The Top 25 Most Influential 2017 - Corporate-Commercial

  • Subtitle: Cover Story
Written by  Tim Wilbur and Mallory Hendry Posted Date: August 8, 2017


Poonam Puri Professor, Osgoode Law School Toronto

This year, Poonam Puri founded the Investor Protection Clinic with FAIR Canada. The clinic is the first of its kind in Canada and set to launch this fall. With support from the Law Foundation of Ontario and several Bay Street firms, the clinic will provide pro bono advice to Canadians who have lost their retirement savings due to a scam but cannot afford to hire a lawyer. It will also serve as a “living lab” allowing for data collection and research on the plight of retail investors in Canada. Puri is also currently conducting research on parent company liability for the actions of their foreign subsidiaries, made possible by a Trudeau Foundation fellowship she was awarded last year. Puri, with Osgoode J.D. research assistants, has compiled the first ever independent academic study of statutory secondary market civil liability class actions in Canada and provides recommendations for reform. Puri expects to launch the database, modelled after the Stanford Securities Class Actions Database, in the fall. She also recently released a book she co-authored, Back from the Brink: Lessons from the Canadian Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Crisis.

What voters had to say:

“She is a pioneer in advocating women’s participation in the legal world.”

“Great work on investor protection and much needed — lots of work needs to be done here. Too many investors fall victim to unscrupulous advisors.”

“Professor Puri is an incredible mentor. She really goes all the way to make sure you learn and provides a great practical lawyering perspective.”

Andre Dufour Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais Montreal

Recently elected Montreal regional managing partner of BLG, André Dufour advises local, national and international companies and financial institutions with respect to strategic initiatives, commercial activities and regulatory matters. A member of the Corporate Commercial, International and Mergers & Acquisitions Groups, he has been involved in a broad range of transactions, including acquisitions, mergers, corporate reorganizations, private equity and venture capital financings, technology transfers and joint ventures. Dufour was the lead lawyer on multiple recent transactions including the acquisition by Famar S.A. of operations of Bayer in the Province of Quebec. He also led the Servier joint venture last year and transactions for Courchesne Larose, handled in 2016 and 2017. Last year, Dufour was nominated as senior vice chairman of the International Bar Association M&A committee, vice president of the Leger Foundation Executive Committee, member of the Montreal Fine Arts Museum acquisitions committee and member of the board of the Maisonneuve Rosemont Hospital Foundation.

What voters had to say:

“He embodies with class what a true professional should be by his involvement with his firm, his clients and the community.”

Brian Facey Partner, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP Toronto

Brian Facey is a leader in the field of competition law, an area of increasing importance for business in Canada and the world. He has written two treatises in this area, as well as a groundbreaking 2017 policy paper for the C.D. Howe Institute. Facey has testified before the Canadian Senate and parliamentary committees on important legal matters, and his work and views are repeatedly cited by Canadian courts and scholars. In 2016, Facey’s work on behalf of Superior Plus Corp. in its offer to acquire Canexus Corporation marked the beginning of a key national trend allowing mergers that create Canadian champions to proceed more easily. In the last year, he has also advised on many industry-changing mega-mergers, including Bell Canada in its acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. Facey is a member of the Blakes executive committee and is past chairman of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Competition Law Section. He is also chairman of the Blakes competition group, which was awarded Competition Law Firm of the Year in 2016 by Chambers Canada.

What voters had to say:

“Outstanding leader in his field and in the community.”

“Thoughtful, strategic, relentless . . . all on behalf of his clients. That’s what drives him and makes him stand out from a remarkable group of lawyers.”

“As congenial and honourable as he is highly gifted as a lawyer.”

“An outstanding lawyer and person.”

Jean-Francois Gagnon CEO, Langlois Lawyers Montreal

In addition to acting as chief executive officer of one of Quebec's top business law firms, Jean-François Gagnon has been active in high-profile commercial litigation cases. He had an integral role in the first case heard by the Quebec Court of Appeal since the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Progressive Homes Ltd. v. Lombard General Insurance Co. of Canada concerning the extent of the exclusion regarding work performed by the insured. He also acted as solicitor of Fond des architectes in connection with the claims presented by a significant number of condominium unions due to an alleged design defect. The appeals involve about a dozen architectural firms. Gagnon regularly advises the province's leading insurers on insurance law matters and regulatory compliance and on the legality and distribution of proposed insurance products.

What voters had to say:

“A lawyer we can trust.”

“Outstanding lawyer!”

“Excellent service. Clever. Put the needs of the clients first.”

Patricia Olasker Partner, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP Toronto

Patricia Olasker plays a significant role in the development of Canadian securities law and policy, working both publicly and behind the scenes with securities regulators. In 2016, her critiques of the proposed Capital Markets Act provoked an industry-wide response, causing industry participants, academics and regulators to focus on the implications of the legislation and inspiring legislators to design a more consultative process. She is an influential commentator on shareholder activism and regulatory developments in the media and with relevant authorities. In the last year and a half, Olasker has acted in a number of transactions including acting as Canadian counsel in the high-profile acquisition of the Rexall pharmacy chain by U.S.-based health-care services provider McKesson Corp. She recently joined the board of governors of the Royal Ontario Museum and is a member of its governance and nominating committees. She was also appointed vice president of the Osgoode Hall Law School Alumni Association board of directors.

What voters had to say:

“She is an inspiration to women aspiring to be at the top of their legal profession. I have learned a great deal from Patricia.”

In response to the Jordan decision, Chief Judge Williams, through her work on the provinces Criminal Justice Transformation Group, helped launch a pilot project that encourages prosecutors in the Halifax area to find speedy and appropriate resolution of less serious crimes, freeing up time in court for more serious and complex matters.
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+1 # Mr.Kelvin h 2017-08-08 11:26
It's a shame Richard Mclaren didn't make the list, his report on doping in Russia was definitely drew the most international attention and made the most international impact in terms of work done by a Canadian lawyer.
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