2017 Rising Stars Award Winners


Nancy Hamzo, Baker & McKenzie LLP

Nancy Hamzo is a transactional lawyer at Baker & McKenzie LLP, focusing on cross-border M&A and corporate reorganizations. She represents multinational clients in a variety of industries with a particular focus on the pharmaceutical and technology sectors. For example, Hamzo advised Baxter International when it separated its biopharmaceutical business from its medical products business to create Baxalta Incorporated. She is highly involved in a variety of community initiatives. She leads the Baker McKenzie Canadian team on establishing Women for Women International Canada, an organization that offers support, tools and access to life-changing skills to women. She also contributes her time to assisting Oxfam, an organization focused on alleviating poverty, with a variety of Canadian legal issues. She started Baker McKenzie Canada’s women’s networking initiative and continues to drive this initiative forward as co-chair with Stephanie Vaccari. She has focused on finding ways to enhance networking initiatives for lawyers within the firm and for clients externally.

Claire Hunter, Hunter Litigation Chambers

Claire Hunter has a broad civil litigation, public and administrative law and appellate practice. She appears regularly as counsel at both the trial and appellate level, including all levels of court in British Columbia and the Supreme Court of Canada, and before arbitration tribunals and administrative boards. She has broad experience working on complex commercial matters, including conducting internal investigations, and has appeared before regulators in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Hunter is Chair of Access Pro Bono, BC’s umbrella pro bono society. She previously chaired the CBA’s national Pro Bono Committee and is a member of the Law Society of BC’s Access to Legal Services Advisory Committee. She often acts as counsel pro bono, representing low-income clients in asylum, housing, benefits and family law matters as well as acting in important public law appeals.

Jessica Kearsey

Jessica Kearsey is a labour arbitration practitioner in public-sector labour arbitration, particularly in police and health-care labour relations. She has provided strategic advice and problem-solving skills in developing strong union management relationships. She has been involved, either leading or supporting, local interest arbitration in multiple sectors. And Kearsey has participated as adjunct faculty at Osgoode Hall (Labour Arbitration). She coaches competitive mooters and in particular was a mentor to the MDC Moot team at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Rebecca Kennedy, Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP

Rebecca Kennedy is a partner at Thornton Grout Finnigan, advising clients on bankruptcy, insolvency and corporate restructuring matters. She has represented lenders, debtors, receivers, trustees, inspectors, court-appointed monitors and DIP financiers in regional, national and cross-border insolvencies. Kennedy became a partner at TGF in 2017. Her notable work includes acting for the Trustees of the UK Pension Plan and the UK Pension Protection Fund in pursuing a $3-billion claim in the global restructuring proceedings of Nortel Networks and its subsidiaries, and in the allocation of its global proceeds of sale. Through this mandate, Kennedy deposed witnesses around the world and actively participated in the first ever cross-border insolvency trial in Toronto and Delaware. Rebecca is a co-chair of the Association for Corporate Growth’s Young Professional Program, and was a panelist on Developments in Insolvency Law at the Insolvency Institute (OBA).

Jean-Claude Killey, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP

Jean-Claude Killey is a partner at Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP, practising litigation and arbitration. Among his cases, he acted for Cogeco Data Services Inc. in its successful defence of a specific performance claim relating to a massive network-building project, at both the arbitration and appeal levels (TDSB et al. v. Cogeco, 2017 ONSC 3718). His nominator, Robert Centa, writes: “He has extensive experience acting in departing-lawyer matters and law firm break-ups. His success in these matters can be measured by the notable absence of reported decisions: his reported cases show his ability to persuade clients to take positions that will prevail in court, but he is also an able negotiator with success in resolving cases outside of court.” He is a Director of Homes First, a charity that owns and/or manages 16 properties in Toronto providing housing and support services to Toronto’s most difficult to house population.