GCR 100 - 15th Edition

Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP

04 December 2014


For its numbers, clients and caseload, rivals freely admit that Blake Cassels & Graydon houses the top competition practice in Canada. Led by Who’s Who Legal nominee Brian Facey, the firm counts 16 partners and some 15 other lawyers after hiring three new associates over summer. Since 2010 the firm has also had a document production practice to respond nimbly to supplemental information requests. In early 2014 the competition team said goodbye to Calvin Goldman, who took a partnership at M&A powerhouse Goodmans. He took some big-name clients with him, but the calibre and amount of work has shown little downturn since then.

Facey says his team is handling a flood of so-called mega deals: multibillion-dollar transactions that often need clearance from a handful of enforcers, including Canada’s Competition Bureau. Facey is busy advising Swiss cement company Holcim in its worldwide C$50 billion tie-up with Lafarge, which will see Holcim sell off almost all of its Canadian subsidiary to appease regulators. He and partner Julie Soloway, another Who’s Who Legal entrant, helped Thermo Fisher close its US$13.5 billion merger with Life Technologies after one of the most intense cross-border coordination efforts in the history of antitrust. The team also advised both Omnicom and Publicis on their US$35 billion merger and partner, Navin Joneja, was counsel to Merck & Co in the US$14.2 billion sale of its over-the-counter business to Germany’s Bayer.

“Everyone does everything at our firm because we are such a factory for antitrust cases,” Facey says. Still, some lawyers tend to lean more towards litigation than others. Partner Robert E Kwinter is one of the bar’s top competition litigators, rivals say; he is representing Nestlé against criminal charges that the Swiss company fixed prices with other chocolate makers. Fellow Who’s Who Legal nominee Randall Hofley is on a number of contentious files: representing Mitsui and others in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia class actions alleging price fixing in the ocean shipping industry. Both are also working with Joneja on behalf of Penguin, the only publisher yet to settle with the Competition Bureau in its e-books probe.

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