Blake, Cassels & Graydon

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Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Blakes logo.jpg
HeadquartersToronto, Ontario, Canada
No. of offices9
No. of attorneys618 (2017)[1]
Key people
  • Brock Gibson QC (Chairman)
  • Robert M. Granatstein (Managing Partner)
Date founded1856
FounderEdward Blake
Company typeLimited liability partnership
SloganBlakes Means Business

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes) is an international corporate law firm based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

It has the strongest law firm brand in Canada according to the 2018 Acritas survey.[2][3][4] Blakes has a long-standing relationship with London-based Linklaters & Alliance.[5]

Founded in 1856 by Dominick Edward Blake, Blakes has offices in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, New York City, London, Bahrain, Beijing and associated offices in Al-Khobar and Shanghai. It is a charter member in Lex Mundi, a referral network of independent law firms. Blakes is an advisory member of TechLaw Group, Inc. Since 2009, the Chair of Blakes is Brock Gibson, and since 2002 Robert Granatstein has been the Firm Managing Partner.


Blakes was launched in 1856 after Dominick Edward Blake was called to the bar and entered into partnership with Stephen M. Jarvis in Toronto.[6] Soon it was Blake & Blake when brother Samuel Hume Blake joined.

In 1867 Blakes incorporated what would become Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The bank remains one of the firm's oldest clients. In 1878 Blakes was the first business in Canada to install a telephone system that provided a direct link to the offices of the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada at Osgoode Hall.

In 1882 Zebulon Aiton Lash joined Blakes and began building a corporate law practice.[7] By 1885, with 15 lawyers, Blakes was among the largest corporate law firms in the young Canadian Confederation.

In 1894, Clara Brett Martin articled at Blake's. She was called to the bar in 1897, becoming the first woman lawyer in Ontario and the British Empire.[8]

In 1930 Blakes moved to Toronto's 25 King Street West, a 34-storey, 145-metre structure that was the tallest building in the British Commonwealth for more than 30 years. In 1953 the firm's name was changed to Blake, Cassels & Graydon.[9]

In 1959, Blakes was counsel to the appellant in the case of Frankel Corp. Ltd. v. Minister of National Revenue, S.C.R. 713. The results of this case determined when a taxpayer has a separate business.

In 1968 Blakes represented the defendant in the case of Composers, Authors and Publishers Assoc. of Canada Limited v. CTV Television Network Limited et al., S.C.R. 676. The plaintiff's contention that the defendants had infringed section 3(1)(f) of the Copyright Act by communicating the named musical works by radio communication could not be supported on the literal meaning of the statute because, in view of the statutory definitions, what was communicated was not "the works" but "a performance of the works". By 1970 Blakes had grown to 66 lawyers.

In 1979 Blakes represented the defendant in R. v. Chapin, 2 S.C.R. 121. After two trials and two appeals, it was determined that the Migratory Birds Convention Act is a regulatory statute enacted for the general welfare of the Canadian public and its wildlife. Section 14(1) creates a "public welfare offence" and it is not subject to the presumption of full mens rea. The next year Blakes was part of Labatt Breweries of Canada Ltd. v. Attorney General of Canada 1 S.C.R. 914. Blakes won the case for the appellant as it was determined that section B.02.130 to B.02.135 of the Food and Drug Regulations are invalid and that Sections 6 and 25(1)(c) of the Food and Drugs Act are ultra vires Parliament in so far as they relate to malt liquors.

In 1985 Blakes opened an office in Calgary, where the firm became an advisor to the energy sector. In 1986 Blakes was among the first Canadian law firms to expand internationally with an office in London, England. The firm continued to expand, opening an office in Vancouver in 1989 which focuses on natural resources companies, financial institutions, technology businesses and governments. Its Ottawa office, opened in 1990, serves clients interfacing with lawmakers, federal agencies and technology companies.

In 1994, Blakes represented the respondent in Schmidt v. Air Products Canada Ltd., 2 SCR 611, the first Supreme Court of Canada decision concerning pension surplus and contribution holidays.

In 1998 the firm opened an office in Beijing to serve clients involved in the East-West commercial trade.[10] Blakes' Montréal office was launched in 2001, focusing on banking, financial services, securities, mergers and acquisitions, energy and information technology businesses.

In 2003 Blakes created the Daily Bread Toronto Law Firm Challenge,[11] which engages a number of Toronto law firms to raise money for the Daily Bread Food Bank. That year the challenge raised over C$60,000.

In 2004 Blakes opened offices in the United States to serve cross-border clients. In 2009 the firm opened an office in Manama, Bahrain, forming an association with the firm of Saud Al-Ammari in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.[12] That year Blakes served as council to the respondent in the case of Grant v. Torstar Corp., SCC 61, [2009] 3 SCR 640—, where the Supreme Court recognized the defence of responsible journalism against a claim of defamation.

In 2011 Blakes is recognized as "one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers"[13] for the fourth consecutive time by Mediacorp Canada Inc. In '2012 Blakes donated C$383,000 to the Fondation du Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) and the McGill University Health Centre Foundation's (MUHC) joint corporate campaign to raise funds for university hospitals.[14]

In 2012 Blakes was counsel to the defendants in Andersen v. St. Jude Medical, Inc., 2012 ONSC 3660. The court's dismissal of the plaintiff's action marked the end of the first product liability class action/common issues trial to be completed in Ontario.

Notable members and alumni[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Robert Brown, The House that Blakes Built (Toronto: Blake, Cassels, August 1980).
  • Joseph Schull, Edward Blake: The Man of the Other Way (1833-1881) (Toronto: MacMillan of Canada, 1975).


  1. ^ "The 2018 Global 100 Ranked by Revenue".
  2. ^ "The Global 100 Grew by Leaps and Bounds in 2018".
  3. ^ "Canadian Firms Still Favored in Canada but Global Firms Gain Ground".
  4. ^ "Canada Brand Indexes 2018".
  5. ^ "Riding the global M&A wave".
  6. ^ Joseph Schull, Edward Blake: Leader and Exile, 1881-1912 (Toronto: MacMillan of Canada, 1976).
  7. ^ Christopher Moore. The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario's Lawyers, 1797-1997. University of Toronto Press; 1997. ISBN 978-0-8020-4127-2. p. 153–.
  8. ^ Backhouse, Constance (2005). "Martin, Clara Brett". In Cook, Ramsay; Bélanger, Réal (eds.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. XV (1921–1930) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  9. ^ T.D. Regehr, "Élite Relationships, Partnership Arrangements, and Nepotism at Blakes, a Toronto law Firm, 1858–1942," in Essays in the History of Canadian Law, ed. Carol Wilton (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), 207-247.
  10. ^ Article in Lawyers Weekly
  11. ^ About the Daily Food Bank Law Firm Challenge. Financial Post, 2012 12 07
  12. ^ "Blakes first Canadian firm to hang shingle in Saudi Arabia" Law Times, 2009-08-03
  13. ^ Best diversity employer by Mediacorp Canada Inc. Financial Post, 2011-02=25
  14. ^ Blakes makes donation to Montreal Hospitals. Canadian Lawyer,

External links[edit]