Esteemed practitioner John Smith has longstanding experience advising on corporate and M&A transactions. One source reported: "He is very creative and works hard to find solutions. He is excellent to work with."

- Chambers Canada, 2021 Guide 

John’s practice has covered substantial transactions and projects and increasingly focuses on ongoing advisory work to business clients ranging from large corporations to family businesses to fiduciaries. A significant portion of John's current work relates to advising on business succession strategies for larger organizations. John has also had significant experience in directing major litigation for clients.

John has advised clients operating in a range of industries, including bulk terminal operations, retail operations, mining, forestry, and transportation, and in the private investment and energy sectors. John has recently been extensively involved in advising a municipal government, and has been involved in privatization and P3 projects.

After studying law at the University of Oxford, John taught law for six years before joining Lawson Lundell in 1981. John was the firm's Managing Partner from 2007 - 2009, a member of the Executive Committee from 2004 - 2006, and serves as Chair of the Conflicts and Ethics Committee.

Professional Activities

  • Adjunct Professor, Allard School of Law at UBC, 2012-Present
  • Member, Host Committee, International Bar Association Conference, Vancouver, 2010
  • Member of the Independence and Self-Governance Committee, Law Society of British Columbia, 2006
  • Member of the Ethics Committee, Law Society of British Columbia, 2002 - 2005

Community Activities

  • Various roles in relation to Church Council of Dunbar Ryerson United Church, Vancouver

Recognitions & Rankings

Recognitions & Rankings

  • Chambers Canada 2024: recognised for Corporate/Commercial - British Columbia (Senior Statesperson)
  • Best Lawyers in Canada 2006-2024: recognised for Corporate Law, Mergers & Acquisitions Law, and Securities law
  • Acritas Stars 2019-2021
  • Best Lawyers in Canada: Securities Law Lawyer of the Year in Vancouver for 2018
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory:
    • repeatedly recommended as a Leading Practitioner for Corporate Commercial Law, 2021
    • repeatedly recommended as a Leading Practitioner for Corporate Finance & Securities, 2020
  • Lexpert Special Edition 2018: Canada's Leading Corporate Lawyers 
  • Lexpert Special Edition 2017: Canada's Leading Corporate Lawyers 
  • Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Corporate Lawyers in Canada 2017: recognized for Corporate Finance & Securities
  • Lexpert Special Edition 2016-2017: Leading Canadian Lawyers in Global Mining, and Infrastructure
  • Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Corporate Lawyers in Canada 2016 
  • Best Lawyers in Canada: Corporate Lawyer of the Year in Vancouver for 2015
  • Best Lawyers in Canada: Securities Law Lawyer of the Year for 2013
  • Lexpert Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada: recognized for Corporate Commercial law
  • Martindale-Hubbell International Law Directory: AV Peer Review rated



Select experience includes:

  • Advising the City of Vancouver in a highly publicized deal to purchase the Arbutus corridor, a stretch of old rail corridor no longer in use, from Canadian Pacific Railway in order to convert it into a public greenway
  • Extensive experience with income funds including leading the largest IPO in British Columbia
  • Advising an employer and wealth management company on updating its Shareholders Agreement in view of the significantly changed and expanded shareholder group
  • Acting for over 25 years for British Columbia’s largest bulk terminal on a range of activities including drafting and negotiating contracts, the aggregate value of which total several billion dollars
  • Representing a local transportation authority in a P3 project for the construction of a rapid transit line at a cost of $1.7 billion
  • Advising a coal company on the development, financing and acquisition of new mines
  • Acting on the sale of a Canadian company operating hearing aid clinics in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia
  • Counsel to the special committee of the board of a forest products company in relation to the recapitalization of its $1.2 billion debt

News & Publications

News & Publications

John has written numerous articles, chaired and participated in numerous seminars and conferences and presented papers on a diverse range of topics. These include:

  • Income funds
  • B.C. securities law reform
  • Governance and fiduciary issues
  • Liabilities of directors of insolvent corporations
  • Socially responsible investing
  • Various trustee issues

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagements

  • "The Keys to Being an Effective Pension and Benefit Plan Trustee: Trustee Responsibilities and Trustee Protection", Keynote Address at Annual Essential Tasks of Pension and Benefit Plan Trustees Conferences, Vancouver, BC, 2009 - 2017
  • "Highlights of the New BC Code of Professional Conduct", Vancouver, BC, December 12, 2012, Speaker
  • "Trends", Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, November 17, 2011, Speaker
  • "Mergers and Acquisitions", Advanced Securities Law 2010, Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, January 29, 2010, Speaker
John Smith, Lawson Lundell Photo
t 604.631.9120
f 604.669.1620

Assistant Contact

Bar Admissions

  • British Columbia (1982)


University of Oxford (B.A., (Jurisprudence) 1974, First Class)

University of Oxford (B.C.L., 1975, First Class)

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