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Gordon McKee

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Gord's most recent experience includes:

  • Co-counsel for a leading manufacturer of appliances (front-loading washing machines) in the successful opposition of a multi-province consumer class action before all levels of the Ontario courts, and on a leave application to the Supreme Court of Canada

  • Lead trial counsel in the first medical products class action/common issues trial tried to verdict in Canada (146 trial days), successfully defending one of the world's leading manufacturers of life-saving cardiac devices in a national class action claiming more than a billion dollars in damages (awarded 2013 Canadian Product Liability Impact Case of the Year by LMG Life Sciences)

  • Lead trial counsel successfully defending one of the world's leading manufacturers of fire protection systems in some 20 claims and cross-claims resulting from a large factory fire, including a product liability/environmental class action claiming C$80-million in damages

  • Lead counsel representing multinational pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in class actions involving a wide variety of medicines and devices

  • Representing consumer goods manufacturers in national negligence, warranty and consumer protection class actions

Awards & Recognition

Gord is recognized as a leading Canadian lawyer in many Canadian and international publications including:

  • The Legal 500 Canada 2021 (Dispute Resolution - Ontario)

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business 2021 (Band 1 - Dispute Resolution: Class Action (Defence) - Nationwide - Gord is described as "an "excellent lawyer all round" who is "hard-working and a strategic thinker." He maintains a stellar reputation for his handling of class actions nationally, with notable experience acting for clients in the pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries." In previous editions, he was described as "a class action guru who knows everything and is always thinking about the long game", and a "very good leader and trial lawyer".

  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada 2021 (Class Actions and Litigation - Product Liability)

  • The Canadian Lexpert Legal Directory 2021 ("Most Frequently Recommended" in both Class Actions and Litigation - Product Liability)

  • Acritas Stars 2021: Independently Rated Lawyer (Nominated as a stand-out lawyer by senior in-house counsel)

  • Who's Who Legal: Life Sciences - Product Liability 2021- One of eight lawyers listed as "Global Elite Thought Leaders" for North America. Marketplace Analysis says "Gordon McKee is celebrated as the "best trial lawyer" in the products field by sources who cite his expert handling of large-scale litigation proceedings." 2019 Marketplace Analysis said he is "an 'unbelievably diligent and organized professional' and a 'great practitioner', he excels on class actions in the space," and the 2018 Analysis stated "Sources describe Gordon McKee as a 'standout trial lawyer', adding that he is 'one of the very top Canadian product liability defence lawyers'."

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys - 2021 Edition (Litigation Star). In May 2021, Gord was once again awarded "Product Liability Litigator of the Year," for the sixth time.

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business 2020 (Band 1 - Litigation - Products Liability - Nationwide) - Gord is described "as "an excellent lawyer" who is "very experienced in product liability, very collaborative and great on his feet." He has a wealth of product liability and class action expertise, with particularly notable activity on cases in the medical devices and pharmaceuticals industries." In previous editions, he was described as "unquestionably a leader in this field", "highly acclaimed in the defence of multi-jurisdictional class action claims" and "a phenomenal lawyer whose expertise is second to none".

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2020 (Class Action Litigation and Product Liability Law) - Recipient of the "Lawyer of the Year" award: 2018 and 2016 Toronto Class Action Litigation and 2015 Toronto Product Liability Law.

  • Who's Who Legal: Product Liability Defence 2020 - One of 13 lawyers listed as "Global Elite Thought Leaders" for North America. Marketplace Analysis says Gord "is an 'exceptionally good practitioner' and a 'dean of the bar', who 'well respected' for his 'very strong practical approach'." 2019 Marketplace Analysis said he "receives plaudits from sources who identify him as 'definitely a player in the market' while others affirm that he 'must be one of the greats in the profession in the world - some of the work he's done is simply amazing'."

  • Who's Who Legal Analysis: Canada 2020 (Life Sciences); one of eight listed as "Most Highly Regarded". It says "Gordon McKee is lauded for his "strong strategic approach in product liability litigation" spanning from three decades of experience in the field."

  • Who's Who Legal Analysis: Canada 2020 (Product Liability Defence); one of two listed as "Most Highly Regarded".  It says "Gordon McKee enjoys a "market-leading product liability defence practice" thanks to his three decades of experience litigating in several high-value cross-border cases for clients in the life sciences sector." Previous editions said "Peers consider Gordon McKee to be "one of the very best in the life sciences sector" and a "magnificent" litigator with extensive experience defending cross-border product liability claims;" "Gordon McKee is one of the most prominent product liability defence lawyers in the country. Sources consider him 'a great lawyer' and praise his adept handling of complex class action claims."

  • LMG Life Sciences Awards 2019 - "Canadian Product Liability Attorney of the Year", for the third time

  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2017 (Band 1 - Dispute Resolution: Class Action (Defence) - Canada - "The "stellar" Gordon McKee has a proven track record defending clients in class actions across the country."

  • Who's Who Legal: Product Liability Defence 2017 - One of 10 "Thought Leaders" for North America; Marketplace analysis says: "Leading Canadian firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon emerges as one of the country's standout practices.... Gordon McKee is regarded as "the undisputed leader of the Canadian product liability defence bar" by a number of sources. He enjoys an excellent reputation on the international stage thanks to his "deep and wide-ranging practice" and "tactical aptitude."

  • The Lexpert Guide to Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada 2017 (Class Actions and Product Liability)

  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2016 (Band 1 - Dispute Resolution: Class Action (Defence) - Canada) - "Gordon McKee is very well regarded for his work on pharmaceutical product liability cases.... Clients say: 'He is a really talented legal mind. He is very clear, patient, calm under pressure and thinks fast on his feet.'" In the 2015 edition, a client commented that Gord "is at the top of his game; he’s really good in trial and great at cross-examination. We rely on him for the biggest cases - he's a positive thinker who will work towards the best solution for the company".

  • Martindale-Hubbell (AV Preeminent - Peer Rated For Highest Level of Professional Excellence)
Professional Activities

Gord is often invited to speak at local, national and international programs on class actions, products liability, advocacy and other litigation issues. He is a member of the Canadian Bar Association's National Class Action Task Force, exploring the development of judicial protocols to manage overlapping multi-province class actions in Canada. For 10 years, he was editor-in-chief of the Federated Press Class Action Journal. He is a longstanding member of the Planning Committee and speaker/panel moderator at the premier Canadian annual national symposium on class actions.

Gord is a member of the Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC), the International Association of Defense Counsel (Board Member 2015-2018, Foundation Board Member 2013-2015, chair of Drug, Device and Biotech Committee 2010-2012), the Defense Research Institute (Drug and Medical Device Steering Committee SLC Liaison), The Advocates' Society, Canadian Defence Lawyers and Christian Legal Fellowship.

Professional Appearances
  • Panel Speaker: Cross-country Checkup
    17th National Symposium on Class Actions, Osgoode Professional Development, (virtual), Toronto, Ontario, April 22, 2021.
  • Moderator: Third Party Litigation Funding
    PLAC 2019 Fall Conference, Chicago, Illinois, October 3, 2019.
  • Speaker: Managing Class Action Cases Across the Country
    Class Actions Advocacy, The Advocates Society, Toronto, Ontario, June 11, 2019.
  • Moderator: Update: Global Shifts in Class Actions and Third Party Litigation Funding
    International Association of Defense Counsel Corporate Counsel College, Chicago, Illinois, April 11, 2019.
  • Co-chair: 16th National Symposium on Class Actions
    Osgoode Professional Development, Toronto, Ontario, April 4-5, 2019
  • Panel Speaker: Use of Evidence and Experts 25 Years On
    10th Annual Class Actions Colloquium, Ontario Bar Association, Toronto, Ontario, December 3, 2018.
Media Activities
  • Mentioned: Lexpert Special Edition, Canada's Leading Litigation Lawyers, p. 34
    Report on Business December 2018, Vol. 35, No. 5, The Globe and Mail.
  • Quoted: International Association of Defense Counsel pushes for class action reform in Ontario
    The Lawyer’s Daily, July 17, 2018.
  • Mentioned: IADC Calls for Class Action Reforms in Ontario, Canada
    General Counsel News, July 7, 2018.

Certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a Specialist in Civil Litigation - 1998
LL.M., Osgoode Hall Law School (Civil Litigation & Dispute Resolution) - 1998
Admitted to the Ontario Bar - 1988
LL.B., Osgoode Hall Law School - 1986
Wilfrid Laurier University - 1981-1983

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