2015 Rising Stars Award Winners


Nancy Smith, Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP

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Nancy Smith has extensive experience in debt finance, working for borrowers, banks, private-equity firms and investor entities, on syndicated domestic and international financings with assets in Canada, the US and around the world. She provides strategic advice on transaction structuring and deal progression, from drafting and reviewing complex lending documents to closing and funding. As lead debt finance counsel she has advised a participant in the multi-billion-dollar Kitimat LNG Project on participant finance, guarantee and security matters; Grande Cache Coal on its $1-billion take-over by Winsway Coal and Marabeni Corporation; and Royal Bank of Canada, et al., in the US$2-billion revolving-credit facilities for each of Canadian Pacific Railway and Suncor Energy. Nancy volunteers with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity and Calgary Legal Guidance.

Jay Strosberg, Sutts, Strosberg LLP

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Jay Strosberg plays a senior role in identifying, initiating, developing, prosecuting and arguing some of the most complex class actions in Canada. He was co-lead counsel in the IMAX class action, where leave was first granted under Part 23.1 of the Ontario Securities Act, making it one of the most important securities class actions in Canada. He is regularly quoted in the national media and has spoken at numerous conferences and seminars across Canada on class actions. He is currently co-lead counsel in the Penn West securities class action, where the class claims damages exceed $1 billion. Jay often lectures at Windsor Law. He is a longstanding board member of the WindsorEssex Community Foundation, for which he has raised more than $400,000, and he is a member of the fundraising cabinet for the Windsor Humane Society.

David Vernon, KingSett Capital Inc

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Before joining KingSett, David was a partnership-track associate at a national law firm. He was routinely assigned leadership roles, including on Loblaw’s acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart and the IPO of Canadian Tire REIT. His involvement with KingSett’s highest-profile transactions ultimately made him KingSett’s first lead of law and compliance. He was a key member of teams that advised KingSett in its unsolicited take-over bid for Primaris REIT, which turned into the complex five-way merger/real estate asset carve-up among KingSett, Primaris, H&R REIT, RioCan REIT and Ontario Pension Board; negotiated resolution of the proxy contest involving InnVest REIT and Orange Capital; and Kingsett’s joint venture with Ivanhoé Cambridge and InnVest REIT to acquire the Royal York Hotel. David is a board member of the Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Clubs.

Peter Wright, Glencore Canada

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Working at Paul, Weiss in New York City from 2005 to 2011, Peter Wright completed more than $40 billion in transactions for Canadian companies, including the $20.1-billion IPO sale of GM Canada stock by the Canadian government; Husky Energy deals worth $1.5 billion, $750 million and $225 million; an EnCana transaction for $500 million; a Canadian Natural Resources deal for $2.2 billion; and Ivanhoe Mines’ $1.2-billion rights offering in the face of a Rio Tinto takeover bid. In 2012, he moved to Cassels Brock where he continued his emphasis on mining-industry transactions. He joined Glencore, the world’s largest integrated mining and commodities trading company, in 2014. In 2015, Peter organized and taught the first-ever mining law course at Lakehead University. He is also involved in three initiatives memorializing Canadian veterans.