Most recommended corporate and commercial lawyers in Toronto

After an exhaustive peer survey, Lexpert reveals Toronto’s leading corporate and commercial lawyers.

Corporate law is the branch of the legal profession that governs the establishment of companies, shareholder rights, and mergers and acquisitions. Commercial or business law, meanwhile, deals with the sale and distribution of goods.

Aaron Atkinson

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2001

Aaron Atkinson is a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP and specializes in public and private mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and securities and corporate governance. He advises several Canadian and international businesses in a wide range of industries, including mining, life sciences and financial services. Atkinson has advised clients in various high-profile domestic and cross-border cases, including unsolicited takeover bids and proxy contests, financing transactions, negotiated acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships. He is well-versed in commercial governance, which is why he is called to advise on transactional matters, internal investigations, and complex governance. His firm is one of Canada’s leading business law firms, with offices in Toronto, Montreal and New York.

Read more about Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP on the monitor’s impact on US restructuring

Richard J. Balfour

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1980

Richard J. Balfour specializes in corporate and securities and currently serves as a senior counsel at Torys LLP. He has substantial experience in public and private mergers and acquisitions, and securities law, including privatizations and demutualizations. Balfour advises clients on the regulation of securities markets. He has represented businesses in several high-profile acquisitions, including Maple Group’s purchase of TMX Group and Reuters’ sale to Thomson. Among his law firm’s practice areas are banking and debt finance, capital market, consumer protection, corporate restructuring and advisory, and private equity.

Read more about Torys LLP on cannabis regulation

Patrick G. Barry

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1993

Patrick G. Barry devotes his practice to public and private mergers and acquisitions, private equity investment transactions and fund formation, and debt and equity corporate finance. He advises on high-profile transactions and boasts substantial experience in corporate joint ventures and structured finance transactions. Barry has also advised on the formation of some of Canada’s largest and most prominent private equity and hedge funds. He is currently a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, a business law firm serving clients in North America and other parts of the world.

Read more about Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP on the Agrium proxy contest

Sarbjit S. Basra

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1994

Sarbjit S. Basra is a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, one of Canada’s biggest law firms. He specializes in private mergers and acquisitions, private equity investment transactions, fund formation, and debt and equity corporate finance. His experience in advising Canada’s largest private equity firms and institutions spans more than two decades. Basra boasts extensive experience in fund formation and has advised on the formation of many of the country’s leading private funds.

Read more about Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP on material adverse change clauses

Joel E. Binder

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1991

Joel E. Binder is a partner in Stikeman Elliott LLP’s corporate finance, securities, and mergers and acquisitions groups. He boasts extensive experience in these practice areas, as well as private equity. Binder frequently represents public issuers, boards of directors and investment dealers in transactions involving public offerings, private placements, takeover bids, business combinations and governance, and securities compliance matters. A member of the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society of Ontario, Binder regularly speaks at conferences on securities law and has authored articles on a variety of securities law topics. His law firm ranks highly in its primary practice areas, including M&A, securities, litigation and dispute resolution, banking and finance, competition and foreign investment, tax, restructuring, energy, real estate, project development, employment and labour, and pensions.

Read more about Stikeman Elliott LLP on private equity investment

William J. Braithwaite

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1980

William J. Braithwaite is a senior counsel at Stikeman Elliott LLP, where he held chairmanship from 2012 to 2018. He also served on the firm’s partnership board and executive committee and is the former head of the corporate group in the Toronto office. Braithwaite specializes in mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance. He has acted as counsel to major Canadian corporations, boards of directors and institutional shareholders, and various governments and regulatory authorities. Braithwaite is currently a special lecturer in Osgoode Hall Law School’s part-time LLM program. He participates in numerous panels and conferences on corporate and securities law, and also serves as chairman of the board of directors of Computershare Trust Company of Canada.

Read more about Stikeman Elliott LLP on Canadian litigation trends

John J. Ciardullo

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1997

John J. Ciardullo is a partner and head of the corporate group at Stikeman Elliott LLP, one of Canada’s top business law firms. He previously led the firm’s capital markets, and public mergers and acquisitions groups. Ciardullo has extensive experience in corporate and securities law, with a focus on complex M&A transactions, proxy contests, and corporate finance. He advises clients in a range of matters, including transaction structuring, acquisition and defense strategy, and compliance with fiduciary duties.

Read more about Stikeman Elloitt LLP on Canada’s fight against corruption

Matthew Cockburn

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1995

Matthew Cockburn is a partner at Torys LLP, a business law firm that serves clients spanning a range of industries, including agribusiness, cannabis, financial services, government, mining, real estate and technology. He specializes in corporate and securities law, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, and private equity. Cockburn represents several private equity firms and pension funds, advising on all aspects of their investment activities. He has also advised clients on public takeover bids, plans of arrangement, and private acquisitions and divestitures. Cockburn boasts significant experience corporate finance, advising issuers and underwriters on public and private offerings of debt and equity securities.

Read more about Torys LLP on multiple stakeholders

Curtis Cusinato

Law firm: Bennett Jones LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1993

Curtis Cusinato is a senior partner at Bennett Jones LLP, one of Canada’s largest law firms with offices in Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver, New York in the US, and Beijing in China. Cusinato specializes in corporate and securities law, focusing on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and capital market transactions. He has advised boards of directors on various corporate governance matters that covers a spectrum of industries including steel, manufacturing, agribusiness, technology, food service, hospitality, gaming, waste management, financial services and life sciences. Cusinato has clients across North America.

Read more about Bennett Jones LLP on intellectual property protection

John E. Emanoilidis

Law firm: Torys LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1999

John E. Emanoilidis serves as partner at Torys LLP, where also co-heads the firm’s mergers and acquisition practice. He focuses on corporate, commercial and securities law, with an emphasis on M&A and corporate finance. Emanoilidis advises companies, directors and shareholders on corporate governance, securities compliance matters, and all aspects of M&A, including hostile takeover bids, strategic review processes, proxy contests, going-private transactions, private equity transactions and negotiated acquisitions. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Canadian Institute's Corporate Financing Journal, and Merger and Acquisitions Journal.

Jeremy D. Fraiberg

Law firm: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Year called to the Bar: 2000

Jeremy D. Fraiberg is a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, where he also co-chairs the firm’s mergers and acquisitions group. He has acted for several public and private companies, private equity firms and investment banks on a range of acquisitions, securities offerings, and other corporate transactions. Fraiberg has taught at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law on contested mergers and proxy contests, and has also spoken and written about a range of legal issues. His law firm serves business clients across Canada and the US.

Read about Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP on the growth of fintech

Michael Gans

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1996

Michael Gans devotes his practice to international inbound, and domestic mergers and acquisitions transactions. He has advised on many of Canada’s highest-profile M&A transactions, including BHP Billiton-Potash, CNOOC-Nexen, Onex-WestJet and the Hudson’s Bay privatization. Gans frequently acts for financial sponsors in both platform and roll-up transactions. These include The Stars Group on its combination with Flutter Entertainment, Starlight Fund 5 on its acquisition by Tricon Capital and Americold Realty Trust in connection with its acquisition of Nova Cold Logistics. Gans also acts for special committees of boards in connection with internal investigations and related party transactions. He is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, a firm that handles every aspect of business law.

Read more about Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP on transfer pricing

Jeff Glass

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1991

Jeff Glass is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, where he also founded the firm’s investment products & asset management practice. He advises investment dealers and senior issuers on public financings and securities regulatory matters. Glass has been involved in the reformulation of the regulations and policies of the Ontario Securities Commission and has assisted the Toronto Stock Exchange in a review of its policies and procedures for the regulation of listed entities. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Olympic Foundation.

Read more about on Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP cannabis litigation

Stephen H. Halperin

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1976 (QC); 1979 (AB); 1987 (ON)

Stephen H. Halperin currently serves as counsel for Goodmans LLP after more than 30 years as a partner. He was also co-chair of the firm’s corporate and securities group. Halperin specializes in transactional corporate and securities law, domestic and international corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. His law firm is among Canada’s leaders when it comes to capital markets, M&A, restructuring, technology, REITs, tax, and litigation.

Read more about Goodmans LLP on shareholder activism

Christopher A. Hewat

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1987

Christopher A. Hewat specializes in securities and business law, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and private equity transactions. He is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, and has been involved in the development of securities regulation in Canada, having advised the Ontario Securities Commission in connection with its rules reformulation project, and the Toronto Stock Exchange in its review of rules governing listed companies. Hewat has extensive M&A experience, advising on several high-profile transactions, including the Toronto-Dominion Bank’s acquisition of artificial intelligence firm Layer 6 Inc. and institutional asset manager Greystone Managed Investments Inc. He also boasts significant experience acting for issuers and underwriters in public offerings, including those by Stelco, OpenText, Descartes and Shopify.

Read more about Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP on the use of facial recognition technology

Samantha G. Horn

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1993

Samantha G. Horn serves as partner in Stikeman Elliott LLP’s mergers and acquisitions, and private equity groups. She devotes her practice to these areas, along with venture capital financing, which includes investments, buy-outs, and fund formation. Horn is also a member of the firm’s management committee in the Toronto office. Her efforts towards the promotion of the advancement of women in law have contributed to the firm receiving the Profiles in Diversity Journal’s Award of Excellence. Horn is also a founding and executive member of the Canadian Women in private equity committee of the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA).

Read more about Stikeman Elliott LLP on support for the agribusiness sector during COVID-19 pandemic

Jonathan Lampe

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1984

Jonathan Lampe is a partner at Goodmans LLP, where he also previously served as co-chair of the corporate and securities group, and member of the executive committee. His expertise includes mergers and acquisitions, strategic relationships, financings, dissident shareholder activities, governance, and regulatory matters and investigations. Lampe advises Canadian and international clients on strategic and structural matters. He has also held leadership roles in various government and legal profession organizations, including as general counsel for the Ontario Securities Commission and chair of its security advisory committee.

Read more about Goodmans LLP on protecting brands in North America

Dale H. Lastman

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1984

Dale H. Lastman is the chairman of Goodmans LLP. He practices corporate, commercial and securities law, and provides counsel in connection with public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, and business restructurings. He is also a director at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd, and an alternate governor of the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and Canadian Football League. Lastman is recognized as among the leading commercial and corporate law practitioners in the world. He is also known for his philanthropic endeavours and contributions to the community.

Read more about Goodmans LLP on intellectual property laws

Jon Levin

Law firm: Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1975

Jon Levin is identified as among Canada's top 30 dealmakers and is the recipient of numerous professional recognitions, including being named one of Canada’s most creative lawyers. A partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, he devotes his practice to mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, securities regulation and business law. Levin’s recent transactions include representing CDS Clearing and Depositary Services on a $400 million US financing and DundeeWealth’s sale to Bank of Nova Scotia for $3.2 billion. He is also a regular panelist and lecturer for various continuing legal education programs. His law firm consists of more than 700 lawyers and owns 10 offices worldwide.

Read more about Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP on private equity

Jeffrey R. Lloyd

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1991

Jeffrey R. Lloyd devotes his practice to mergers and acquisitions, public company advisory matters, and capital markets transactions. He advises purchasers, target companies and vendors on public and private M&A transactions and boasts significant experience in both negotiated and unsolicited transactions. Lloyd also advises public companies on corporate governance, shareholder activism and securities law matters, and in connection with public offerings of equity and debt securities. His experience spans a wide range of industries, including mining, real estate, financial services, power generation, and retail and consumer products. Lloyd is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, a business law firm with offices across Canada, and in the US and China.

Read more about Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP on attracting global tech talent

Neill I. May

Law firm: Goodmans LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1992

Neill I. May is a partner, co-chair of corporate securities group and executive committee member at Goodmans LLP. He boasts extensive experience in corporate and securities law, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, governance and proxy matters, public and private financings (domestic and cross-border), private equity, and business restructurings. May is also actively involved in mining and Asian market practice areas.

Read more about Goodmans LLP on shareholder activism

Vincent A. Mercier

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1990

Vincent A. Mercier specializes in mergers and acquisitions and has acted in Canada’s most important transactions. He represents acquirers, targets, controlling shareholders and committees of independent directors in public company acquisitions, both negotiated and hostile. Mercier also represents strategic and private equity buyers in private M&A transactions and has extensive experience in cross-border transactions. He is well-versed in various industries, including financial services, communications and media, technology, mining and energy. Mercier advises public company boards on activism defence and other corporate governance issues. He currently serves as partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, a business law firm that specializes in high-stakes and complex matters.

Read more about Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP on material adverse change clauses

Patricia L. Olasker

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1979

A partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, Patricia L. Olasker acts on many of Canada’s most complex mergers and acquisitions, and capital markets transactions. She boasts substantial experience in proxy contests and shareholder activism, and advises boards of directors, special committees and activist shareholders on corporate governance and transaction-specific matters. Olasker also devotes her practice to public market derivatives, the development of innovative structured debt and equity products, and multijurisdictional disclosure system offerings of equity and debt.

Read more about Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP on monitor’s impact on US restructuring

W. Ian Palm

Law firm: Gowling WLG

Year called to the Bar: 1995

W. Ian Palm specializes in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity. He regularly acts for Canadian and international clients in a range of industries, including technology, energy and infrastructure. Palm represents private and public companies, major corporations, pension fund  and private equity and venture capital investors. He advises issuers, investors and underwriters regarding various corporate finance and M&A transactions, including private placements, public offerings, private equity and venture capital transactions, and joint ventures. Palm speaks frequently at law schools, institutes and conferences. He is a partner at Gowling WLG, an international business law firm consisting of more than 1,400 legal professionals.

Read more about Gowling WLG on agribusiness regulation

Carol D. Pennycook

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1981 (AB); 1985 (ON)

Carol D. Pennycook is recognized as one of the country’s top finance lawyers. She advises clients on a range of transactions, including syndicated loan transactions, corporate finance, structured finance, project finance, debt capital market offerings, private equity, private mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations and derivative products. Pennycook devotes a large part of her practice to financing transactions, acting for both borrowers and lenders. She also advises on renewable energy transactions, joint ventures, corporate and acquisition credit facilities, and capital markets bond, debenture and note offerings, both Canadian and cross-border. Pennycook is a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP.

Read more about Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP on competition and foreign investment

Emmanuel Pressman

Law firm: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1998

Emmanuel Pressman is a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, where he is also chair of the corporate department and former head of the mergers and acquisitions group. He represents public and private companies, private equity sponsors, special committees, boards of directors and financial advisers involved in takeover bids, negotiated and contested M&A, joint ventures, and a range of corporate transactions and restructurings. Pressman’s clients include Constellation Brands, Magna International, Blackstone, TPG Capital, KingSett Capital, Vector Capital, Fairfax Financial, Walter Energy, The ADT Corporation and Shoppers Drug Mart. His law firm has offices in Toronto, Montréal, Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver, as well as New York in the US.

Read more about Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP on new tax rules

Brian M. Pukier

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1994

Brian M. Pukier is a partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP’s mergers and acquisitions group and serves on the management committee at the firm’s Toronto office. He specializes in cross-border M&A, private equity investments, corporate finance transactions, complex corporate reorganizations and public policy. He boasts significant experience in counselling senior management and the boards of directors of leading public and private corporations. Pukier is a member of the Ontario Bar Association, the Canadian Bar Association and the International Bar Association. He is also a frequent speaker and writer on M&A and securities regulatory topics.

Read more about Stikeman Elliott LLP on private equity investment

Simon A. Romano

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1989

Simon A. Romano serves as partner in the capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions groups at Stikeman Elliott LLP. He was also a former member of the management committee at the firm’s Toronto office. His practice focuses on securities, public and private mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance. Romano advises public companies, financial institutions, underwriters, investment funds, private equity funds, real estate investment trusts and income trusts, alternative trading systems, and regulatory and self-regulatory organizations. He also acts on corporate governance and executive compensation matters. Romano was instrumental in the structure and launch of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) in Canada. He is a member of the Canadian Bar Association, an instructor in business law at the Law Society of Ontario’s Bar Admission Course, and a frequent lecturer.

Read more about Stikeman Elliott LLP on Canada’s litigation trends

Cameron M. Rusaw

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1990

Cameron M. Rusaw is a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, where he specializes in mergers and acquisitions, private equity and corporate finance. He acts for public and private companies, private equity funds and portfolio companies in domestic, cross-border and international acquisitions, investments, sales processes and financings. Rusaw has significant experience in a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, healthcare, laboratory testing, heavy equipment manufacturing and distribution, technology, movie theatres, mortgage lending, retail and mining. He is also well-versed in venture capital financing and technology.

Read more about Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP on the Agrium proxy contest

Jeffrey Singer

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1994

Jeffrey Singer is managing partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP’s Toronto office and a member of its executive committee and partnership board. He devotes his practice to domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and private equity–related transactions. Singer previously served on the securities advisory committee to the Ontario Securities Commission, a committee of senior securities lawyers who provide policy and other guidance to the OSC. He is also the Canadian contributing editor to the International Finance and Law Review and Federated Press’ Corporate Finance and Innovative Financing publications. Singer has written several articles about domestic and cross-border M&A, capital markets, private equity and sovereign wealth funds, and income funds and REITs, and has spoken domestically and internationally on these subjects.

Read more about Stikeman Elloitt LLP on financing tech growth

Jay A. Swartz

Law firm: Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1975

Jay A. Swartz serves as a senior counsel at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. He specializes in commercial law, with a focus on corporate restructuring, private company acquisitions, banking and debt financing, financial product development, structured finance and private equity funds. He is recognized as one of the country’s top insolvency lawyers and has acted as lead counsel in many Canadian and cross-border insolvencies. Swartz boasts a vast experience in the formation of private investment funds, regulation of banks and financial institutions, and corporate governance. He has helped develop asset-backed securities and derivative businesses in Canada.

Read more about Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP on the use of facial recognition technology

Edward J. Waitzer

Law firm: Stikeman Elliott LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1978

Edward Waitzer is a senior partner and head of the corporate governance group at Stikeman Elliott LLP, where was also chair from 1999 to 2006. He specializes in complex business transactions and advises clients on various public policy and governance matters. Waitzer has served as a director of numerous corporations and community organizations, and writes and speaks extensively on a wide range of legal and public policy issues. He is also a contributing editor on the advisory boards of various publications.

Read more about Stikeman Elliott LLP on private equity investment

David E. Woollcombe

Law firm: McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Year called to the Bar: 1991

David E. Woollcombe is a partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Toronto office. He focuses on mergers and acquisitions and has advised many Canadian and international businesses and private equity firms on acquisition, divestiture and reorganization transactions. He has also represented boards of directors and dissidents on proxy fights, governance and contested matters. Woollcombe has significant experience in capital markets matters and has acted for issuers and investment dealers in a wide variety of cross-border and domestic public offerings and private placements. He regularly advises on joint ventures and related shareholders agreements across a broad range of industries, including natural resources, financial services, technology, consumer products, and media and telecom.

Read more about McCarthy Tétrault LLP on competition and foreign investment