An experienced litigator in high-stake matters, clients call upon Sarah to provide strategic guidance on complex commercial disputes and class actions requiring a rigorous approach.
Sarah Woods is a partner in our Montréal office and a member of our Québec Litigation Group. Her fluency in English, French and Spanish makes her a counsel of choice for clients who have national and international business interests. Through her diverse practice, she has supported clients on various aspects of commercial litigation, including securities litigation, construction and commercial real estate litigation, shareholder disputes and class actions. She also has experience in cases pertaining to professional liability and employment law.
Her leadership and legal expertise combined with her impressive accomplishments have earned her the respect of the legal community, both provincially and nationally. She has received numerous industry recognitions and rankings, notably from Chambers Canada and the Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory, as well as from Benchmark Litigation, which has named her as one of the top 50 women in litigation in Canada, since 2020.
She was the Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Securities Litigation Sub-Committee for Canada (2015-2019). In addition, she co-chaired two editions of the American Bar Association’s National Institute on U.S.-Canadian Securities Litigation.
Sarah is an accomplished author and speaker, and she has taught the Civil Litigation Workshop at McGill University’s Faculty of Law since 2005. Sarah is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and one of the Governors of the Québec Bar Foundation.
In addition to graduating from McGill University’s transsystemic program (civil and common law), Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Queen's University. She is called to both the Québec Bar (2004) and the Law Society of Ontario (2012).
Sarah has been a member of the Mount Royal Club’s Committee of Management since 2015 and a member of the Board of the string ensemble La Pietà since 2013.
- Successfully represented the interests of the Attorney General of Manitoba in an application for declaratory judgement against Air Canada further to the closing of Aveos’ aircraft maintenance center in Montréal
- Obtained an order for a mandatory interlocutory injunction for Devimco, one of the largest real estate developers in Montréal
- Successfully contested a motion for disqualification filed against an accounting firm (RCGT)
- Advised a significant investment management firm in developing its strategy to counter a going-private transaction
- Was part of the team which represented a group of Quebec corporations holding over $1 billion of asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) in contesting the plan of arrangement under the CCAA for the restructuring of the $32 billion Canadian non-bank ABCP market
- Participated in the approval of the arrangement regarding the transaction between BCE and a conglomerate of buyers
- Acted on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants in several oppression claims
- Advises C-suite executives or the employer in files relating to termination of employment, non-compete clauses and severance upon termination
- Represented plaintiffs who were the subject of defamatory statements
- Defended Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC) in one of the largest securities class action proceedings in Canada alleging a fault by MFC with respect to its duties of continuous disclosure. Successfully restricted the scope of the class action at the authorization stage and won almost every interlocutory motion before the case was settled a few months before trial
- Obtained authorization for a class action against Jehovah’s Witnesses concerning sexual abuse of minors
- Represented a chief financial officer of a chartered bank in defending a class action alleging misrepresentations having negatively affected the value of the bank’s securities
- Defended the interests of class members having brought a class action against the Attorney General of Canada and the Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada with respect to the “mad cow disease crisis”
PUBLICATIONS AND CONFERENCES
- Co-author, Tendances actuelles dans les actions collectives en matière de valeurs mobilières au Canada, Développements récents en litige de valeurs mobilières, Barreau du Québec, Volume 538, October 19, 2023
- Co-author, Class Actions Related to Police Conduct During Citizen Protests: $6,000,000 Settlement with the City of Montreal, The Canadian Class Action Review, Volume 18, No. 2, 297, 2022-2023
- Co-author, Commentaire sur la décision Sévigny c. Ville de Montréal – Actions collectives concernant les agissements policiers lors de manifestations citoyennes : entente de 6 000 000 $ avec la Ville de Montréal, Thomson Reuters, June 2023
- Moderator, Gender Equity in International Arbitration - the canary in the diversity coal mine?, London International Disputes Week, May 17, 2023
- Course instructor, Pre-Trial Examinations: Setting the Table, Barreau de Montréal, 2022
- Author under the direction of Claude Marseille, LegisPratique – Les objections à la preuve en droit civil, 2e édition, LexisNexis, 2022
- Speaker, Class actions relating to privacy and data breaches, National Conference on Class Actions 2020, Barreau du Québec, 2020
- Moderator, U.S.-Canadian Securities Litigation Committee on Securities Class Actions, ABA National Institute, 2017
- Moderator, U.S.-Canadian Securities Litigation Committee on Securities Class Actions, ABA National Institute, 2016
- Author under the direction of Claude Marseille, Preuve testimoniale d’un indice de présomption, Les objections à la preuve en droit civil, LexisNexis, Montréal, 515, 2015
- Author under the direction of Claude Marseille, Contradiction d’une présomption légale absolue, Les objections à la preuve en droit civil, LexisNexis, Montréal, 523, 2015
- Author, The Reliance Element in U.S. and Canadian Securities Class Actions, ABA Journal, Section of Litigation, September 9, 2015
- Author, Moving Towards Clarity on the Viability of Fraud-on-the-Market in Québec, Corporate Litigation Journal, 822, 14: 2, 2015
Leading Lawyer: Litigation: General Commercial - Quebec
The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory
Leading Lawyer: Litigation - Corporate Commercial
Litigation Star– Commercial, Dispute Resolution, Securities, Professional Liability, Labour and Employment
Lexpert Special Edition: Litigation
Recognized as one of the Top 100 Women in Litigation
Best Lawyers in Canada
Leading Lawyer - Class Action Litigation
Best Lawyers in Canada
Leading Lawyer - Corporate and Commercial Litigation
Best Lawyers in Canada
Leading Lawyer - Labour and Employment Law