Let’s celebrate making it through 2020

When looking back at an unforgettable year like 2020, one's first thought is likely "Thank God that is over."

While that thought is naturally followed by regret over the pandemic’s terrible toll, we should be celebrating many achievements as well. 

In this issue, we celebrate the deals that closed despite all the challenges. The Canadian Law Awards Excellence Awardees are presented in five categories, and these deals will now be sent to a large independent external judging panel that will score the nominations and select a Gold Winner from each category.

Gold Winners will be announced during a virtual event on May 20.

While the deals are noteworthy and their success provides a reason to celebrate, the performance of our capital markets as a whole is a good news story as well.

“It’s been an incredibly busy year, and we’re seeing a flurry of IPO activity so far in 2021,” says Ora Wexler, a partner at Dentons Canada LLP in Toronto. “With so many success stories, it spurs other companies to want to do the same.”

The pandemic dampened activity when it struck us in March, but, “within six to eight weeks, the transaction flow was incredibly active again,” says Ally Bharmalat Fasken in Vancouver. 

While the surge in activity was caused by many non-COVID factors, including low interest rates and the popularity of special purpose acquisition companies, the corporate world also quickly adjusted and got back to work closing deals. Tech dependence skyrocketed and spending decreased, fuelling investments into the markets.

There were many casualties of the pandemic, and not just lives but also livelihoods. But even the economic fallout was muted, restructuring lawyers say. “I think what is going on in the economy is that the government’s support programs [during the COVID-19 pandemic] are working . . . and that that is depressing the number of filings that we’re seeing,” says Robert Thornton at Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP in Toronto

In other words, government assistance helped support the hardest hit. 

So, even though we are happy to see the end of a very challenging year, we should not ignore the good news. We have much to celebrate.

Tim Wilbur, Editor-in-Chief