The 2021 Who’s Who in Canadian Law Firms:
Serving Clients in Canada, the US, and Globally
Twenty-Five Years of Lexpert®
We are proud to announce that The 2021 Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory is the 25th anniversary edition. We are grateful to have been part of the Canadian legal community for the past quarter-century and look forward to continuing to serve its evolving needs.
We maintain a separation between editorial (which includes the surveys and rankings) and advertising. The names of all listed lawyers, which result from the survey conducted by Lexpert®, are published at no charge whether or not they or their firms purchase advertising in any of our publications.
The biographies of the ranked lawyers are purchased by the firms that choose to do so. The firm profiles are also purchased. Lawyers advertising and communicating regarding Lexpert® rankings and awards should follow their governing law societies’ rules and regulations concerning advertising, communications, and third-party rankings and awards. Compliance with these rules and regulations is the sole responsibility of lawyer and entity members of their governing law societies.
Being ranked in a Lexpert® publication one year does not guarantee that a lawyer or firm will be ranked the following year. We conduct annual surveys, and there is significant change from one year to the next in the subsequent rankings—to both individual lawyers and firms.
Canadian Legal Talent
The bull’s-eye charts and text that follow are a guide to identifying legal talent as recognized in peer surveys in support of this 2021 edition of The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory and its sister publication, The 2021 Lexpert®/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada. The survey work uses peer reviews to identify which counsel the Canadian legal profession regards as the top lawyers in various practice areas. Moreover, law firm positions in the bull’s-eye charts depend on the cumulative recognition their individual lawyers have achieved in these surveys.
More particularly, the formula for the bull’s-eye charts is as follows:
- 1.5 points for each lawyer in the “Most Frequently Recommended” tier in any of the relevant practice areas in the 2021 edition of The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory or The Lexpert®/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada;
- 0.75 points for each lawyer in the “Consistently Recommended” tier in any of the relevant practice areas in the 2021 edition of The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory;
- 0.5 points for each lawyer in the “Repeatedly Recommended” tier in any of the relevant practice areas in the 2021 edition of The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory;
If one lawyer appears in multiple practice areas, the calculation is treated as if it were for more than one lawyer.
The bull’s-eye charts here have been updated since they were first published in December 2020 in The 2021 Lexpert®/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada. This update reflects many transfers of ranked lawyers from one firm to another since that time.
The Method behind the Rankings
The identification of leading practitioners and firms is based upon comprehensive survey work across the country, which has been ongoing since 1994. The process targets lawyers acknowledged as leaders in their respective fields, lawyers prominent in professional organizations, and lawyers otherwise enjoying significant recognition from their colleagues.
Certain surveys also canvass in-house counsel. Again this year, in-house counsel were formally surveyed in the following practice areas: Banking Law; Computer & IT Law; Corporate Commercial Law; Corporate Finance & Securities; Litigation – Corporate Commercial; Litigation – Intellectual Property; Mergers & Acquisitions; and Property Development.
On our surveys, Lexpert® sets out a list of the lawyers represented in the previous year’s directories, with room for write-in votes. Lawyers on the list who garner insufficient votes are not named in the surveys in the following year, while write-ins who receive appropriate support do appear as named nominees on the following year’s surveys.
The surveying does not proceed by way of random, unsolicited mailings. Lexpert® follows up on unanswered surveys and conducts personal interviews with senior members of the profession.
These methods have produced a consistently high response rate. In preparation for this edition, Lexpert® made 17,240 requests for completed surveys from lawyers at law firms, and 6,574 additional requests were sent to corporate counsel. We received 13,612 completed surveys from law firm practitioners representing a response rate of 79.0 per cent. Our response rate from corporate counsel was 1.3 per cent.
An Evolving Approach
In keeping with extensive consultations conducted with stakeholders over the past years, Lexpert® revises certain of the practice groups embraced by its various rankings to accord with the realities of an evolving legal market. Accordingly, the text that goes with each chart has at its outset a listing of the practice groups included in the surveys for the particular ranking.
It is important to remember that these changes reflect the market as it is today. Our rankings do change and evolve, year after year.
Lexpert® will continue with its consultations on an ongoing basis in 2021, and beyond, to ensure that the bull’s-eye charts continue to reflect an accurate picture of the legal marketplace.
There are also elements of editorial discretion applied to the rankings and the bull’s-eye charts. This is applied in a principled approach, with tested market knowledge. So, for example:
If there have been several lawyers who have made lateral moves from a firm, notwithstanding that they were individually ranked at the time of the surveys, we have updated the overall firm results in the bull’s-eye charts to reflect the new situation. Also, if we have been informed that someone has retired, we remove their name from the relevant rankings.
Discretion is applied in determining the levels of ranking among Most Frequently, Consistently, and Repeatedly Recommended—we attempt to draw the lines between identifiable clusters within the vote numbers. Every year there seem to be new competitors who are in some cases tied with individual lawyers at established firms.
New for 2021
Vancouver has attracted several major technology firms and has increasingly become a major centre for the tech industry both in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. In recognition of this burgeoning sector and the lawyers working within it, for the first time we’ve included a bull’s eye for this market. Here at Lexpert®, we are always looking for new ways of showcasing legal talent and leading firms.
- Asset Securitization
- Commodity Tax/Customs
- Competition Law
- Corporate Commercial Law
- Corporate Finance & Securities
- Corporate Tax
- Derivative Instruments
- Energy (Electricity)
- Energy (Oil & Gas)
- Insolvency & Financial Restructuring
- Pensions & Employee Benefits
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Project Finance
The intellectual property (IP) market focuses on Toronto, Ottawa and Montréal, again reflecting the economic strength of the triangle and the significance of the location of the federal patent and trade-mark offices in the nation’s capital.