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William C. McDowell

Previous Bencher

William C. McDowell is a Partner at Lenczner Slaght in Toronto, with a wide-ranging practice that includes public law and commercial litigation. He is also a leading practitioner of libel and media law, acting for both plaintiffs and defendants in numerous noteworthy cases. Before returning to private practice, he was Canada’s Associate Deputy Minister of Justice, responsible for national security, civil litigation, and issues involving federal agencies. William also led a team that addressed complex issues surrounding the Aboriginal Days of Protest in 2006-07; and was appointed by the Chief Justice of Ontario to mediate questions arising from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Inquiry into Aboriginal residential schools.


In 2011, he was a co-recipient of the Department of Justice National Award for his work resolving the high-profile Maher Arar v Canada case. Other recognitions include Benchmark Canada’s Litigation Star (Commercial, Government & Regulatory) and being named its Medical Defence/Health Attorney of the Year in 2019; more than 10 years among the Best Lawyers in Canada in many fields ; and several years as a Lexpert leading US-Canada Cross-border litigation lawyer and among its Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada. William has taught trial advocacy at Queen’s University and Osgood Hall law schools and has many professional memberships including being a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Advocates’ Society.


He received a Bachelor of Arts from Queen’s University and was awarded his LL.B. by the University of Toronto.

Contat William at

William C. McDowell

William C. McDowell

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