2017 Rising Stars Award Winners


John A.D Vellone, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

John Vellone practises corporate/commercial and regulatory law with a focus on energy law and matters relating to the Ontario electricity sector. He specializes in the corporate/commercial and regulatory components of electricity markets and infrastructure revitalization. He advises the senior management teams of more than 25 local distribution utilities across Ontario on such matters, including representing them in hearings before the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). He also advises clients on negotiations and disputes with Ontario’s major transmitter. Vellone is a member of the Board of ZooShare Biogas Co-operative Inc., which is developing a 500kW biogas electricity generation facility at the Toronto Zoo. He is a board member of the Alpine Club of Canada (Toronto Section) and a volunteer for the Ontario Access Coalition. He also finds time to mentor BLG students and associates.

Yola S. Ventresca, Lerners LLP

Yola Ventresca has a broad litigation practice at Lerners LLP in London, Ontario, focused on three areas. She acts on medical defence cases, where she assists regulated health professionals in resolving a variety of issues with their regulators and in defending against civil actions. She acts in complex areas here, including sexual abuse, compromised infant cases and privacy breaches. She is one of two partners at Lerners appointed to a small group to advise on medical assistance in dying. She also acts on administrative/labour law matters and on plaintiff class actions. She is the Chair of the St. Joseph’s Hospice Handbags for Hospice Committee. She leads Lerners’ Shoebox Project for Shelters effort and is a board member of the McCormick Care Group, which is dedicated to dementia care. She is also a member of the Children’s Health Foundation Magical Winter Ball Committee.

Mark Wiseman, Sobeys Inc.

Mark Wiseman is Director, Legal Services at Sobeys Inc. He participated in the company’s acquisition of Canada Safeway (the largest retail acquisition in Canada at the time) and was a key leader in the necessary and highly complex real estate due diligence work. He also played a key role in Sobeys’ 2015 acquisition by Sobeys of COOP Atlantic. In addition, Mark has handled a wide range of complex files, which include pharmacy, fuel and all areas of the business. Wiseman has a particular focus on Environmental Law. He is very involved in his community, including in an effort to sponsor and resettle three Syrian refugee families in Pictou County. From 2012 until its strategic amalgamation into a provincial entity in 2016, Wiseman was a Board member and Vice-President of the Pictou County Early Intervention program.

Jack Yong, Lawson Lundell LLP

Jack Yong is a partner and leader of the China Initiative with Lawson Lundell’s Vancouver office, practising corporate and commercial law and providing clients with strategic counsel in diverse areas of business law. He has assisted Chinese clients in acquiring or investing in major commercial real estate properties. Balancing particular needs and concerns of Chinese clients against Canadian market realities and the demands of institutional counterparties, he is able to use his cultural aptitude in both markets to help move deals forward. Yong’s community activities include being a board member of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival and being a member on the Board of Advisors of Educating Girls of Rural China (EGRC), which is dedicated to providing high school and university education to impoverished young women from rural regions of Western China through financial sponsorship, personal support and mentorship.