2015 Rising Stars Award Winners


Ranjan K. Agarwal, Bennett Jones LLP

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Ranjan Agarwal is a recognized leader in areas as diverse as commercial litigation, public law and human rights issues. He has been lead counsel or co-counsel in 12 appeals at the Supreme Court of Canada. He is currently counsel in numerous class actions, alleging conspiracy (Brewers Retail Inc. and Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA), product liability (Trinity Industries Inc.), consumer protection breaches (FRHI Hotels & Resorts Canada Inc.) and negligence (Lipson v. Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP), as well as in an important Charter case addressing issues of prostitution, euthanasia, labour rights and religious freedom. Ranjan leads the litigation department’s pro bono initiatives, seeking mandates for junior lawyers to both develop their skills and contribute to the community, and he often acts pro bono in special mandates referred to him by Pro Bono Law Ontario.

Sarah Armstrong, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

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Sarah Armstrong focuses on litigation and arbitration of complex commercial and contractual disputes and class-action defence. She currently leads or co-leads the defence of Baja Mining Corp. and certain former officers in a $260-million securities class action; defence of a big-four accounting firm in a $5-billion auditor’s negligence action from the Madoff fraud; prosecution of a $220-million claim by a publicly listed international mining company against its former EPCM contractor; and prosecution of a $25-million breach-of-contract action by Automodular Corporation against General Motors and others. She regularly acts as independent counsel to the Discipline and Fitness to Practise Committees of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. Sarah is Vice-chair of the firm’s Ontario Litigation Department, Chairs the Arbitration Practice Group and is a board member of The Advocates’ Society.

Simon Baines, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

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Simon Baines practises commercial law for complex resource projects, negotiating concession agreements, fiscal and local benefits arrangements and hydrocarbon transportation. He has acted on energy matters of national profile and strategic importance, including acting as lead counsel to all producers offshore of Newfoundland on forming the Basin Wide Transportation and Transshipment System; co-lead counsel to PetroChina on a proposed LNG project; and co-lead counsel to PetroChina on acquiring a 20 per cent interest in Shell’s Groundbirch shale gas project. Simon’s pro bono work includes acting as counsel to the Maria Montessori Education Centre. He is the responsible partner for Can Praxis, which provides post-traumatic stress therapy to veterans, and serves on the organizing committee for the Jasper Research Seminar for CELF, a non-profit supporting understanding of energy law.

Brian Bidyk, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP

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Brian Bidyk’s practice focuses on corporate/commercial law, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures in the energy industry. He advises clients on day-to-day legal and operational issues and has acted as lead counsel in many complex, high-profile matters for Paramount Resources, together with Acclaim and Enerplus, in the $1.1-billion acquisition of all of Chevron Canada’s conventional oil and gas assets; TriStar and Crescent Point in their $725-million joint acquisition of Talisman Energy’s Saskatchewan assets; Abu Dhabi National Energy Company’s acquisitions of Northrock for $2 billion, Pioneer for $750 million and PrimeWest for $4.6 billion; and for the Capital Power Corporation joint venture with ENMAX Corporation in a deal to construct, own and operate the $1.4-billion Shepard Energy Centre. Brian has been instrumental in establishing the firm’s energy and natural resource practice group.

Karey Brooks, JFK Law Corporation

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Karey Brooks is an emerging leader of Canada’s litigation and Aboriginal law Bar, and has acted on many landmark Aboriginal cases. She acted as co-counsel in the trial and appeal of Grassy Narrows. She then acted independently for an intervener at the Supreme Court of Canada, dealing with the federal government’s role in implementing treaties. She has written and spoken extensively about First Nations’ rights to clean water and advanced a claim to achieve treaty rights to education. Karey also acted as Associate Commission Counsel for the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry 2010‒2012, a 93-day hearing into the worst mass murder in Canadian history. She did countless hours of pro bono work in the TWU proceedings and currently serves on the WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre board.