A skilled advocate and trusted advisor, Adam helps clients achieve their 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 acted as lead or co-counsel at all levels of court, including in 12 appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada. He also advises 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.
With experience in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government, Adam is sought after for his strategic counsel in high-stakes disputes and regulatory controversies, as well as on emerging public policy issues. He has been lead counsel in proceedings on Ontario’s Commercial List and in significant constitutional litigation, both at first instance and on appeal. He has particular expertise in the law and policy surrounding Artificial Intelligence, and led McCarthy Tétrault’s partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to develop the Canadian business community’s position on the regulation of AI.
Adam’s notable experience includes:
- representing the appellant in C.M. Callow Inc. v. Zollinger, an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the scope of the duty of honest contractual performance;
- representing a property developer in an appeal to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia concerning one of Vancouver’s most significant real estate projects;
- representing the applicant in Canadian Constitution Foundation v. Attorney General of Canada, a Charter challenge to the “false statements” prohibition in the Canada Elections Act;
- defending an international financial services company in a $155-million multi-jurisdictional class action alleging breaches of contract and of consumer protection legislation;
- representing a national retail chain in a Commercial List application concerning the disposition of unpaid inventory;
- representing the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in TELUS Communications Inc. v. Wellman, an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the enforcement of arbitration agreements in proposed class proceedings;
- representing the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Canada) Inc. in International Air Transport Association v. Instrubel, N.V., an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the enforcement of international arbitral awards in Canadian courts;
- representing Advocates for the Rule of Law in a trilogy of appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the standard of review in administrative law; and
- advising the Department of Justice Canada on the modernization of its national approach to legal risk management.
Early in his legal career, Adam was a 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. He previously served as chief speechwriter to the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Canada, and as a senior advisor to a Cabinet minister in the Government of Ontario. Adam has taught appellate practice and procedure as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Toronto, and has lectured at law schools across Canada on constitutional and administrative law.
Adam’s scholarship and commentary 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. He 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 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 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.
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
- “Automation Not Domination: AI and Inclusion” (June 2019), published by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (with Michael Scherman)
- “Automation Not Domination: Legal and Regulatory Frameworks for AI” (June 2019), published by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (with Michael Scherman)
- “Automation Not Domination: AI and the Workforce” (June 2019), published by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (with Michael Scherman)
- “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
- “Why Canada’s Supreme Court appointments are nothing like America’s circus” (July 2018), Maclean’s
- “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
- “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)
- “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)