The Top 25 Most Influential 2016 - Corporate-Commercial

  • Subtitle: Cover Story
Written by  Posted Date: August 1, 2016


Éloïse Gratton Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP Montreal

In the current age where the importance of and even the meaning of privacy mean so many different things to different generations, Gratton is a forward thinker who leverages her in-depth understanding of privacy laws to practical business solutions. One of Canada’s foremost experts in the field of privacy, Gratton is recognized as the “go to” person, relied upon by both federal and provincial privacy commissioners, as well as by the federal government. In April, she provided a paper on the right to be forgotten and online reputation to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Gratton writes and maintains an award-winning blog called “Privacy and IT Law” and is one of the most sought-after speakers at privacy conferences — including the Canadian Privacy Summit and the IAPP’s Global Privacy Summit & Canada Privacy Symposium — and in the media.

What voters had to say:

“Thank you for ensuring that privacy matters.”

“Ten steps ahead of everyone on privacy matters, great university teacher.”

“Passionate, sharp, and eloquent.”

Bindu Cudjoe Deputy general counsel and chief administrative officer, BMO Financial Group Toronto

Cudjoe leads the operations of the legal, compliance, and investigative & security services groups for BMO. She has driven BMO’s external law firm management program including the creation of management tools and their governance model. She was the founding member of the Diversity Council of the legal, corporate & compliance group and is co-chairwoman of the talent development committee in the areas of recruitment and retention. She spearheaded efforts to align a fresh recruiting process with best practices for diverse recruitment and retention and is also an advocate for diversity in-house, which she does at BMO and with her work with the South Asian Bar Association.

What voters had to say:

“She is a mentor and leader in the provision of legal services. She has a great vision, and her approach is freshly innovative.”

Neil Finkelstein Partner, McCarthy Tétrault LLP Toronto

Finkelstein has been particularly active in high-profile commercial litigation cases recently. Among them, he represented the successful appellant Harish Bhasin, in Bhasin v. Hrynew, in which the Supreme Court of Canada for the first time recognized a legal duty to act honestly and in good faith in their contractual obligations. It’s a landmark decision that dramatically impacts the obligations of all parties to commercial contracts in Canada. Finkelstein was also lead counsel to Abbott Laboratories in Charlton v. Abbott Laboratories, Ltd., which set an important precedent in the area of product liability class actions; and Uber Canada Inc. in Edmonton (City) v. Uber Canada Inc., where he defeated an application by the city for an interlocutory injunction to prevent Uber from operating in Edmonton.

What voters had to say:

“Finkelstein’s helming of one of the most important contract cases in the last 20 years is another feather in the cap of his storied litigation career.”

Carol Hansell Founder and senior partner, Hansell LLP Toronto

Hansell was recently appointed by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government to chair the Business Law Advisory Council, where she’ll lead the team making recommendations to modernize the province’s business law framework. Over the past decade or so, Hansell has turned herself from an M&A lawyer into a champion of corporate governance. Expanding her horizons further, at the beginning of this year, Hansell LPP launched Hansell Board Evaluations providing expert, independent guidance to boards in identifying opportunities to enhance their effectiveness. In May, she launched a unique, powerhouse advisory firm, Hansell McLaughlin Advisory, which brings together legal, government relations, and communications teams.

What voters had to say:

“Inspirational role model for women in corporate law.”

Justice Frank Newbould Ontario Superior Court Toronto

Newbould, the team lead of the Commercial List Court in Toronto, has been lauded by all sides for his formidable work in the unprecedented and lengthy cross-border Nortel trial — the largest insolvency restructuring proceeding in Canadian history. He not only had to work with a U.S. judge hearing the complicated case from a Delaware court, he also embraced the technology that made it all happen in real time. His work on one of the most complex cases in the country was exemplary in a province that still struggles to introduce technology to its courtrooms. Leave to appeal his decision on the pro-rata allocation of assets among the Nortel estates was denied by the Ontario Court of Appeal in May.

What voters had to say:

“Justice Newbould’s no-nonsense attitude and embracing of technology were important aspects to the successful conduct of this complex matter that involved legions of counsel in multiple jurisdictions.”

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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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