Gowling WLG congratulates Toronto partners Usman Sheikh and Laura Van Soelen on being named among Lexpert's "Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40" for 2019.
Presented annually by Lexpert, the Rising Stars awards celebrate lawyers under the age of 40 from across Canada who are at the top of the legal profession.
"Usman and Laura apply in-depth experience, innovative approaches and international perspectives to help clients thrive in cutting-edge sectors and untapped markets," said James Buchan, Gowling WLG Canada's firm managing partner for clients and markets. "We're delighted to recognize these talented young lawyers who contribute so much to our clients' success."
Laura Van Soelen
As a member of Gowling WLG's Energy Group, Van Soelen has a hybrid litigation, regulatory and transactional practice that focuses on the nuclear, natural gas, renewables, and property development industries. Her clients include a wide range of domestic and international utilities, power producers, distributors, retailers and industrial energy consumers.
Van Soelen has contributed to some of the firm's most significant energy transactions in recent years. She played a key role on the Gowling WLG team that acted as the legal adviser on one of the world's largest new-build nuclear power construction projects: the El Dabaa project in Egypt, worth more than US$30 billion.
"Laura is a smart lawyer with sound judgment, good strategic insight and sensitivity for clients' business realities. We've won and settled many cases together with outcomes that meet or beat our clients' business objectives."
-Testimonial from Thomas Dunne, QC, former Gowling WLG partner & colleague
Sheikh is the national head and founder of Gowling WLG's Blockchain & Smart Contract Group — the first such group to be established by a Canadian law firm. He serves as counsel to 12 of the world's largest cryptocurrencies, many of Canada's major financial institutions and companies seeking to pivot into blockchain and several blockchain pioneers.
Just a few short years ago, having already established a strong securities litigation practice, Sheikh embraced an almost entirely new specialty: blockchain technology. Since then, he has galvanized a multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary team of firm professionals from across Canada and around the world to advise clients on blockchain's revolutionary application to banking, tech, capital markets, insurance, manufacturing and more.
"When it comes to blockchain and the law, Usman's practical expertise and thought leadership is second to none, which is why he has so firmly established himself as Canada's foremost legal authority in the space."
-Testimonial from Don Tapscott, blockchain pioneer and author of Blockchain Revolution
Rising Stars finalists are nominated by their peers on criteria such as leadership, professional achievements, business acumen, adaptability, teamwork and interpersonal skills. A complete list of all this year's winners can be found in the November/December issue of Lexpert magazine.