2015 Rising Stars Award Winners


Frédéric Gilbert, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

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Frédéric Gilbert is a commercial litigation lawyer, specializing in franchise law. Early in his career he won the Freightliner case, a landmark decision on early termination of a franchise agreement. In 2012, he won the Malette case, which clarifies concepts governing suspensive conditions. In June 2012, after a judicial saga lasting nine years, he won the famous Dunkin’ Brands case, representing 20 former Dunkin’ Donuts Québec franchisees who sued their franchisor for negligence, bad faith and misrepresentation. He then prevailed before the Québec Court of Appeal, which upheld the Dunkin’ decision. Dunkin’ Brands has filed for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada and Frédéric will represent franchisees there. Frédéric sits on the CBA’s diversity committee, volunteers for Projet Refuge and was a director of PROMIS for two years.

Karen Hennessey, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP

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Karen Hennessey is a corporate commercial and M&A lawyer and national leader of the firm’s general corporate commercial practice group. As a corporate commercial generalist, she acts as the “glue” between specialized practice areas. She quickly and effectively puts legal teams together across offices and disciplines. For seven months in 2014, Karen was seconded to a substantial client, acting as VP Legal and leading the legal aspects of a transaction estimated in excess of a billion dollars. This required Karen to work full-time for the client while managing her full practice. She has since served as second-in-command to the client company’s new vice president. Karen serves on the boards of Ronald McDonald House in Ottawa, the Christmas Cheer Foundation and the Hnatyshyn Foundation.

Gillian Hnatiw, Lerners LLP

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Gillian Hnatiw’s practice is focused in three areas: representing sexual-assault and abuse victims in compensation claims and criminal proceedings, for nonconsensual dissemination of intimate images and wrongful non-disclosure of sexually transmitted diseases; defending against actions for medical malpractice; and acting in administrative and constitutional law proceedings before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board and Coroner’s inquests. She has acted as counsel to the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto at the inquest into the death of Katelynn Sampson; and as pro bono counsel to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association before the Supreme Court of Canada in the Omar Khadr case. Gillian regularly offers behind-the-scenes pro bono legal advice to sexual assault victims.

Adrian Ishak, Baker & McKenzie LLP

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Adrian Ishak’s practice focuses on domestic and crossborder employment matters. He has a joint Ontario/ Québec call, with experience in both jurisdictions. He has recently advised on employment matters in Canadian and cross-border transactions and post-acquisition integrations across multiple industries, covering multiple jurisdictions; global employment law involving multinational corporations across various industries in more than 20 jurisdictions; Canadian aspects of a large pharmaceutical company’s global separation and spin-off of its research-based business into a new publicly traded US$53-billion biopharmaceutical company; and a US$3- billion cash acquisition of a fibre optic business by a global telecom. Adrian is Chair of Eva’s Initiatives, providing shelter, training and counselling to homeless youth, and he volunteers at the Legal Advice & Referral Clinic of The 519 Church Street Community Centre.

Ryan Jacobs, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

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Ryan Jacobs is a leading cross-border restructuring lawyer in Canada, qualified in both Ontario and New York. He acts as lead counsel on many of Canada’s largest and most complex in-court and out-of-court reorganizations, recapitalizations and restructurings. His clients include the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Nortel Networks in Canada, the US and Europe for claims against US$8 billion in assets; the debtor-in-possession (DIP) lender to Crystallex International Corp. in Canada, the US and Venezuela for claims against US$3.8 billion in assets; and the DIP lender to Colt Defense LLC in Canada and the US for claims against US$400 million in assets. He has acted for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in such major restructurings as WorldCom; Delta Air Lines; Quebecor World; Solutia; Loral Space & Communications; Globalstar and Collins & Aikman.