While far from qualifying for "boutique" status, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg houses one of the smaller litigation benches in Toronto. Its stature, however, is anything but small. "Davies litigators can hold their own against anyone, and all of them still have plenty of future ahead of them – that even includes the more senior people."
While its Toronto office attends to a variety of commercial litigation, it is particularly lauded for its presence in the competition area. Sandra Forbes, arguably its most recognized partner dedicated primarily to competition, is acting for DENSO in the numerous cross-border class actions arising from allegations of price fixing of various auto parts. She is also acting for the Canadian Real Estate Association, an intervenor in the appeal before the Federal Court of Appeal between the Commissioner of Competition and the Toronto Real Estate Board, raising important issues of privacy, copyright and the abuse of dominance provisions of the Competition Act. Forbes is also acting for LG Chem in various appeals relating to certification in a lithium ion batteries class action. Matthew Milne-Smith is lead counsel for Morgan Stanley in a class action alleging a conspiracy to fix the prices of certain foreign exchange transactions. He recently argued on behalf of the defendants an appeal in respect of the plaintiffs' ability to issue subpoenas to third parties in the US. He is also co-counsel to West Face Capital in a series of actions commenced against it by a competitor. One action was successfully resolved at trial, and a motion for summary judgment was brought in respect of a second. James Bunting enjoys a varied practice, with recent work that ranges from providing lead counsel in a 2017 tax trial, to representing Tyson Fury, former heavyweight champion of the world, and his cousin Hughie Fury, in defending alleged anti-doping rule violations. This was an arbitration in London, England before a panel administered by the UK National arbitral tribunal. Bunting was brought in as a barrister was lead counsel. The hearing was confidential but a public settlement was reached in December 2017.
After decades of enjoying a position of dominance in the Saskatchewan market, McPherson Leslie & Tyerman made its bid for the Manitoba stakes in early 2017, when it combined with Aikins Macaulay & Thorvaldson to form the combined entity presently known as MLT/Aikins. Established in 1879, Aikins was the oldest law firm in Manitoba. "Aikins is most likely the firm you’ve already heard about before," opines a peer. The firm offers clients a diverse spectrum of legal services, but it is in litigation that the firm perhaps sees its greatest strength and depth; over a third of its lawyers attend to litigation, with 36 practitioners fulfilling this capacity. A competitor confirms, "Aikins tends to attract the biggest commercial work." Additionally, the firm is noted for its work for the Canadian Medical Protective Association.
Senior counsel Thor Hansell is a frequent recipient of praise. Hansell has extensive experience defending physicians and other professionals and regularly is involved in actions for and against brokers and brokerage firms, securities-related litigation, and commercial and tax litigation. He is rated by peers as "one of the best in town. He doesn’t have that disease of ‘folding the file up’ when it gets shakey." Jonathan Kroft is cheered by a client, who testifies, "Jonathan is working with us on a matter, and from what I’ve witnessed he’s got external and internal experience, he’s practical and responsive. He’s quite well known in general litigation." Kroft is lead counsel for Manitoba Telecom Services in seeking approval of a plan of arrangement facilitating a sale to BCE. Civil and commercial litigator Ted Bock, currently the president of the Law Society of Manitoba, is also respected by peers, one of whom states, "I think very highly of him and refer work to him periodically if my firm is in conflicts, which is always a pretty good testament. He is a gentleman and one of the best speakers I’ve heard." Another raves, "I recently finished an 11-day trial where Ted Bock was on the other side. He was absolutely excellent! [He is] also very civil and a treat to work with and against, and I would put him right up there with the best litigator in the [MLT/Aikins] firm."