Awi solves problems.
Awi is a partner in our litigation group and Co-Lead | Public Sector. He advises clients on extraordinary circumstances that involve political risk, unforeseen circumstances and transformative strategy projects. Decision-makers value his ability to see around corners, separate key information from background noise, and find creative solutions for uncertain times.
Awi has the premiere political law practice in Canada, with unique experience in high-profile matters. He balances an adroit command of the political ethics rules and procedures with a deep understanding of the realpolitik at play. He represents senior public office holders and major corporations in high-profile parliamentary committee proceedings and investigations by the Conflict of Interest & Ethics Commissioner, the Commissioner of Lobbying, the Canada Elections Commissioner, provincial Integrity Commissioners, and Auditors General. Leaders trust Awi in these high-stakes scenarios to identify core issues, map risks and recommend real actions.
His mandates are confidential.
Awi serves clients when disaster strikes. He has provided crisis readiness and response strategies to clients grappling with physical catastrophes, corporate violations of public trust and executive malfeasance. Awi specializes in practical, real-time legal advice to coordinate with – not compete with - business priorities and public communications responsibilities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Awi advised on a number of critical pathways for organizations struggling to navigate business disruption, government programs and reputational risk.
His mandates are confidential.
MT | Public Sector
Awi and his partners Gillian Kerr and Matthew Kelleher are the Co-Leads of McCarthy Tétrault | Public Sector, a special strategy group that serves clients to navigate legal issues at the intersection of politics, public policy and business. MT | Public Sector has elite experience advising on novel regulatory regimes, major commercial projects with government stakeholders, and visionary projects.
Some of their mandates include:
- Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE): COVID-Era Return-to-Play: During the pandemic, MT | Public Sector acted for MLSE in its regulatory, public health and government negotiation processes for the iterative return to play for the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Soccer (MLS) in Canada, including for MLSE’s winning bid to the host the 2020 NHL “Playoffs Bubble” in Toronto and the 2021 return from Tampa Bay of the Toronto Raptors for the 2021/2022 season.
- VAX-PASS Initiative: Leading on legal thinking for the viability of COVID-19 vaccine passports for private businesses, MT | Public Sector worked with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Toronto Regional Board of Trade to create the VAX-PASS Tenets, a set of guidelines to create community standards for vaccine verification, and host forums for corporate citizen coordination on the issue, including the VAX-LAW SYMPOSIUM. With subject matter experts on labour, administrative and governance law, Awi advised many companies on the safest path to a safe workplace.
- Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG): Closure of Ontario Casinos: At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic’s reach in Canada, as an organization on the leading edge of government responsibility for COVID safety, OLG executed the coordinated, immediate shutdown of all casinos and table-gaming facilities in Ontario. MT | Public Sector advised on the myriad of commercial, administrative and public law issues drawn into this swift but intricate process.
- Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO): Creation of Ontario Cannabis Stores (OCS): MT | Public Sector advised the Crown corporation on the regulatory structure, commercial structure and operations matrix for the creation of OCS, the largest cannabis purchasing entity in the world. We continue as counsel for OCS as it grows and evolves.
- Uber: Canadian strategy: MT | Public Sector advises Uber Canada on a variety of matters related to evolving regulation of the ride-sharing space provincially and federally, including major litigation with government actors.
Awi also maintains a leading commercial litigation practice, specializing in large-scale infrastructure, energy, and innovation projects that have a significant public policy component. In 2021, he was ranked among Lexpert magazine’s “Leading Litigators” and as a Leading Lawyer in Infrastructure, Energy and in Litigation.
- Awi was a finalist for Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s 2021 list of Most Influential Lawyers in Canada in the Government/Association category. He is a commentator of note on macro-level legal, political and business issues.
- Awi serves as McCarthy Tétrault’s ambassador to Legal Leaders in Diversity. He is a sought after voice on diversity and inclusion issues in the Canadian business community.
- For four years he served as the firm’s United Way Campaign Co-Chair.
- In 2014, he became the youngest ever recipient of the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) Legal Excellence Award.
- Awi serves on the board of the Canadian Club: Toronto, one of Canada’s oldest and most respected events organizations for speakers on critical topics in the Canadian conversation.
- Awi serves on the board of the Tim Hortons Foundation, which funds one of the most robust philanthropic camp and life skills education programs in the world.
- In 2021, Awi served as an advisor on special issues to the Liberal Party of Canada for the federal election.
Awards & Rankings
Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
Leading Lawyer: Litigation - Corporate Commercial
Lexpert Special Edition: Infrastructure
Lexpert Special Edition: Litigation
South Asian Bar Association
Legal Excellence Award