Canadian Litigation Forum

Toronto - November 26, 2019

Sun Life Financial Tower (Vantage Venues)
16th Floor
150 King Street West, Toronto

Founding Partners


Part of the wider Canadian Legal Innovation Forum, the Canadian Litigation Forum’s inaugural event launches in Toronto in November, 2019. The purpose of the forum is to build a national leadership network of litigators focused on innovation in their respective practice areas. It will focus on core, topical themes relevant to litigators and the attendant challenges faced by the businesses they work alongside. Proposed panel, presentation and debate themes outlined below.


Proposed panel, presentation and interview topics for the Canadian Litigation Forum (full agenda below).

  • Setting the scene: the Canadian litigation landscape.

  • Litigation Finance.

  • The application of technology and litigation.

  • International Arbitration - a new paradigm emerges.

  • Debate. Litigation: Big Law vs Boutique?


  • Half Day, afternoon forum (followed by networking drinks) in Toronto (November 27th)

  • 100 attendees. Participants split between: law firms, in-house counsel and legal sector service providers. 

  • CPD professionalism credits available to attendees (application under review by LSO)


Setting the scene: the Canadian litigation landscape.
As the business and political landscape evolves in Canada and abroad, so does the complexity of litigation risk for Canadian companies. Companies are facing increasing risk in areas such as climate change litigation, enhanced privacy laws and uncertainty regarding corporate criminal penalties and deferred prosecution agreements. Here, the panel will present on and discuss these trends that are both present and on the horizon for companies when it comes to litigation risk. And, how Canadian lawyers can prepare and innovate to address them.

The business of litigation: navigating a post hourly fee world
The business of litigation is evolving, particularly when it comes to disputes. Alternative financing structures, the emergence of law firms taking on more financial risk and alternative fee structures are all playing key roles. Litigation finance - litigation costs financed by a third party - provides a good example of how companies can better manage litigation risk and points to a new model for alignment of client, law firm and investor incentives. However, these financial innovations also create ethical implications. Some say it encourages the pursuit of profit over cases’ merits, burdens an overcrowded courts system and prompts other ethical considerations. This panel will look at the current and future landscape of the business of litigation in Canada and international jurisdictions.

Chair: Paul Rand, Chief Investment Officer, Bentham IMF

The application of technology and litigation.

E-Discovery and related technologies have been the lynchpin of litigation for many years, and
their potential for multiple areas of application is expanding. Social media, instant messaging apps and data are now ubiquitous in society and business. This emergence creates large sets of data requiring review and analysis when it comes to investigations. In response, companies and law firms are developing solutions - driven by AI/machine learning, enhanced legal research capabilities and advanced project management techniques - to address these challenges. This panel will look at the current context of technology in litigation, the tools currently available to practitioners and what the future looks like in the near to mid-term.

Lisa Alleyne, Senior Legal Counsel, eDiscovery, Scotiabank
Carla Swansburg, President & General Manager (Canada), Epiq

Chair: TBC


International Arbitration - a new paradigm emerges.
In international arbitration, the use of ISDS (investor state dispute settlement) is an important
legal mechanism for Canadian companies to protect their investments abroad. And, as
globalization’s evolution now finds itself centred around investment and uncertain politics, it’s
under the microscope. As a result, ISDS has become politicized - in both domestic and international spheres. It played a prominent role in the recent NAFTA/USMCA negotiations, prompting opposition from both policymakers and citizens. Yet, when considering the facts and alternatives, it remains the most effective tool to resolve disputes between companies and foreign governments. This panel will focus on the current international arbitration landscape for Canadian companies. What tools do companies have at their disposal to protect their overseas investments? What evolutions can we expect considering the current domestic and international political landscape? And what opportunities does it provide for lawyers to evolve their own practices in light of this?
Debate. Litigation: Big Law vs Boutique?
Here, our panelists will debate the the roles and relative merits that large law firms and boutique firms have in the current litigation context. We will also hear the client perspective in terms of their emerging requirements from external counsel. The debate will centre on how law firms - in the face of innovation and change in the sector - are in turn adjusting their own models to meet the challenges their clients face.


  • 1 x Litigator from Large Law Firm

  • 1x Litigator from Boutique Firm

  • 1 x Litigation Counsel - Large Company

  • 1 x Litigation Counsel - Smaller company