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Three Blakes Partners Named 2023 Lexpert Rising Stars

November 24, 2023
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes) is pleased to announce that Partners Arash Amouzgar, Nicole Henderson and Mark Tonkovich are winners of the 2023 Lexpert Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40.
“Arash, Nicole and Mark are outstanding lawyers who continue to distinguish themselves as leaders in their fields, from M&A to litigation and tax law,” said Firm Managing Partner Bryson Stokes. “The Blakes team congratulates them on this honour, which recognizes their exceptional expertise, client service and community engagement.”

Arash Amouzgar has built a leading full-scope private equity practice involving international mergers and acquisitions, pension fund and institutional investments, and private fund formation. Practising in Vancouver and Toronto, he has worked on industry-shaping transactions with leading Canadian and U.S. private equity sponsors. Arash is committed to serving his community through pro bono legal advice with Blakes and engagement outside the Firm, including as an elected member of the Vancouver Bar Association and as a former director of Touchstone Theatre Society. Arash also dedicates significant time to mentoring and training junior lawyers, efforts that have earned him the Blakes Mentor of the Year Award.
Nicole Henderson is widely regarded as a next-generation leader in class action defence and other complex disputes. Her Toronto-based practice focuses on cybersecurity, product liability and competition litigation, including contentious merger reviews. Nicole’s key roles in precedent-setting cases have included acting for St. Jude Medical in the first medical products class action to go to a common issues trial in Ontario (the entire action was dismissed); acting for Knowledge First Financial in one of the first privacy class actions in Canada to be denied certification; and successfully obtaining a pre-certification summary judgment for Labatt in a competition class action seeking approximately C$1.4-billion in damages. In her pro bono advocacy, she has represented a wide range of Canadian and international organizations, including the Canadian Federation for Independent Business as an intervenor at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Mark Tonkovich leads the Blakes Tax Controversy & Litigation group. He represents taxpayers in sensitive and substantial tax controversies at all stages of the audit and administrative appeal process and in formal litigation before all levels of Canadian federal and provincial court. Mark’s recently resolved and current client mandates involve several matters of first impression and over C$6-billion in disputed tax, interest and penalties. He acts for a diverse range of clients (financial institutions, natural resource companies, major manufacturers, technology/software companies and select high-net-worth individuals) on a wide variety of complex tax issues (transfer pricing and foreign affiliate issues, specific anti-avoidance rules and the GAAR, and domestic tax issues pertaining to the new economy). Mark is also committed to tax thought leadership. In addition to having chaired each of the Tax Court Bench and Bar Committee and the Ontario Bar Association’s Tax Section Executive, he currently serves as a contributing editor for the Federated Press/Thomson Reuters journal Tax Litigation and frequently speaks and writes for major Canadian tax community organizations.
The annual Rising Stars Awards recognize lawyers from law firms and in-house counsel, aged 40 or under, who are up-and-coming in the Canadian legal community. Lexpert selects the finalists based on several criteria. An advisory board votes on the winning candidates.