The Top 25 Most Influential - Corporate-Commercial

  • Subtitle: Cover Story
Written by  Posted Date: August 3, 2015


The Top 25 Most InfluentialJustice David Stratas
Judge, Federal Court of Appeal, Ottawa, Ont.

Stratas penned perhaps the most talked-about decision in the area of employment law this year. It will affect federally regulated employers and employees for years to come. His February Federal Court of Appeal decision in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada flies in the face of 40 years of law allowing federally regulated employers to dismiss employees without cause. Prior to the decision, the consensus was that employees who are governed by the Canada Labour Code could only be terminated for just cause. Many federally regulated organizations including banks, telecommunications companies, and transportation companies view the decision a “victory,” because of its long-term consequences. “The court needs to be a tie-breaker on this issue,” wrote Stratas. As a result of its impact, Joseph Wilson filed for leave to appeal with the Supreme Court of Canada in late March. A decision on leave is pending.

What voters had to say:

“He is the greatest administrative law jurist of our age. The only one going deep into doctrine, making sense of it all.”

“Thoughtful, scholarly, practical, and so hard working. With respect to the last, it seems the cases that have a real impact from the Federal Court of Appeal are written by him. Plain speaking decisions really hammer the important points home.”

The Top 25 Most InfluentialSheila Block
Partner, Torys LLP, Toronto, Ont.

One of the sharpest litigators in the country, Block has served as lead counsel on a recently dismissed $5-billion class action lawsuit against CIBC and a $100-million suit brought by approximately 8,000 residents of Barbados against Manulife. She was also staunch counsel for former Manitoba associate chief justice Lori Douglas in the inquiry of the judge’s role in a scandal involving her deceased husband, one of his former clients, and salacious photos of herself posted online. Block also received an honorary LLD from the Law Society of Upper Canada this year. An advocate dedicated to teaching law in Canada and around the world, she has trained advocates for the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal in Rwanda and the Special Court in Sierra Leone.

What voters had to say:

 “Elle demontre son interet a la fois pour l’education du publique et des affaires.” (She has demonstrated her interest for the education of the public and business.)

The Top 25 Most InfluentialWayne Myles
Counsel, Cox & Palmer, St. John’s, N.L.

Myles’ recent claim to fame is the $3-billion international merger of Barbados-based Columbus International Inc. with England-based Cable & Wireless Communications PLC. His M&A expertise, combined with his dedicated client relationships, have not only resulted in the largest deal in the telecommunications company’s history, but demonstrated that major international deals are being deftly handled by an Atlantic Canadian law firm. He’s also acted as lead counsel and strategic adviser on numerous acquisitions, licensing, and financing of many subsea and terrestrial telecommunications businesses in the international seafood processing and marketing industry. Myles also advised on aviation matters, on many domestic and international commercial insolvency and restructuring projects and on energy and transportation matters.

What voters had to say:

“[An] excellent lawyer with global vision.
Huge asset to any transaction.”

The Top 25 Most InfluentialJustice Ian Nordheimer
Judge, Ontario Supreme Court, Toronto, Ont.

Nordheimer’s name is becoming synonymous with class action suits largely due to his ruling, which overturned Justice Edward Belobaba’s decision in a high-profile case on carriage in the Barrick Gold class action suit. Nordheimer granted the losing coalition of law firms leave to appeal Belobaba’s decision at the Divisional Court. He is likely the most influential Superior Court level judge in the country with a decade on the bench and produces perhaps the greatest number of thorough judgments every year in comparison to any trial level judge. He is known for his quick wit and sharp decisions. In the past year, Nordheimer has made quite a splash in the legal community by upholding a professional discipline penalty for present LSUC bencher Joe Groia and releasing information that revealed Rob Ford was the subject of a police investigation.

What the panel had to say: “He is the kind of judge who should be on the Court of Appeal . . . or higher. A judge of absolute integrity.”

The Top 25 Most InfluentialPoonam Puri

Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, Ont.

Although Puri may not be involved in the largest transactions of the year or most publicized litigation, her work indelibly shapes the arguments and strategies of many lawyers. Her influence is reflected by the eagerness of the Canadian legal community to listen and respond to her perspectives and observations on the current state of the law and recommendations regarding what can be done to develop a more fair, just, and responsive legal system. She has directed research programs including important corporate securities law initiatives in Canada (National Securities Regulator file) and has been recently appointed by the Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa, as the expert adviser for the Credit Unions’ legislative framework review. She is a respected and popular professor and highly regarded by practitioners in the corporate-commercial bar.

What voters had to say:

 “Exceptional talent. Unassuming trendsetter. Wise beyond her years. Will be an influence for many years to come on the corporate stage in Canada. Outstanding research and practical capabilities.”

This article was prepared with the assistance of Anastasiya Jogal

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0 # President and CEO Independent Sports Advisory services! Mediation/arbitration/Financial Mattersjames Francis Regan 2017-02-12 09:30
On a snowy Sunday Morning any committed lawyer should run 20 K just to stay on top of their game!!! Amazing inner strength here!!! Dodging that snow takes lots of hard work! Congratulations Ms. Dellandrea!!
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-15 # M.Francois Godere 2016-02-04 02:56
This message is meant for M. Henein. As a woman you should be ashamed to defend Mr. Gomeshi and denigrate the victims with your unreasonable cross examination. I am certain that you would not feel the same way should it be someone in your family or close to you who would have suffered abuse like these women have. You are a soulless person and you should not help this abuser get away with his crimes.
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0 # Ignorant postMichael Cohen 2017-07-13 14:16
Why does Ms. Henein's gender matter when the sole responsibility of a hired lawyer is to best represent their client in the most effective manner possible? Keep your feminism out o this discussion. She did her job very well otherwise Mr. Ghomeshi would be behind bars right now. Sure, morality does play a role in the law but a lawyer's sole duty is to their client. Should Ms. Henein or any other women that defended Mr. Ghomeshi just say the hell with it, he is my client but I don't like him so I'll just lose on purpose? That's professional and ethical suicide and can lead to your licence being cancelled.

Marie Henein was not a bystander watching this case from the outside as you are. She was hired to do her job and she did it fine. If the opposition had stronger evidence then she would not have won. Learn about the justice system before you make such ignorant remarks.
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Gail J. Cohen

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.

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