2016 Rising Stars Award Winners

Marc-André Blanchard is an esteemed lawyer from Québec who in April became Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In this role, Ambassador Blanchard works to advance Canada’s interests, promote international development, security and human rights, and to keep our government informed on multilateral issues. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Blanchard had been the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McCarthy Tétrault LLP, one of the country’s most prominent law firms. He also has a long history of political involvement, as the former president of the Québec Liberal Party and, more recently, as a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s transition team. Ambassador Blanchard holds several degrees including a Master's in Public Administration and a Master’s in International Affairs from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He is a Lexpert Rising Stars alumnus, and in 2013 was named one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer.



Rahool P. Agarwal, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

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Rahool Agarwal’s practice involves shareholder disputes,proxy battles, complex contractual claims, fraud claims and constitutional issues. He has acted as lead counsel for Merck in patent-related litigation against a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer and as co-counsel to Pfizer in a successful defence to a proposed class action by Viagra consumers. He has appeared before appeal courts in three provinces and five times before the Supreme Court of Canada. He has also acted in notable public-policy cases: R. v. N.S., on the right to wear a niqab during cross-examination; Rasouli v. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, on physicians’ unilateral right to withdraw life support from minimally conscious patients; and Kazemi Estate v. Islamic Republic of Iran, on state immunity to a civil claim for damages in state-sponsored torture. Rahool is a pro bono leader within the firm and the legal community.

Robin Aitken, Cox & Palmer

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Robin Aitken is Prince Edward Island counsel to many public companies, including a leading national grocer and a Big Three telecom provider. She was recently lead PEI counsel on a lengthy reorganization of a $75-million loan facility. She is the partner responsible for articling students and recruits students for each of the firm’s four PEI offices. She has developed an orientation program that provides students with the skills they need to succeed at the firm, and with the business-of-law knowledge to develop successful practices. Robin is a long-standing board member of Fitzroy Centre, serving individuals with mental-health issues. She supports and fundraises for the Canadian Mental Health Association on a regular basis and provides guidance on housing issues. She is also a board member of the Stars for Life Foundation for Autism.

Imdad Ali, BMO Financial Group

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Imdad Ali has led the legal group in a number of transformational initiatives to support stronger risk management and efficiencies through innovation. He led the restructuring of BMO’s external-counsel program that rationalized BMO’s panel of external law firms to approximately 120 from 1,000; implemented new technology for matter management and e-billing; implemented new policies and procedures across BMO that delivered immediate cost and risk-management benefits; and has become a model for non-legal transformation projects. He has since begun a new role as Legal Counsel and Senior Advisor on the technology and operations legal team, developing an enterprise-engagement model to manage the more than 100 matters the team receives monthly. Imdad supports the United Way, Community Living and the S.E.N.A.C.A. Seniors Day Program in Oakville, Ont. He has also acted as a coach with the Oakville Soccer Club.

Daniel Anthony, Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh

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Daniel Anthony is a recognized expert in internet and domain-name law. He has been responsible for enforcing trademarks in Canada and the copyrights of hundreds of clients worldwide, including many on the Fortune 500. He has recovered dozens of infringing domain names and succeeded in more than a dozen domain-name arbitrations. He is a leader in resolving urgent internet issues, such as phishing scams and counterfeiting operations. He has acted in the appeal for a 10-year airline trademark dispute, with important repercussions for loyalty programs, and executed an Anton Piller order to shut down one of the world’s largest illegal movie streaming services, securing judgment of $1.2 million in damages and costs. Daniel recently acted pro bono for the Alliance for Responsible Mining in securing Fairmined certification of ethically mined products.

Ana Badour, McCarthy Tétrault LLP

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Ana Badour is a partner in the financial-services group, advising on regulatory compliance in the areas of consumer protection, anti-money-laundering and prudential requirements. Her recent work includes acting for banks and other financial institutions in drafting compliance policies, providing consumer-protection advice on credit cards and other financial products, and acting for a foreign bank establishing a Schedule III branch. She has also advised clients in the financialtechnology, including GoldMoney, on regulatory matters for its bullion-based internet platform; an incoming lender on Canadian legal structuring issues, and an online fintech lender on various regulatory matters. She advised several banks on the regulatory and compliance implications of the SCC Marcotte decision and acted for two global banks establishing branches in Canada. Ana has fostered strong relations with important clients, including major Canadian banks.