Bay Street law firms bulk up on restructuring partners as more COVID-19 insolvencies expected – The Globe and Mail

Marc Wasserman, Kathryn Esaw

Aug 12, 2020

According to a recent article in The Globe and Mail, Bay Street law firms are bringing on partners who work on corporate restructuring “as they prepare for a wave of insolvencies to hit the Canadian economy when COVID-19 relief measures dry up and lenders start to lose patience with struggling businesses.” This movement includes Kathryn Esaw joining Osler’s Insolvency and Restructuring Group as a partner in Toronto.

Author Christine Dobby reports that some industries have already seen multiple formal creditor protection filings, including the retail and energy sectors. The article states that “in the second quarter of the year, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada says there were 27 filings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (the federal restructuring law for companies that owe more than $5-million), up from four in the same period last year. Nine companies made CCAA filings in Alberta and seven of those were in the mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector.”

Marc Wasserman, the National Chair of Osler’s Insolvency and Restructuring Group, tells The Globe and Mail that businesses related to travel, particularly airlines and the auto rental industry, are also at risk. “March, April and May were exceptionally busy. The summer slowed down a little bit, but we’re still busier than we’ve ever been,” he says.

In addition to associates and partners in its formal restructuring group, Marc says the firm relies heavily on lawyers in its employment, corporate, finance and tax law groups who also have experience working on insolvency matters. “We’ve built the group to deal with these kinds of things.”

Kathryn brings a “dynamic experience base” to Osler, says Marc, adding that she worked on large insolvency files for several years at Stikeman Elliott before moving to Aird & Berlis last year.

For more information, read Christine Dobby’s full article, “Bay Street law firms bulk up on restructuring partners as more COVID-19 insolvencies expected” in The Globe and Mail.