Blakes’ Pamela Hughes’ exemplary experience toward becoming first Canadian appointed to ISLP

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Pam Hughes/Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Pamela Hughes is not unfamiliar with international legal territory. In her 30-plus years of practice, the Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP senior partner has put together an impressive resume that paints a picture of a lawyer who has seemingly been everywhere, including undertaking capital market regulatory reform work on behalf of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Canadian Securities Administrators, and the Canadian International Development Agency.

So it was little surprise, yet every bit significant, that on June 17, Hughes became the first Canadian – not to mention the first Canadian woman – to sit on the 25-member board of directors of the nearly 12-year-old International Senior Lawyers Project, a pro bono service comprising elite lawyers assisting governments, non-governmental organizations and other institutions working to build legal capacity and to advance the rights and well-being of their citizens. The organization has at least 156 clients and partners, from grassroots organizations to global NGOs and developing country governments, including many organizations based in Africa, Asia and South America.

ISLP’s executive director, Garth Meintjes, said the ISLP has increasingly been getting highly experienced Canadian lawyers involved in its pro bono projects and that Hughes’ appointment is a result of that.

“[Hughes’] appointment to the ISLP Board is in recognition of the growing contributions being made by Blakes and other Canadian law firms to ISLP and its clients,” Meintjes said in an email.  “This expansion is in keeping with ISLP’s aim to draw on the best legal traditions to find the most relevant answers to its clients’ needs.”

Beside having been on the Securities Regulation Committee and being a member of the Mergers, Acquisitions and Corporate Control Contests Committee of the Bar of the City of New York, she was also a member of the Securities Advisory Committee to the Ontario Securities Commission. She is also vice-chair of Dignitas International, a medical humanitarian organization, and is former North America vice-chair of the Corporate and Securities Law Practice Group of Lex Mundi.

Before joining Blakes in 1995, she was Director of the Capital Markets International Markets Branch of the OSC and the primary negotiator of the multi-jurisdictional disclosure system (MJDS) between Canada and the US, which increased access to capital by Canadian companies. At Blakes, she chaired the Nominations Committee and was a member of the Partnership Committee and Pro Bono Committee.

In other words, she’s been “there” and done “that.”

Of notable mention, in 2003, 2004 and 2006, she prepared the Canada chapter in a treatise on “Corporate Governance and Shareholder Rights,” which was published by the World Bank, International Institute for Corporate Governance at Yale University and Harvard University.

And the credentials go on.

Hughes also is, of course, a Lexpert ranked lawyer in our 2013 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory and a repeatedly recommended lawyer for corporate finance and securities, with seven notable cases involving mergers and corporate finance deals while with Blakes. Some of these deals include advising both Meritor Automotive, Inc. and Arvin Industries on the Canadian aspects of a $7.5-billion merger between the two companies (closed July 30, 2000); and, in part, representing International Paper Co. when that company’s subsidiary, Weldwood of Canada Ltd., was acquired by West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. for $1.23 billion in December 2004, making the acquirer at the time North America’s third-largest lumber producer and Canada’s largest plywood producer. (Business Vancouver ranks West Fraser second in its 2013 Biggest Forestry Companies in B.C. list, for your information.)

Beside our own publication, she is recognized as a leading Canadian lawyer in The Best Lawyers in Canada 2014 for securities law; Law Business Research’s The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2012 and the Who’s Who Legal: Canada 2011 in corporate governance; and Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law 2012.

Hughes received her LLB from McGill University in Montreal in 1977 and her LLM from the University of Toronto in 1978. She taught International Securities Regulation for both those law schools. She was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 1980.

Hughes said in an email that she looks forward to the opportunity of working with the people at ISLP on “challenging economic development, rule of law and human rights projects.”

Ahmad Hathout

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