Roundup of law firm hires, promotions, departures: Oct. 12, 2022 update

Sixteen law firms made new announcements

Roundup of law firm hires, promotions, departures: Oct. 12, 2022 update

Welcome to this week’s roundup of movements among major law firms, in which we sum up significant hires, promotions, departures, and other announcements.

Aird & Berlis LLP

The firm welcomed seven new associates:

  • Portia Biswas – corporate/commercial, charity & not-for-profit law
  • Simon Dugas – litigation
  • Samantha Hans – financial services
  • Brodie Kirsh – tax, estate and trusts
  • Angela Oh – financial services, sports, media, and entertainment
  • Zachary Sippel – workplace law
  • Jennifer Glied-Goldstein – real estate

Bennett Jones

Martin Ignasiak and Jessica Kennedy joined the firm as partners in Calgary.

Ignasiak and Kennedy advise clients on navigating the energy regulatory landscape. They have worked on some of the country’s biggest oil and gas, pipeline, mining, and electricity generation and transmission projects.

“[Martin and Jessica] will bring exceptional value to the firm’s clients at a time of great opportunity in the Canadian energy, resources, and power sectors,” said Bennett Jones chair and CEO Hugh MacKinnon.‎ “Our regulatory practice is already the deepest and most experienced in Canada and they will make it even stronger with their strategic and business-focused advice to clients.”

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

The Barreau du Québec awarded the Advocatus Emeritus distinction to BLG’s commercial litigation national business leader, Mathieu Piché-Messier. He and other recipients will receive the distinction on November 15 at the Sheraton Center in Montreal.

“Mathieu is an outstanding advocate and leader. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award,” said David Di Paolo, BLG national practice leader for disputes. “His commitment to the firm, his clients, our lawyers, and the community are second to none.”

Piché-Messier focuses his practice on complex litigation from the firm’s Montreal office, with expertise in civil and commercial law and international arbitration.

The Counsel Network

Caldwell Partners International acquired 100% of the shares of The Counsel Network, an executive search firm specializing in the Canadian legal market.

“This combination brings together two strong executive search brands with exceptional reputations borne of a true passion for achieving the best results for clients and candidates,” said Caldwell’s professional services practice managing partner Michael DeCosta. “Lawyer recruitment is a burgeoning sector of the professional services talent acquisition space and [The Counsel Network is] clearly the outright [leader] in this space. We are delighted to have them joining our practice and expanding our ability to serve our clients.”


Securities group partner Jen Hansen was elected to the board of directors for Special Olympics BC. This organization plans year-round sports programs and competitions for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

SOBC described Hansen as “a valued volunteer on the organizing committee for the sports celebrities festival presented by Wheaton Precious Metals” and a sponsor of multiple SOBC fundraising events.

DLA Piper (Canada) LLP

The firm welcomed Jillana Schmidt-Kim and Gavyn Backus to its Vancouver office.

Schmidt Kim joins DLA Piper’s wills, estates, and trusts group. Before joining the firm, she completed a judicial clerkship for five Justices at the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

Backus is a corporate law generalist with a focus on technology.

Dickinson Wright

John Leslie was named director of cross-border practices at Dickinson Wright while continuing his insolvency and restructuring practice and position as Canadian practice group chair.

“… John will lead a team of lawyers from our Toronto and US offices to guide our clients through legal questions involving a wide range of areas from trade and customs to real estate to corporate services and litigation,” said firm CEO Michael Hammer. “His breadth of experience in helping companies expand operations and investments in Canada and … into the United States is unparalleled.”


Farris welcomed Todd Bell as the firm’s litigation partner and Wayne Fernandes as a litigation/family law associate.

Bell’s practice areas include the division of high net-worth assets, parenting and custody litigation, and assisting parties seeking emergency protection from family violence.


Mélanie Béland was named counsel at the firm’s commercial litigation practice group at its Montreal office.

“With over 20 years of experience in law, Mélanie’s extensive knowledge of the securities field – whether in a litigious context or as strategic counsel – represents a major asset for our clients, who will benefit from this unique expertise,” said Fasken, managing partner for the Quebec region Éric Bédard.

Her two decades of experience include 12 years of prosecuting for the AMF’s litigation department.


Adam Aptowitzer joined the firm in the newly created role of national leader for charitable and not-for-profit law. Aptowitzer’s colleagues, Alexandra Tzannidakis and Karen Cooper, also joined as senior associate and counsel to the firm.

Aptowitzer, Tzannidakis, and Cooper advise charities, not-for-profits, private taxpayers and corporations, focusing on compliance and dispute resolution. Aptowitzer has also authored papers on charity and tax law.

“Charities and not-for-profits are addressing some of the most pressing social and environmental issues and face increasing demands from donors and the public,” said KPMG Law senior partner Justin Kutyan. “We are excited to join forces with Adam and his team to assist these organizations to understand their legal and tax obligations and provide practical advice that supports the high ethical standards and expectations of Canadians.”


Stéphanie Girard joined the firm’s intellectual property group.

She advises businesses on trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, advertising law, and the Charter of the French language.

McCarthy Tétrault

The Barreau du Québec awarded the Advocatus Emeritus distinction to the firm’s partner David Emmanuel Roberge.

“David is a partner whose community involvement and professionalism are widely recognized within the legal profession,” said regional managing partner for Quebec, Karl Tabbakh. “David is not only widely respected in the courtroom but also for his contributions to the profession through his publications and his role on numerous committees.”

Minden Gross LLP

The firm welcomed Abi Uthirakumaran into its business law group and Carol Lio into its bankruptcy and insolvency group and litigation group.

Pallett Valo LLP

The Peel Region-based firm grew its construction law practice by adding Catherine DiMarco as a partner.

DiMarco has been certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in construction law. She brings over 17 years of experience to the firm and is currently the vice-chair and executive member of the Ontario Bar Association construction and infrastructure law section.

Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers

The firm welcomed Jane Huh as a new associate counsel.

Huh has experience as a collaborative family lawyer and mediator and is an active member of the Collaborative Divorce Toronto committees and board.

Stikeman Elliott

Two associates joined the firm’s Vancouver office:

  • Chris Chu – corporate
  • Edward Deng – real estate

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