E. Adair is a partner at Adair Goldblatt Bieber LLP. He is one of Canada’s most experienced trial and appellate lawyers, having tried more than 250 jury and non-jury cases to verdict. He had also argued over 100 appeals in the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Adair devotes his practice to commercial litigation, commercial insurance litigation, and directors’ and officers’ liability and major tort cases, including products liability and professional negligence matters. He is the author of critically acclaimed advocacy text On Trial (Butterworths, second edition, 2004) and a contributing editor to Ontario Courtroom Procedure and a frequent lecturer to the profession.

John Adair

Law firm: Adair Goldblatt Bieber LLP

Year called to the bar: 2006

John Adair is a partner at Adair Goldblatt Bieber LLP. He devotes his practice to commercial litigation, with a focus on partnership, contractual and estate disputes. Adair regularly represents clients in directors’ and officers’ liability claims, enforcement of foreign judgments and professional liability matters. He has also written and spoken on numerous occasions on advocacy-related topics and has won numerous awards for his written articles. Adair previously taught trial advocacy at both the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School. 

Sarit E. Batner

Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Year called to the bar: 2000

Sarit E. Batner is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Toronto office and a member of the firm’s board of partners. She specializes in trial and appellate litigation and arbitration at all levels of Canadian courts, with a focus on complex commercial litigation. Batner boasts extensive experience as lead counsel in cases involving shareholders’ rights, professional negligence, breaches of fiduciary duties, breaches of contract and taxation. She has acted in a wide variety of proceedings for physicians, engineers, accountants and lawyers. Her clients also include major airlines, major information technology services providers, research hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and major oil and gas companies. Batner is frequent writer and speaker on matters of substantive law, trial and appellate advocacy and issues affecting women and young professionals.

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Sheila R. Block

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the bar: 1974

Sheila R. Block is a partner and the chair of the litigation and dispute resolution practice at Torys LLP. She is a senior trial and appellate counsel with a broad civil litigation practice, which includes corporate, commercial and securities litigation, intellectual protection, defamation and administrative law. Block has appeared as counsel on a wide range of high-profile cases before all levels of court in Canada and in international arbitrations and other tribunals. She has also spoken and written extensively on advocacy and civil litigation and has taught advocacy in Canada, the US, England, Scotland, New Zealand and El Salvador.

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Nina Bombier

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the bar: 1999

Nina Bombier is a partner at Lenczner Slaght. Her broad litigation practice encompasses commercial litigation, professional negligence and regulatory matters, insurance litigation and public law. Bombier has extensive trial experience in complex commercial and regulatory cases, in addition to many medical malpractice actions. She has appeared as counsel before all levels of court in Ontario, the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada. Bombier regularly appears before administrative tribunals and boards, both as a prosecutor and as defence counsel on behalf of professional members. She also regularly speaks at continuing legal education conferences and has taught trial advocacy at Osgoode Hall Law School.

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Darryl A. Cruz

Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Year called to the bar: 1992

Darryl A. Cruz is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Toronto. From 2007 to 2011, he served as national practice group leader for litigation and was a member of the firm’s leadership team. Cruz maintains a general litigation practice, with an emphasis on commercial and professional liability issues. He has appeared as counsel at all levels of court in Ontario and in the Supreme Court of Canada. Cruz has tried jury and non-jury cases involving all areas of law, including contract law, insurance, tax, defamation, environmental, professional negligence and employment. He regularly represents physicians in medical negligence cases. Cruz is a member of the CBA, ABA and Medico-Legal Society of Toronto.

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Rebecca Jones

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the bar: 2003

Rebecca Jones is a partner at Lenczner Slaght. She leads the leads the public law practice group and co-chairs the associate program. Jones is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer, who represents private and public sector clients in public law proceedings, commercial disputes, class actions and professional liability matters. Jones’ public law practice includes judicial reviews, public inquiries, integrity investigations, constitutional and regulatory proceedings and expropriation disputes. Her commercial and class action practice covers a range of industries, including natural resources, transportation and professional services. In her professional liability practice, Jones has acted for professionals and for regulatory colleges and has been retained to act as independent counsel. She is also retained to conduct complex workplace investigations. Jones appears before all levels of court in Ontario and as counsel in commercial arbitrations. She is a trusted advisor who provides strategic advice to clients facing complex legal problems. Jones is also a regular speaker on numerous subjects, including trial practice and professional liability and regulation.

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Risa M. Kirshblum

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the bar: 1996

Risa M. Kirshblum is a partner at Lenczner Slaght. She represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a broad range of litigation matters. A significant portion of her practice is focused on professional liability, medical negligence and health care law. Kirshblum acts as prosecutor, defence counsel and independent legal counsel in the administrative law context. She frequently presents in continuing legal education programs for organizations such as the Law Society of Ontario and The Advocates’ Society. Kirshblum has also presented in continuing education programs for a variety of medical organizations.

Paul H. Le Vay

Law firm: Stockwoods LLP

Year called to the bar: 1988

Paul H. Le Vay is partner at Stockwoods LLP. His practice includes corporate, commercial and securities litigation, regulatory and public law, professional liability and regulation, claims against directors and officers and employment litigation. Le Vay is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He is also an international member of the Commercial Bar Association (UK). Le Vay is bilingual and argues cases in English and French before all levels of courts and tribunals, including the Ontario Securities Commission. He is a former trustee of the Law Foundation of Ontario, past president of l'Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario and past director of The Advocates’ Society. Le Vay is a frequent speaker and author in his areas of practice.

Eli S. Lederman

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the bar: 2002

Eli S. Lederman is a partner at Lenczner Slaght. His practice covers a broad range of complex commercial litigation matters, including securities law, class actions, commercial contracts, oppression and other shareholder litigation. Lederman regularly acts for directors and officers of private and public corporations. He also advises boards and their committees on governance and litigation matters. Lederman has extensive trial experience in commercial litigation and in medical malpractice actions and acts as counsel in commercial arbitrations. He has appeared as lead counsel at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Lederman often represents physicians faced with legal difficulties related to medical practice, appearing frequently before the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. He is also a regular speaker in continuing legal education programs particularly on issues relating to contractual disputes, securities law and trial advocacy.

Jeffrey S. Leon

Law firm: Bennett Jones LLP

Year called to the bar: 1979

Jeffrey S. Leon is a trial lawyer, arbitrator, mediator and partner at Bennett Jones LLP’s litigation department. He devotes his practice to general domestic, international and cross-border litigation, with a focus on business litigation. Leon has been practicing for 40 years and has extensive trial and appellate experience. He has appeared before courts and arbitration tribunals both domestic and international and serves as a neutral in mediations and arbitrations. Leon is also a regular author, speaker and panelist. He is a past president of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Leon has been a recipient of various awards for his excellence in civil litigation and his contributions to the legal profession.

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Matthew B. Lerner

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the bar: 2008

Matthew B. Lerner serves as a partner at Lenczner Slaght. He has a litigation practice focused on complex commercial litigation, including infrastructure and real estate disputes and insolvency matters. Lerner regularly acts for parties involved in shareholder or partnership disputes, commercial arbitration and in prosecuting or defending civil fraud claims. He has also acted on behalf of directors and officers in the defence of large multi-jurisdiction class actions. Lerner is routinely involved in a variety of insolvency proceedings, acting for the court-appointed officer or creditors. He has appeared as lead counsel at all levels of court in Ontario, administrative tribunals and private arbitrations. His clients span a wide range of industries, including individual entrepreneurs, large real estate developers and public companies in the information and technology sector. Lerner is also the chair of the firm’s Moot in Legal Ethics and Professionalism, which is held annually for law students at Western Law.

William C. McDowell

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the Bar: 1988

William C. McDowell is a partner at Lenczner Slaght. He appears in commercial litigation, libel and public law cases. McDowell has represented clients in many landmark cases, most notably in the Supreme Court of Canada. He was Canada’s associate deputy minister of justice from 2005 to 2008 and was responsible for civil litigation, national security and issues involving central agencies. McDowell has acted for the chief of police in Toronto, the chief adjudicator of the Independent Assessment Process of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and served as amicus to the Superior Court in relation to Aboriginal land occupations in Brantford. He was named chief commission counsel to the Long-Term Care Homes Inquiry in August 2017.

Peter Osborne

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the bar: 1992

Peter Osborne is a partner at Lenczner Slaght. He has a broad civil litigation and administrative law practice encompassing cross-border commercial disputes, complex cross-border restructuring and insolvency cases, class actions and securities matters, professional malpractice litigation and disciplinary proceedings. Osborne was counsel to the government of Canada in the litigation and related insolvency proceedings around the tobacco smuggling, which yielded the largest civil settlement in Canadian history. He also advises boards of directors of public and private companies and special committees on governance, cross-border litigation and insolvency proceedings. Osborne has helped oversee the restructuring of some of Canada’s largest companies. He is also the chair of The Advocates’ Society Modern Advocacy Task Force, which seeks to advance the reform of the Canadian justice system in light of COVID-19.

Terrence J. O’Sullivan

Law firm: Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP

Year called to the bar: 1973

Terrence J. O’Sullivan serves as a partner at Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP. He devotes his practice to dispute resolution and is frequently retained as sole arbitrator, party nominee, chair and appointed independent fact-finder in arbitrations and mediations involving important commercial matters, often of an international nature. O’Sullivan has a broad commercial litigation practice, with expertise in business-related litigation, including contract disputes, shareholder disputes, oppression remedies and securities litigation. He has represented clients before all levels of Ontario courts, the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada. O’Sullivan is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb) and past president of The Advocates’ Society of Ontario. O’Sullivan is an active member of the legal profession, having published more than 70 papers on diverse litigation topics. He was a co-author of the Civil Justice Review volumes one and two and is former chair of the joint committee on court reform of the province of Ontario. O’Sullivan is a recipient of the Law Society of Ontario’s Medal for his outstanding contribution to the legal profession and is a recipient of the Gold Key Award for Achievement from the Osgoode Hall Law School Alumni Association.

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Paul J. Pape

Law firm: Pape Chaudhury LLP

Year called to the bar: 1971

Paul J. Pape is a barrister and solicitor at Pape Chaudhury LLP. He has more than 45 years of experience as both trial and appellate counsel and has acted in many cases of significance. His litigation practice focuses on complex commercial, securities, class action, professional negligence and administrative matters, with special emphasis on appeals in these and other areas.

Linda M. Plumpton

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the bar: 1996

Linda M. Plumpton is the chair of the litigation and dispute resolution, and competition and antitrust practices at Torys LLP, where she is also a partner. Plumpton focuses on competition litigation, class action defence, corporate and commercial disputes and securities litigation. She also practises public, constitutional and employment law. Plumpton has appeared as counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada, all levels of court in Ontario, the Federal Court, and before the Competition Tribunal and the Ontario Securities Commission. Plumpton is a member of the Antirust Section of the American Bar Association, the Canadian Bar Association and The Advocates’ Society. She has taught advocacy and lectured on class actions and competition law issues at the Osgoode Hall Law School, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, University of Toronto Faculty of Law and at programs run by The Advocates’ Society and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.

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Anne E. Posno

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the bar: 1993

Anne E. Posno serves as counsel at Lenczner Slaght. She boasts expertise in cases involving estates litigation, medical negligence, professional negligence and commercial disputes, especially in real estate, fraud and directors’ and officers’ liability. Posno regularly appears before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Toronto Estates Court, Toronto Commercial List, Ontario Court of Appeal, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the Federal Court, private arbitrations,and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Posno is also a certified Associate Member of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (STEP).

Luisa Ritacca

Law firm: Stockwoods LLP

Year called to the bar: 2001

Luisa Ritacca has been a partner at Stockwoods LLP since 2006 and a member of the firm’s management committee since 2008. In 2018, she became the firm’s managing partner. Her practice encompasses a wide variety of areas, including administrative law and civil and commercial litigation. Ritacca received an order-in-council appointment as a part-time member of the Licence Appeal Tribunal in 2016. She also serves as counsel for the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports and has appeared on several anti-doping cases over the last several years. Ritacca acts for students facing academic and non-academic-related charges at secondary and post-secondary institutions throughout Ontario. She also acts as independent legal counsel for several regulated health colleges and administrative tribunals throughout the province. In this role, she provides substantive and procedural advice during hearings and ongoing training for adjudicators. Ritacca was appointed by former Chief Justice Warren Winkler to act as court monitor in the administration of two pan-Canadian settlements involving the tainted blood scandal and the settlement involving water contamination in Walkerton, Ontario.

Matthew Sammon

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the bar: 2002

Matthew Sammon is a partner at Lenczner Slaght. He boasts extensive litigation experience across a broad range of areas, including complex corporate and commercial litigation, employment, and professional liability and medical malpractice cases. Sammon regularly conducts trials, regulatory hearings and arbitral proceedings. His clients include large and mid-sized corporations across a wide range of sectors such as financial services, banking, telecommunications, retail, health care, manufacturing, hospitality, and oil and gas. Sammon also acts regularly for executives and other individuals in civil and regulatory disputes. He has deep experience in professional regulation and medical malpractice litigation.

Dena Varah

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the bar: 2004

Dena Varah is a partner at Lenczner Slaght. Her practice has broad scope, encompassing corporate and commercial litigation, shareholder disputes and oppression claims, contract issues, professional negligence cases, class action defences, employment and wrongful dismissal matters and administrative and insurance law. Varah has often appeared in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Ontario Court of Appeal and before administrative tribunals and in private arbitrations. Prior to joining the firm, she clerked for the judges of the Court of Appeal. Varah has also taught in continuing legal education programs presented by the Law Society of Ontario. She has mentored law students at the University of Toronto and taught legal ethics at the school's bridge week. In addition, Varah has led courses in medical ethics for the university’s Faculty of Medicine and is a co-chair at the University of Toronto Academic Tribunal.

Paul-Erik Veel

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the bar: 2010

Paul-Erik Veel serves as a partner at Lenczner Slaght. His commercial litigation practice focuses on class actions, competition law, intellectual property matters, complex commercial disputes and professional liability. Veel’s clients include major technology companies, financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies and franchisors. He has extensive trial experience, having acted as counsel in trials involving a number of industries and subject-matters, including a dispute over the implementation of a software package, intellectual property matters relating to pharmaceutical products and technology patents, a misleading advertising case and several contractual disputes. He has appeared repeatedly before both the Supreme Court of Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal. Veel has extensive experience in regulatory and public law proceedings, having represented clients in professional discipline committee proceedings, commissions of inquiry and before various administrative tribunals. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

Mark Veneziano

Law firm: Lenczner Slaght

Year called to the bar: 1998

Mark Veneziano is a partner at Lenczner Slaght. He is an expert trial lawyer, having conducted dozens of trials and arbitrations as lead counsel. His practice is devoted to commercial and civil litigation, professional liability, shareholder disputes, insurance coverage, securities, construction and real estate law. Veneziano’s clients range from corporations and physicians to stockbrokers and banks. He also regularly acts as lead counsel in commercial arbitrations. Veneziano has significant experience in professional regulation and appears frequently before the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and other administrative and regulatory tribunals. He has also taught trial advocacy at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law and is a frequent instructor and speaker at sessions sponsored by The Advocates’ Society and various organizations.