2017 Rising Stars Award Winners


Ryan J. Black, McMillan LLP

Ryan Black is a former software and internet developer, and now is an equity partner at McMillan LLP. He practises technology-related business law, and is a member of the Technology, Intellectual Property and Privacy group as well as Co-Chair, Information Technology, at McMillan’s Vancouver office. He takes on various leadership roles within the firm and in the broader community; and is called upon regularly by news media to provide commentary on topical and controversial legal issues. Black presents regularly at UBC’s Business Law Clinic and is active in professional organizations such as the Canadian IT Law Association and Video Game Bar Association for whom he is currently organizing the inaugural VGBA Canada Summit in Vancouver. He is a director of the non-profit society that guides one of Vancouver’s marquee events, the Honda Celebration of Light.

Audrey Boctor, Irving Mitchell Kalichman s.e.n.c.r.l./LLP

Audrey Boctor represents clients in complex civil and commercial disputes and has extensive experience in appellate advocacy. She has a broad public law practice, including constitutional and human rights law and a range of administrative and regulatory matters. Boctor also regularly advises on matters relating to private international law, including jurisdiction, state immunity, recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards. She has been a member of the Board of Directors and Legal Clinic volunteer at the Tyndale St-Georges Community Centre from 2013 to 2017. The Tyndale St-Georges Centre’s mission is to empower the residents of Little Burgundy, an underprivileged neighbourhood of Montréal, through educational programs. She is very involved with the Canadian Bar Association, particularly with respect to administrative law. Boctor represented the estate and son of the late photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi at all levels of court, including the SCC (Kazemi Estate v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 2014 SCC 62).

William T. Cahill, Cox & Palmer

William Cahill has an active practice in the areas of mining, corporate finance, commercial real estate, and fisheries & marine law. He represents both private and public mining companies in a wide range of areas, including asset acquisition, M&A and financing, and has clients trading on exchanges in Canada, the US and the UK. In addition, Cahill advises financial institutions and corporate borrowers on financings and secured transactions; and represents financial institutions on security enforcement, debt collections and judgment enforcement. Through his past leadership of the Maritime Law Section of the CBA, Cahill has taken an active role provincially and nationally on legislative and law reform issues, particularly in the area of fisheries. Practising in a province that still relies heavily on the sea as a way of life, Cahill uses his network to attract new clients and business.

Michelle Chaisson, Ryerson University

Michelle Chaisson is Senior Legal Counsel and Assistant Secretary at Ryerson University. She is responsible for providing strategic and business advice in corporate/commercial law, procurement, infrastructure, privacy, IT, copyright, CASL compliance and marketing. She provides advice and support to the Board of Governors Secretariat on governance and Board matters and acts in a managerial role, through supervision of junior legal and administrative staff. Since 2013, Michelle has volunteered her time with Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto (RMHCT) and she was elected to its Board in January 2017. She has served on its Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee and the Young Professionals Committee (YPC). Chaisson was instrumental in conceptualizing and implementing a marquee fundraising event for young professionals to increase their awareness of RMHCT. “The House Party” continues as the biggest annual fundraiser for the YPC.

Gerald Chan, Stockwoods LLP

Gerald Chan is a partner at Stockwoods LLP where he defends white-collar and regulatory prosecutions. For the past two years, Chan has led the defence of Uber partners in Toronto and surrounding jurisdictions. In Toronto, he successfully obtained the withdrawal of all charges in “Project Snowball,” the high-profile police sting operation that resulted in charges under the Highway Traffic Act. And in London, Hamilton, Kitchener and the Niagara Region, Chan obtained the withdrawal/stay of all charges against Uber partners. Chan also serves on the Litigation Committee of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, which manages the CLA’s interventions in cases of importance to the defence Bar. And he is one of two co-editors of For the Defence, the journal of the CLA.