Canada: CBXchange - May 2014 Issue
Last Updated: May 8 2014

FIRM NEWS

Cassels Brock Continues Vancouver Expansion

Our thriving Vancouver office celebrated its second anniversary in April. It has grown by leaps and bounds since opening, and currently has a complement of 13 lawyers, 2 law clerks, 2 articling students and 2 incoming summer students ready to serve our clients.

The newest addition to the Vancouver office is partner Darrell W. Podowski, who brings 20 years of experience to our top-ranked Mining Group. Darrell was recently recognized by Who's Who Legal as one of the top five highly-regarded individuals in mining law in the world. We're thrilled that he has joined us.

For more information about our Vancouver office, read partner Jennifer Traub's interview in CFReview here.

RANKINGS & RECOGNITIONS

The expertise of Cassels Brock is consistently recognized by leading industry guides and publications. Cassels Brock is listed as a top firm by both Best Lawyers in Canada and The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory in multiple areas: Asset & Equipment Financing, Banking & Financial Services, Copyright, Entertainment and Sports, Franchise, Mining and Natural Resources, Product Liability, Real Estate, Municipal and Land Development, Securities and Corporate Finance. The firm is also consistently ranked as top tier by Chambers Global and Who's Who Legal.

In the past year alone, our lawyers have recieved recognition through rankings on 189 occasions.

SPOTLIGHT

Bringing together the best from around the world

We're proud of the intertnational appeal Cassels Brock has developed, tempting practitioners from all over the world who are looking to join a Canadian law firm with global reputation. We've welcomed...

...Seema Aggarwal and Patience Omokhodion from the United Kingdom
Seema is an associate in the Restructuring and Insolvency Group. Prior to joining the firm, she was a Managing Associate at a Linklater's. Patience spent 5 years practising at Clifford Chance LLP. She's now a member of our Financial Services Group.

...Erin Craddock and Peter Wright from New York
Erin's practice focuses on insolvency law and complex commercial litigation. She studied at Cornell University and was called to the bar in New York in 2009, where she practiced with Weil, Gotshal. She then joined Cassels Brock as an associate in 2011. Peter Wright was called to the bar in 2005 and practiced with Paul, Weiss until 2011. He then joined Cassels Brock as an associate in our Securities Group.

...Patrick Petzall from Venezuela
Patrick is a member of the Business Law Group at Cassels Brock focusing on the resources sector. He joined us in 2012. Prior to joining the firm, he practised law in Caracas, Venezuela. Coincidentally, Patrick practised at the same Venezulean firm as Cassels Brock partner, France Tenaille. Together they bring to the firm nearly 20 years of experience practising in Latin America.

RECENT BIG DEALS & CASES

  • Schedule 1 Bank Capital Raising: Assisted Equitable Bank in its $150 million deposit note issue.
  • International Acquisition: Represented Hitachi Capital Canada Corp. in the acquisition of CLE Leasing Enterprises Ltd.
  • Real Estate Investment Trust: Acted as counsel to Canadian Tire in CT Real Estate Investment Trust's $263.5 million initial public offering.
  • Tax Litigation: Represented Henco Industries Ltd. in its $16 million tax dispute over amounts paid by the Province of Ontario to end the lawlessness and civil unrest in Caledonia.
  • Multi-Jurisdictional Securities Litigation: Represented a Canadian publicly traded company in securities class actions commenced in three Canadian jurisdictions and in the Southern District of New York and negotiated a global settlement of all four claims. The settlement is subject to court approval.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Featuring Robyn Collver

Robyn Collver articled at Cassels Brock in 1988-89. She joined the firm as a business law associate after her call to the bar in 1990. Robyn left Cassels Brock for Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC), a firm client, in 2002 where she assumed the position of Associate General Counsel. Having risen through the ranks, Robyn now holds the positions of Senior Vice-President, Secretary and General Counsel.

We thank Robyn for agreeing to grant the following interview to CBXchange.

Do you remember who conducted your student interview?
Robyn: Of course! Don Arthurs interviewed me and he was very engaging. That factored into my decision to accept an articling position with Cassels Brock. I also liked the size of the firm. It was big enough for me to get a full range of experience but still small enough to avoid feeling like just another cog in the wheel.

Did you always know you wanted to be a corporate lawyer?
Robyn:
I almost fainted during my law school moot, so I knew litigation wasn't for me. I wanted to do something where I could use my undergrad degree (in business administration) and help people move forward with their businesses. So yes, I knew early on that being a corporate lawyer was for me.

How did Cassels Brock play a part in your career path?
Robyn: I feel very fortunate that a group of partners in the firm's business law group mentored, supported and invested in me from the very start of my career. In 1995, when I was a fifth-year associate, my husband and I were expecting our first daughter. I remember telling Bruce Clark that I didn't think it was possible for me to manage both being a mom and continuing to work on Bay Street. Bruce was instrumental in devising an arrangement that allowed me to work exclusively for one client in order to retain "regular business hours" for the next two years. Serendipitously, that client was Canadian Tire. After my second daughter was born in 1998, I returned to the firm and was made partner in 2000.
In 2001, I accepted a secondment with Canadian Tire, working on a number of interesting treasury projects. After I returned to the firm, CTC offered me the position of Associate General Counsel. Cassels Brock supported me in my decision to accept the role and I have been with CTC ever since.

What do you like about your position with Canadian Tire?
Robyn:
I love many things about my job. CTC is an innovative and diverse company involved in many interesting projects - you may know that we created a bank and a REIT in the last ten years. l am part of a high-performing team and I love the calibre of the intellect within the organization. My role allows me to contribute to projects from start-to-finish, as opposed to just providing legal advice from the outside -- and I find great satisfaction in seeing projects through to the end. I can honestly say that I've never had a dull day with Canadian Tire.

Any fond memories of Cassels Brock?
Robyn: Oh lots! The one that's popping to mind right now is being on a little commuter plane with Jake Bullen. We had pulled an all-nighter at a Montreal firm, and they hadn't fed us a thing. We grabbed these huge smoked meat sandwiches on the way to the airport and ate them on the plane. The whole plane smelled like those sandwiches and the other passengers were very disapproving! But Jake was still a growing boy back then and needed to be fed!

Have things changed much at Cassels Brock since you left?
Robyn: Cassels Brock has grown and is much bigger now – it's been exciting to watch. The firm also has specific areas of specialization that distinguishes it from many of the other Bay Street firms.

Do you keep in touch with anyone at Cassels Brock or other alum?
Robyn: Yes, both through work and socially. I truly value the relationships that developed during my time with the firm and have many fond memories of my peers. I enjoy running into people I used to work for as an associate from time to time. And I recently had dinner with Ann Watterworth, Cathy Mercer and Lori Prokopich, which was a lot of fun.

PEOPLE

We recently added significant strength to our Restructuring and Insolvency Group...

Ryan Jacobs
Partner

Jane Dietrich
Partner

Michael Wunder
Partner

Natalie Levine
Associate

R. Shayne Kukulowicz
Partner

The following practice groups have also grown with the addition of these exceptional new lawyers...

Darrell Podowski
Joined the firm as a partner in the Securities Group.

Bernd Christmas
Joined the firm as a partner in the Aboriginal Law Group.

Adrianna Pilkington
Joined the firm as an associate in the Municipal, Planning and Environmental Law Group.

Mark St. Cyr
Joined the firm as an associate in the Construction Law Group.

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