Mintz Levin adds partners from Torys, Dentons, Wilson Sonsini for Canada debut

Boston-based firm adds expertise across life sciences, private equity, capital markets, employment and IP for new base in Toronto

Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo has hired partners from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Dentons and Torys to debut in Canada with the launch of an office in Toronto. 

The new office sees the Boston-founded firm expand outside of its home country - where it currently has six bases - and follows it announcing in January that it would launch in Miami later this year. 

The Toronto office will be headed by leading pensions lawyer Mitch Frazer, who has joined from Canadian heavyweight Torys alongside Michael Akkawi and Cheryl Reicin, who led the firm’s private equity and fund formation and life sciences practices respectively. 

Meantime capital markets and M&A specialist Eric Foster has joined from Dentons, where he led the Canadian cannabis practice, and Dr Lee Johnson has moved over from the New York and San Diego offices of Wilson Sonsini to counsel clients, in part, on patent prosecution. 

“Canadian companies and investors are increasingly looking to the US and we are excited to be plugging into a platform and business network that will be beneficial to our clients,” Frazer said. 

Bob Bodian, managing member of Mintz, told Reuters the firm was securing office space in Toronto and was looking to have 25 lawyers in the city within the next few months. 

Frazer has joined the firm after more than 20 years at Torys, where he chaired the pensions and employment team. His practice sees him advise many of Canada’s top corporations and pension funds on their pensions, benefits and employment matters; he also regularly advises clients on M&A transactions. 

Akkawi advises private equity funds, pension funds and strategic investors on matters including leveraged buyouts, majority and minority equity investments, co-investments and restructurings. He also acts for sponsors on buy-out, venture capital, infrastructure, secondary and search funds, including SeaFort Capital, Maverix Private Equity and Imperial Capital funds. He has joined Mintz after 27 years at Torys. 

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For her part Reicin brings extensive experience advising life sciences companies on venture and later-stage financings, IPOs, M&A, licensing transactions and joint ventures or alliances with strategic partners to her new firm, where she will serve as international chair of the life sciences practice. 

Foster has joined Mintz after six years at Dentons, prior to which he practised at Torys in Toronto. He represents both issuers and underwriters on public offerings and private placements, with a particular focus on the life sciences, cannabis, mining and technology sectors. He also represents domestic and foreign acquirers, targets, special committees, boards of directors and investment banks in all aspects of M&A. 

Rounding out the new arrivals is Johnson, whose IP practice covers patent prosecution, portfolio management, disputes and transactions for clients spanning the biotech, pharma, medical devices and AgTech and FoodTech sectors. He had been a partner at Wilson Sonsini since 2020. 

“This impressive team aligns with our strategic plan,” said 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 and we are confident that they will have a highly positive impact on the firm and our clients.”

Mintz currently has offices in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington DC.

The firm marked its eighth consecutive year of growth under Bodian’s leadership in 2022, when it grew profit per equity partner by 2.9% to $2.16m against a 5% rise in revenue to $617m, according to

The firm lost a four-strong team of IP lawyers in its hometown of Boston last May to US rival Fox Rothschild for the latter’s launch in the city.

Torys commented: “We are thankful for the many contributions that Michael Akkawi, Mitch Frazer and Cheryl Reicin have made to our firm over the years and wish them continued success as they embark on this start-up opportunity.”

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