A cut above, pt. II
- Subtitle: Canadian Lawyer highlights the best boutiques in the areas of insurance defence and commercial real estate.
TOP 5 INSURANCE DEFENCE BOUTIQUES
Dolden Wallace Folick LLP (Vancouver)
Eric Dolden, Steve Wallace, and Lorne Folick established their insurance defence boutique in 1994 after leaving Vancouver’s Freeman and Co., Alexander Holburn Beaudin & Lang LLP, and Paine Edmonds LLP respectively. They have gradually expanded their reach by adding a few associates each year, and now have a stable of 22 lawyers. Their top clients include insurance companies Aviva, Lloyd’s of London, Intact, and the Economical Insurance Group. The firm has managed to stand out from the crowd by prioritizing its expertise in specialty lines of insurance, such as directors’ and officers’ liability, professional liability, technology liability policies, and cyber-liability policies.
Dutton Brock LLP (Toronto)
This firm came out of a line of shops that began about 65 years ago with Ferguson Montgomery Cassels & Mitchell. The modern firm was established in the early 1980s, and currently houses 32 lawyers. Dutton Brock’s position as one of the country’s top recipients of insurance defence work is evidenced by its impressive client list that includes Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. and McDonald’s. The firm also gets the nod in highly contentious matters, with Ontario’s attorney general having retained senior partner Brian Brock to manage insurance claims flowing from the Walkerton, Ont., tainted water scandal.
McCague Borlack LLP (Toronto)
McCague Borlack, established in 1994, has built its reputation through top-notch representation of insurance companies when the stakes are at their highest. For example, it obtained a dismissal of a multibillion-dollar class action claim on behalf of Zurich Insurance Co. Ltd. at the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2005’s David Polowin Real Estate Ltd. v. Dominion of Canada General Insurance Co. The 55-lawyer firm also represents prominent insurance companies like Lombard Canada Ltd. and ACE Canada. “I hire McCague Borlack on my most difficult of cases,” said one in-house counsel. “McCague is efficient, cost-effective, and results-driven.”
Nicholl Paskell-Mede LLP (Montreal/Toronto)
Formed by John Nicholl and Mindy Paskell-Mede after they left Ogilvy Renault in 1992, this firm has grown to 27 lawyers in Montreal and nine in Toronto. Its client list consists of international property, casualty, and special risks insurers. “A great strength in professional liability matters,” one voter remarked. “Mary Margaret Fox, John Nicholl, and Graeme Mew are top choices in this area.” Mew successfully represented Lloyd’s Underwriters in its 2009 case at the Supreme Court of Canada versus Teck Cominco Metals Ltd., which sued its insurers over coverage in relation to damage caused downstream from a British Columbia smelter.
Whitelaw Twining Law Corp. (Vancouver)
Formed in 1979, this boutique’s 33 lawyers are led by director Rick Twining, who launched his career at top-notch regional firm Bull Housser & Tupper LLP. Whitelaw Twining now takes on a wide range of contentious insurance litigation. One recent notable case was last year’s The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 1751 v. Scott Management Ltd. at the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The case established a precedent on limitation issues in third-party proceedings seeking contribution and indemnity. Whitelaw’s renowned representation has helped it build a stable of clients including Lloyd’s of London and most of North America’s large insurance companies.
Published in Boutique Firm Rankings