The Top 25 Most Influential - Corporate Commercial Law
- Subtitle: Cover Story
CORPORATE- COMMERCIAL LAW
Partner, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Calgary
Calgary lawyer Kristine Robidoux is a leading authority on corruption who specializes in helping businesses comply with anti-bribery and corruption laws, including the often-tricky business of operating in foreign jurisdictions. In 2011, she acted as defence counsel in the first prosecution under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. This year, as lead counsel representing Griffiths Energy, which was charged with bribing the Chadian ambassador to Canada, Robidoux oversaw the largest-ever settlement under the CFPOA, to the tune of more than $10 million. By advocating for a robust response to corruption allegations, complete with voluntary disclosures, and turning managers into what she calls “whistle blowers on their own company,” Robidoux has positioned herself as a go-to person for compliance with the CFPOA.
Her proactive approach to dealing with investigations, by trying to display good faith co-operation with authorities, has helped her clients mitigate the fallout from game-changing corruption charges.
What voters had to say: “I worked with Kris on an anti-corruption file over several months. It involved a forensic audit of over 75,000 e-mails and involved the discharge of three top executives due to bribery of elected officials in Africa. She knew her stuff. She worked tirelessly. She was responsive. Amazingly, she was fun and enthusiastic to work with throughout the file. Kris is one of the best lawyers that I have had the pleasure of working with.”
Partner, Stikeman Elliott, Toronto
Alan D’Silva is a veteran commercial litigator with 75 appeals under his belt, including eight appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada. Defending metal producer Timminco Ltd. against fraud allegations before the Ontario Court of Appeal last year, he helped set an important precedent barring plaintiffs from bringing secondary-market class action suits if they failed to get leave to appeal within three years. Experts say the decision could significantly reduce defendants’ exposure in class proceedings. Known also for his philanthropic work, D’Silva has created the Len and Maureen D’Silva Entrance Scholarship for financially disadvantaged law students at the University of Ottawa and is a strong proponent of pro bono work.
What voters had to say: “One of the smartest lawyers around. Well known for his civility in dealing with people.”
Professor, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law,
University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, Ottawa
Michael Geist appeared in the Top 25 in 2012 and 2011 and continues to be a leading voice on technology law. A prolific author and blogger, his column on technology issues appears in the Toronto Star, the Ottawa Citizen, and the BBC. Through his academic work and public outreach, Geist illuminates issues surrounding copyright law and the Internet. He was a leading critic of the embattled Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which was recently rejected by the European Parliament. Expect to hear more from Geist as the federal government seeks Canada’s compliance with the ACTA.
What voters had to say: “Communicates issues well.”
Principal, Groia & Co. PC, Toronto
Securities lawyer Joe Groia found himself at the centre of a debate about the limits on vigorous advocacy in the courtroom when the Law Society of Upper Canada slammed him with a whopping fine of nearly a quarter-million dollars for “uncivil” behaviour. Twelve years ago Groia successfully defended a Bre-X Minerals geologist against insider trading charges, but his conduct during the trial landed him in a prolonged battle with the LSUC. The legal profession remains split, with some applauding his temerity while others suggest he might have gone too far. Groia continues to speak out against the “civility movement,” and plans to appeal the law society’s finding. His case may well redefine the boundaries of acceptable behaviour inside a courtroom.
What voters had to say: “Even if he is found by some to go too far, we need fearless advocates who push and test the bounds that need pushing and testing. Frankly, most of us don’t have that courage.”
Founding partner, Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP, Toronto
Though pushing 70, Alan Lenczner doesn’t seem to be slowing down and is one of Canada’s top litigators. In May, he took on a case seeking to have a Canadian court enforce a $19-billion Ecuadorian judgment against multinational oil giant Chevron Corp. Recently Lenczner made his mark as the “man in Rob Ford’s corner,” as the Toronto Star dubbed him. He was the man who fought the Toronto mayor’s very public conflict of interest charges all the way to the Court of Appeal and was instrumental in helping Ford keep his job as leader of Canada’s largest city. He was named a commissioner of the Ontario Securities Commission this year.
What voters had to say: “From Conrad Black to Rob Ford, he’s been the go-to counsel for folks in big trouble for a very long time and never more than today.”
Page 1: Introduction
Page 3: Top 5 Changemakers
Page 4: Top 5 in Criminal Law/Human Rights
Page 5: Top 5 in Government/Non-Profits/Associations
Page 6: Top 5 In-House Counsel
One of Canada’s most experienced and respected legal journalists, Gail J. Cohen is the former editor in chief of Canadian Lawyer and Law Times, who was responsible for the editorial direction of all the publications in the group, which also includes Candian Lawyer InHouse, Canadian Lawyer 4Students, and the daily Legal Feeds blog. Gail has covered the legal profession in Canada as a reporter and editor since 1997, which had put her in a prime position to access and engage thought leaders in the regulatory, legal, and business realms. Canadian Lawyer and its editorial team have been the recipients of many journalism awards and their publications are highly respected throughout the legal profession in Canada and abroad.