The Canadian legal sector is home to the ‘Seven Sisters’, consisting of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Goodmans LLP, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, McCarthy Tétrault, Torys, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and Stikeman Elliott LLP; these firms are all headquartered in Toronto, several are found on Bay Street, and have traditionally been considered as the nation’s most prestigious outfits.
In the present legal market, they face competition from several other large domestic players, including Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and Fasken, both of which are among the largest firms in terms of lawyer counts, as well as Bennett Jones LLP, Aird & Berlis LLP, Lawson Lundell LLP, McMillan LLP and Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, all of whom host flourishing multidisciplinary services.
Several international firms are also active in the market, including household names such as Dentons, Norton Rose Fulbright, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP and Baker McKenzie LLP. A number of domestic firms have expanded internationally, most often to New York and London, though Gowling WLG enjoys the largest global platform of any Canadian-headquartered firm, fielding offices throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Toronto serves as the main hub of activity, though standout lawyers are also found in Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, and to a lesser extent Edmonton, Yellowknife and Quebec City. Montreal-based BCF Business Law and McLennan Ross LLP, which has offices in Alberta and the Northwest Territories, are examples of firms who have built reputed multiservice offerings outside of the Ontario market.
A distinguishing characteristic of the Canadian legal market is the abundance of boutiques, many of whom are market leaders within their respective practice areas and leverage a multi-office network. Eminent examples include Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP, which is home to a first-rate construction practice, premier Toronto-based litigation firm Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP, and Green and Spiegel LLP, a dominant player within the immigration field. Elsewhere, Nathanson, Schachter & Thompson is a top-tier name in Vancouver’s disputes market, Cassidy Levy Kent LLP hosts some of Canada’s leading trade specialists, while Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP is a major contender within the employment law field.