Gowling WLG mourns the loss of Toronto construction & infrastructure partner Neil Abbott

27 September 2021

Gowling WLG is saddened to announce the loss of partner and friend Neil Abbott following a lengthy battle with kidney cancer.

Neil fought his illness bravely and doggedly, displaying his usual unrelenting optimism as he undertook experimental and first-time treatments in an effort to beat his cancer – and help his physicians in their quest to find a cure for the disease.

Neil spent his entire career at Gowling WLG in Toronto, joining the firm in 1992 and becoming a partner in 1999. Recognized by the Law Society of Ontario as a Certified Specialist in Construction Law, he focused his practice on construction and infrastructure law and consumer finance law. At the same time, he also served clients in a diverse range of other areas, from electric vehicle investment and regulation to valuation claims related to art, artifacts and other personal property. 

As a result of his consummate legal skills and inimitable approach to client service, Neil was ranked repeatedly in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory and The Best Lawyers in Canada.

Known as a solicitor, litigator, mediator, arbitrator, adjudicator and lecturer, Neil was also an extraordinary mentor who was responsible for getting generations of Gowling WLG’s young litigators “on their feet” as they embarked on their legal careers. But most of all, Neil was a loyal friend and devoted colleague to anyone and everyone who crossed his path.

Neil’s enthusiasm, optimism and zest for life were as contagious as they were inexhaustible. His passions were many, including travel (to more than 60 countries and 49 US states), history, politics and music. He adored his work, loved people and was always quick with a joke or a funny story. As a construction lawyer, he never tired of introducing himself as “Neil, that’s lien spelled backwards.”

Gowling WLG extends its deepest sympathies to Neil’s wife, Mary, and their daughters, Emily and Megan. He also leaves behind Moskie, his beloved dog and frequent travel companion whose adventures were documented on her own Instagram account (curated by Neil).

Neil was unique in every sense of the word. He was a wonderful partner and colleague, and we will miss him tremendously.