Photos courtesy of McCarthy Tétrault LLP, WeirFoulds LLP, Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, and Davis LLP
|Frédéric Cotnoir, Law ’99, Paul Guy, Law ’03, Leanne Krawchuk, Law ’97, and Justin Mooney, Law ’02|
Four remarkable grads practising in three major cities -- Frédéric Cotnoir, Law ’99, Paul Guy, Law ’03, Leanne Krawchuk, Law ’97, and Justin Mooney, Law ’02 -- were named in December’s list of Lexpert’s 2012 Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40.
At its annual gala dinner and awards presentation held in Toronto, the magazine paid tribute to the special group of upcoming “stars,” whose impressive skills and accomplishments have already made an impact on Canada’s legal profession.
Frédéric Cotnoir, a corporate and securities lawyer with McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Montreal, has been involved in a number of notable business deals over the years, including the BCE-proposed purchase of Astral Media, the Desjardins Group’s 2011 acquisition of Western Financial, and the divestiture of Hydro-Québec’s interest in Latin-America. He says, “The most interesting part of my work is bringing people together to achieve their goals. You can be extremely creative, but you need to listen to each party and present something that achieves everybody’s objective.”
Regularly nominated as his firm’s Mentor of the Year, Cotnoir sits on the board of Le Vivier, a community initiative that facilitates the development of new music, and is a supporter of Montreal’s Esprit de Corps’ Foundation, which provides life coaching and fundraising for challenged “monoparental” families.
When Cotnoir attended Queen’s he was a joint civil law/common law student with a civil law degree from Sherbrooke. As a francophone he found the first few months challenging, but it was easier, he says, coping with “legal” English, “a specific expertise,” than with conversational English. He remembers fondly the property law course given by Professor (now Dean) Bill Flanagan and his time as a member of the Golden Gaels volleyball team.
Paul Guy, a partner at WeirFoulds LLP in Toronto, specializes in corporate commercial, insolvency, and public law litigation. Among his high profile clients has been former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Guy says he finds it intellectually exciting to work on “interesting, complicated and important legal issues with very smart people -- not just my colleagues, but accomplished lawyers on the other side as well.” That’s why it was a highlight, he adds, to argue the complicated AbitibiBowater restructuring case recently before the Supreme Court of Canada. “That was a cutting-edge insolvency law problem involving constitutional law as well.”
Guy also acted at the Supreme Court of Canada for a group of commercial BC fishers challenging an affirmative action program that allowed an aboriginal band exclusive fishing rights. “It was a monumental event in their life and an important issue for the development of Canadian constitutional law.”
In the decade since his own student days, Guy has been heavily involved in recruiting and mentoring students at his firm. Recalling his time at Queen’s, he says the Legal Aid clinic had a huge impact on him. “It really prepared me for the practice of law -- everything from interacting with clients, to interviewing witnesses, to getting into court and making an argument.”
Leanne Krawchuk, who works in Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate and Commercial at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP in Edmonton, says the best part of her job is dealing with clients. “At the end of the day the most rewarding part is developing clients who come to see you as their trusted advisor. You see that with longer-term clients -- and in law practice you do hope that your clients are long-term. I enjoy hearing about and dealing with the finer points of their businesses.”
While involved in the mining, technology, engineering and construction sectors, she has also acted as a director and chair of the Governance Committee of the Women Building Futures Society and has worked as a pro bono legal advisor and Secretary to the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation.
Krawchuk credits her “fantastic” professor (now Dean) Bill Flanagan with piquing her interest in her field. “He always had real case studies and made corporate law very interesting and exciting.”
Justin Mooney, who practises corporate/commercial and real estate law with Davis LLP in Toronto, says, “I get the most kick out of helping people with their business issues –- entrepreneurs in particular. I like helping them bring their ideas to fruition and strategizing with them on ways to grow their businesses. In one case, I helped an Italian immigrant who came here with nothing, started a business, and sold it 30 years later for $50 million. I was there when he got the cheque; that’s a moment that sticks out in my mind.”
Mooney, who is also qualified as a lawyer in England and Wales and has practised in London, is among the founding directors of both the Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra and East Coast Connected, a professional networking hub for people from Atlantic Canada who now live in the GTA.
While complimentary about Queen’s Law faculty overall, he singles out Professor Don Stuart. “I had him in my first year. I thought he was phenomenal.”
Clearly, that’s how the Rising Stars Advisory Board feels about these graduates.