A trusted advisor to leaders in the public and private sectors, Adam helps clients achieve their strategic objectives in complex disputes.
Adam’s litigation practice encompasses trial and appellate advocacy in commercial cases, class actions, and public and administrative law matters, as well as in criminal and regulatory proceedings. He has appeared as lead or co-counsel at all levels of court, including in six appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada.
With a record of public service in all three branches of government, and at both the federal and provincial levels, Adam’s advocacy is backed by a deep understanding of judicial, legislative, and regulatory processes. He uses this combination of skills and experiences to achieve successful outcomes for clients in high-stakes litigation and regulatory matters.
His work includes:
- representing the governments of seven provinces and all three territories in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the management of national class actions;
- acting for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the enforcement of arbitration agreements in proposed class proceedings;
- representing the Ontario College of Teachers in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada concerning student privacy and the interpretation of the voyeurism provisions of the Criminal Code;
- representing the National Football League in an appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal concerning the jurisdiction of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to require Canadian broadcasters to show American advertisements during the Super Bowl;
- acting for public interest organizations in appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court of Appeal for Ontario concerning freedom of expression, military justice, and administrative law;
- defending an international financial services company in a $155-million class action alleging breaches of contract and of consumer protection legislation;
- acting for a national retail chain in a dispute over unpaid inventory;
- leading McCarthy Tétrault’s partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to develop the Canadian business community’s position on the regulation of Artificial Intelligence;
- advising the Department of Justice Canada on the modernization of its approach to legal risk management; and
- advising corporations, non-profit organizations, and executives on their legal obligations in the political sector, including ethical compliance, conflicts of interest, election finance, political advertising, and lobbying law.
Adam maintains a focus on appeals. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Toronto, where he teaches appellate practice and procedure. He previously served as Law Clerk to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin at the Supreme Court of Canada, and to Justices James MacPherson, Janet Simmons, and Eleanore Cronk of the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
Sought after for his commentary on law and public affairs, Adam’s writing has appeared in the Supreme Court Law Review, the Yale Journal of International Law, and the Michigan State International Law Review, as well as in the Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Slate, Maclean’s, and Policy Options. Adam also appears regularly as a commentator on television (CBC News) and radio (Newstalk 1010).
Adam is the co-founder and a director of Teach For Canada, a non-profit organization that works with northern First Nations communities to recruit, prepare, and support outstanding teachers. He was selected to be an Action Canada Fellow in 2010 and is a member (and former Chair) of Action Canada’s Board of Directors. He was named a “Leader To Be Proud Of” by Start Proud, a national LGBTQ organization, in 2014, and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by the Governor General of Canada in 2017.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Adam received his law degree from Yale, where he was a Kirby Simon Human Rights Fellow. He holds an undergraduate degree with high honours from Harvard, where he was a John Harvard Scholar and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa honour society. He was called to the Bars of Ontario and New York in 2015. He is a member of the Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Bar Association, the Advocates’ Society, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the New York State Bar Association, and the National LGBT Bar Association.
- TELUS Communications Inc. v. Wellman, 2019 SCC 19
- R. v. Jarvis, 2019 SCC 10
- Balasuriya v. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, 2018 ONSC 7743 (Div. Ct.)
- Endean v. British Columbia, 2016 SCC 42,  2 S.C.R. 162
- Bell Canada v. Canada (Attorney General), 2016 FCA 217, 402 D.L.R. (4th) 551
- Bell Mobility Inc. v. Klass, 2016 FCA 185,  1 F.C.R. 451
- Fram Elgin Mills 90 Inc. v. Romandale Farms Limited, 2016 ONCA 404, 131 O.R. (3d) 455
- Bell Canada v. 7262591 Canada Ltd., 2016 FCA 123
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
- “When Administrators Speak for Themselves—The Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal on Agency Standing” (February 2019), Canadian Appeals Monitor Blog (with Emilie Bruneau)
- “Religious Freedom: Taking Stock of the State of Constitutional Protections in Canada & the United States” (January 2019), panel at Runnymede Society annual conference (video)
- “If an autonomous vehicle has an accident, who is legally responsible?” (December 2018), Maclean’s
- “Alberta’s top court splits on damages for economic loss” (July 2018), Canadian Appeals Monitor Blog (with Madeline Lisus)
- “Why Canada’s Supreme Court appointments are nothing like America’s circus” (July 2018), Maclean’s
- “Beer, Bedford, and beyond—the Supreme Court of Canada and the limits of precedent in R. v. Comeau” (April 2018), Canadian Appeals Monitor Blog
- “Unfinished Business: The McLachlin Court and the Standard of Review” (April 2018), presentation to University of Ottawa symposium on the legacy of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin
- “Lobbying in Canada after R. v. Carson” (March 2018) (with Jessica Firestone)
- “A Lawyer’s Judge: Justice Marshall Rothstein and the Rule of Law” (2017), 74 S.C.L.R. (2d) 51 (with Neil Finkelstein, Brandon Kain, and Richard J. Lizius)
- “The end of medical marijuana” (July 2016), Policy Options
- “Northern Superior Appeals Dismissal of Aboriginal Consultation Claim Against Ontario” (July 2016), Canadian ERA Perspectives Blog
- “Canada announces unqualified support for UNDRIP” (May 11, 2016), Canadian ERA Perspectives Blog
- “Is Trudeau’s Pot Plan Constitutional?” (November 2015), Policy Options
- “Closing the Citizenship Gap in Canada’s North: Indigenous Rights, Arctic Sovereignty, and Devolution in Nunavut” (2013), 22 Mich. St. Int’l L. Rev. 23 (with Tony Penikett)