The Top 25 Most Influential - Corporate-Commercial
- Subtitle: Cover Story
Justice 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.
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.
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.
Justice 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.
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.
This article was prepared with the assistance of Anastasiya Jogal
Click here to view the video: Top 25 Most Influential 2015
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.