Blake, Cassels & Graydon

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Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Blakes logo.jpg
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario, Canada
No. of offices 11 in 7 countries worldwide
No. of employees 1441 (Canada)
Major practice areas General Practice
Key people
  • Brock Gibson QC (Chairman)
  • Robert M. Granatstein (Managing Partner)
Date founded 1856
Founder Edward Blake
Company type Limited liability partnership
Slogan Blakes Means Business

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes) is an international corporate law firm based in Canada. It is one of the "Seven Sisters" in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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. The Firm's international capabilities are extended by its charter membership in Lex Mundi, the world's largest non-exclusive referral network of independent law firms with member firms in 160 jurisdictions. Blakes is an advisory member of TechLaw Group, Inc., an international network of 18 law firms in more than 31 countries, whose primary mission is to advance clients' interests in all areas of technology-related business.

The current Chair of Blakes is Brock Gibson. He was elected to this post in January 2009 and is the first leader to hail from one of the Firm's offices in Western Canada. Robert Granatstein has been the Firm Managing Partner since 2002. Blakes also has office managing partners in each of its other offices.

Blakes: A History[edit]

1856 Blakes was launched after Dominick Edward Blake3,5 was called to the bar and entered into partnership with Stephen M. Jarvis in Toronto. Soon it was Blake & Blake when brother Samuel Hume Blake joined.

1867 Blakes incorporated what would become Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, one of the Firm’s most valued and oldest clients.

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.

1882 Zebulon Aiton Lash[permanent dead link]11 joined Blakes and built a corporate law practice that earned him a reputation as “the foremost Canadian corporation lawyer” of his time and as one of “The Ten Greatest Canadian Lawyers Ever,”12 according to Canadian Lawyer[permanent dead link] magazine.

1885 With 15 lawyers, Blakes was already among the largest and leading corporate law firms in the young Canadian Confederation.

1894 Blakes helped start the legal career of Clara Brett Martin10, the first woman lawyer in Ontario and the British Empire. After articling at Blakes, she was called to the bar in 1897.

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.

1953 The Firm’s name was changed to Blake, Cassels & Graydon9.

1959 Frankel Corp. Ltd. v. Minister of National Revenue, S.C.R. 713—Blakes was counsel to the appellant in this leading case for determining when a taxpayer has a separate business.

1968 Composers, Authors and Publishers Assoc. of Canada Limited v. CTV Television Network Limited et al., S.C.R. 676—Blakes represented the defendant. 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”.

1970 In the decade when Canada formally joined the G7 of leading industrial nations and hosted the Montreal Summer Olympics, Blakes had grown to 66 lawyers.

1979 R. v. Chapin, 2 S.C.R. 121—Blakes represented the defendant. 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.

1980 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.

1985 Blakes became one of Canada’s first “national law firms” after opening an office in Calgary, where the Firm continues to be a leading adviser to the energy sector.

1986 Blakes was among the first Canadian law firms to expand internationally with an office in London, England, which extended the Firm’s reach throughout Eastern and Western Europe.

1989 Blakes continued to expand west with an office in Vancouver that has since grown to be a leading adviser to natural resources companies, financial institutions, technology businesses and governments.

1990 Blakes opened its Ottawa office, an invaluable link for clients interfacing with lawmakers, federal agencies and the region’s thriving technology sector.

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

1998 The Blakes Beijing office opened to serve clients involved in the ever-increasing flow of East-West commercial trade. Today, Blakes is the only major Canadian law firm with an office in China. [1]

2001 Blakes launched its office in Montréal, a leading Canadian centre for banking, financial services, securities, mergers and acquisitions, energy and information technology businesses.

2003 Blakes creates the Daily Bread Toronto Law Firm Challenge,13 which engages a number of Toronto law firms to raise money for the Daily Bread Food Bank. In 2003, the challenge raised over C$60,000.

2004 Blakes expanded south of the border to better serve cross-border clients with the establishment of offices in the United States.

2009 Blakes is the first Canadian law firm to establish a presence in the Persian Gulf region, opening an office in Manama, Bahrain, and forming an exclusive association with the firm of Dr. Saud Al-Ammari in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. [2]

2009 Grant v. Torstar Corp., SCC 61, [2009] 3 SCR 640—Served as counsel to the respondent in this case where the Supreme Court recognized the defence of responsible journalism against a claim of defamation.

2011 Blakes is recognized as “one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers”16 for the fourth consecutive time by Mediacorp Canada Inc.

2012 Blakes donates C$383,000 to Quebec’s medical industry. The donation was made in support of the Fondation du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) and the McGill University Health Centre Foundation’s (MUHC) joint corporate campaign15 to revitalize Montréal’s university hospitals.

2012 Andersen v. St. Jude Medical, Inc., 2012 ONSC 3660—Blakes was counsel to the defendants. The court dismissed the plaintiff's action in its entirety. This much-anticipated decision was the culmination of the first product liability class action/common issues trial to be completed in Ontario.

Notable members and alumni[edit]


  1. Blakes listing in Lex Mundi
  2. Blakes listing in TechLaw
  3. Dominick Edward Blake Wikipedia Listing
  4. Dominick Edward Blake Political Biography
  5. Joseph Schull, Edward Blake: The Man of the Other Way (1833-1881) (Toronto: MacMillan of Canada, 1975).
  6. Joseph Schull, Edward Blake: Leader and Exile, 1881-1912 (Toronto: MacMillan of Canada, 1976).
  7. Robert Brown, The House that Blakes Built (Toronto: Blake, Cassels, August 1980).
  8. Forster, Ben; Swainger, Jonathan (1998). "Blake, Edward". In Cook, Ramsay; Hamelin, Jean. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. XIV (1911–1920) (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. Backhouse, Constance (2005). "Martin, Clara Brett". In Cook, Ramsay; Bélanger, Réal. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. XV (1921–1930) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 
  11. Zebulon Ailon Lash Wikipedia Listing
  12. Top Ten Greatest Lawyers Ever – Canadian Lawyer Magazine
  13. About the Daily Food Bank Law Firm Challenge
  14. Announcement: Blakes donates scholarship to University of Toronto – William Hume Blake
  15. Blakes makes donation to Montreal Hospitals
  16. Best diversity employer by Mediacorp Canada Inc.
  17. Blakes Scholarship with University of Manitoba
  18. National Post article regarding Blakes being named Law Firm of the Year: Canada by Chambers and Partners

External links[edit]