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Mintz Launches In Canada, Expanding Life Sciences And Private Equity Practices

BOSTON, TORONTO – Mintz  is pleased to announce its expansion into Canada with the opening of a Toronto office, launched by a team of highly regarded and industry-leading attorneys. The new office will add depth and breadth to Mintz’s global Life Sciences practice and will further expand the firm’s strong Private Equity, Capital Markets, and Pensions and Employment practices.

 “This incredibly impressive team aligns perfectly with our strategic plan,” said Mintz Managing Member Bob Bodian. “Our core areas of Life Sciences, Private Equity, Energy and Sustainability, and Technology all benefit from this expansion. This is a group of trusted advisors that every client – and law firm – wants on its team. We are fortunate to have them join us, and are confident that they will have a highly positive impact on the firm and our clients.”

The founding Members of the Toronto office are the preeminent lawyers in their respective fields and are recognized in the North American market for their strong dedication to client service. Michael Akkawi, Eric Foster, Mitch Frazer, Lee Johnson and Cheryl Reicin are highly ranked for excellence and are active in the legal and business communities. Mr. Akkawi, Mr. Frazer and Ms. Reicin were most recently leading the Private Equity and Fund Formation, Pensions and Employment, and Life Sciences practices, respectively, at Torys LLP. Coming from Dentons, Mr. Foster is a capital markets and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) lawyer who previously served as the head of the firm’s Canadian Cannabis practice. Dr. Johnson arrives from the New York and San Diego offices of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati with decades of life sciences patent prosecution and strategic counseling experience.

“Canadian companies and investors are increasingly looking to the U.S. and we are excited to be plugging into a platform and business network that will be beneficial to our clients,” said Mr. Frazer, Managing Partner of the Toronto office. “Mintz has strong relationships with the major investment banks, private equity, and VC firms and an incredible depth of experience in the sectors of the new economy. We are proud of what we have built and achieved with our respective practices and are ready to embark on this exciting next chapter. All of us look forward to building an office in Toronto aligned with the Mintz culture: entrepreneurial and collaborative, nimble and forward-thinking. This will be a new kind of law firm in Canada and will be more reflective of who we are and the clients we represent in Canada, the U.S. and beyond.”

About the new Members:

Mr. Akkawi regularly advises private equity funds, pension funds and strategic investors in all aspects of their transactions and other investment activities, including leveraged buyouts, majority and minority equity investments, co-investments and restructurings. In addition, he counsels sponsors on structuring and negotiating their private market funds and their internal governance and economic arrangements. Mr. Akkawi has acted for sponsors on funds spanning a range of private market areas, including buy-out, venture capital, infrastructure, secondary and search funds, including most recently SeaFort Capital, Maverix Private Equity, Amplitude Venture, Overbay Capital and Imperial Capital funds. He also handles LP-led and GP-led secondary transactions, including buying and selling LP interests and advising on continuation fund transactions. Mr. Akkawi has been recognized by Chambers Canada, Chambers Global, IFLR1000, and several others as a leading private equity lawyer.  

Mr. Foster has extensive experience advising on capital markets transactions, M&A, and other complex corporate matters, including on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border and internationally. He frequently represents both issuers and underwriters on public offerings and private placements, with a particular focus on the life sciences, cannabis, mining, and technology sectors. With a broad international range of clients, Mr. Foster also represents domestic and foreign acquirers, targets, special committees, boards of directors and investment banks in all aspects of M&A, including hostile takeover bids, strategic review processes, proxy contests and going-private transactions. He is widely recognized as a leading lawyer in the cannabis space and was most recently named “Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers for Cannabis Law, Band 1 Chambers, and Legal 500-ranked in this area. Additionally, Mr. Foster is ranked by Best Lawyers for Venture Capital Law and Mining Law.

Mr. Frazer is well-known as a leading authority in pension law in Canada. He has served as an expert witness before provincial and federal legislative committees and is frequently consulted by pension regulators on best practices. His practice focuses on all aspects of pensions, benefits and employment, advising many of Canada’s top corporations and pension funds on their pensions, benefits and employment matters. Clients also regularly seek his advice in the context of M&A transactions. Mr. Frazer serves as the Chancellor of Ontario Tech University and was recently admitted to the Order of Ontario for 2021. In addition, he is ranked by Chambers Canada as being an extremely accomplished attorney with unmatched credentials. Mr. Frazer will serve as the Managing Member of Mintz’s Toronto office.

Dr. Johnson is a versatile intellectual property attorney and registered patent agent who advises clients on a broad spectrum of intellectual property (IP) matters, from patent prosecution and portfolio management to disputes to transactions. He represents clients across a variety of industries, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and AgTech and FoodTech. In his multifaceted work for companies and IP innovators, Dr. Johnson drafts and prosecutes U.S. and international patents, develops patent strategies and serves in an advisory role to clients facing disputes before courts in the U.S. and Canada, as well as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). He also acts on behalf of investors, emerging companies, and transactional IP counsel in licensing and technology transfer arrangements, research collaborations and partnerships, IPOs, and M&A.

Ms. Reicin will serve as International Chair of the Life Sciences practice at Mintz and represents the entire spectrum of biotech, medical device and health technology companies, from start-ups to large public companies, as well as venture capitalists, investment banks and academic medical centers. She is widely recognized for her long track record of helping life sciences companies at all stages formulate and evolve their domestic and international growth strategies, source capital, and develop and optimize their corporate and tax structures. Ms. Reicin has extensive experience advising clients on venture and later-stage financings, IPOs, M&A, licensing transactions and joint ventures or alliances with strategic partners. She has been named WXN’s Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women four times and inducted into its Hall of Fame. She has also been repeatedly recognized by LMG Life Sciences as Financial & Corporate Attorney of the Year and Band 1 Chambers Canada.

The expansion is the latest growth for Mintz this year following the announcement of a Miami office launch and on the heels of eight consecutive years of record-breaking revenue and profits. 

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