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About Laura

Laura is an experienced advocate and one of Benchmark Litigation's Top 100 Women in Canadian Litigation. She has extensive experience litigating and arbitrating disputes in the energy, mining, cannabis, hospitality, entertainment, technology and infrastructure sectors. Laura also regularly advises or acts as dispute resolution counsel regarding disputes in the private equity and investment fund sector.

Laura is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and has extensive expertise in the arbitration of complex domestic and international disputes. She was appointed in 2021 by the Government of British Columbia to serve a five-year term as a roster member for BC's Bid Protest Mechanism and Dispute Resolution panels, which were established under the New West Partnership Trade Agreement and the Canadian Free Trade Agreement. Although she primarily acts as arbitration counsel, she occasionally serves as an independent neutral and has been appointed to the rosters of several arbitral institutions.

Laura is co-chair of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR)'s Canada Advisory Board, co-lead of the North American Group of the Silicon Valley Arbitration & Mediation Center, a member of ICDR's Canada Advisory Committee and an ICC Canada Arbitration Committee member. She also sits on the board of CanArbWeek.

At Blakes, Laura is co-chair of the Vancouver Student Committee and past chair of the Vancouver Women@Blakes Committee. She also sits on the Firm's Partnership Committee.

Select Experience

Major Projects Litigation and Arbitration

  • Arbitration counsel to a major utility corporation in a C$350-million dispute involving delay and disruption claims in connection with the construction of significant energy infrastructure

  • Arbitration counsel in a LCIA arbitration involving the sale of mining assets in Mongolia

  • Arbitration counsel to an owner in respect of an ICC arbitration claim regarding pipeline construction

  • Appellate counsel for Suncor Energy Inc., Imperial Oil Limited, Husky Oil Operations Limited, Cenovus Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Limited at the Supreme Court of Canada with respect to constitutional matters in Attorney General of British Columbia v. Attorney General of Canada (B.C.) (recognized as Gold Winners for the Commercial Litigation Team of the Year at the 2021 Canadian Law Awards)

  • Arbitration counsel for a design-builder of municipal infrastructure in a C$25-million ICC arbitration

  • Arbitration counsel to Carillion Canada with respect to claims relating to the construction of a high-voltage transmission line in the context of its CCAA restructuring

  • Assisting clients to efficiently resolve urgent issues such as lien claims, project disruptions and bond claims

Complex Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

  • Trial counsel on the leading case in British Columbia on economic impacts and force majeure arising out of the 2008 financial crisis

  • Trial counsel in respect of a claim brought against a vendor corporation for a C$17-million brokerage fee arising from the sale of a business

  • Arbitration counsel for a luxury hotel group in ad hoc international arbitration involving disputes under a hotel management agreement

  • Class action counsel for an active pharmaceutical ingredient supplier in proposed opioids class action proceedings

  • Class action counsel defending claims brought against major retailers, insurers and financial industry participants, including dismissal at the certification stage

  • Arbitration counsel to residential owners of a luxury condominium in a BCICAC/VanIAC arbitration involving disputes regarding cost sharing

  • Arbitration counsel to a cannabis company in a dispute related to product supply

  • Advising on the viability of investor-state claims arising under a bilateral investment treaty

  • Litigation and arbitration counsel in a wide range of shareholder disputes

Arbitral/Mediation Appointments

  • Appointed chair of a three-member panel in a Vancouver International Arbitration Centre arbitration involving claims in respect of a consulting agreement

  • Appointed sole arbitrator in a Vancouver International Arbitration Centre arbitration involving claims in respect of a share purchase agreement including working capital adjustments and alleged breaches of representations and warranties

  • Appointed sole arbitrator in a Vancouver International Arbitration Centre arbitration involving website design and development services

  • Appointed sole arbitrator in a Vancouver International Arbitration Centre arbitration involving disputes in respect of a helicopter services agreement

  • Appointed mediator in respect of shareholder disputes

  • Appointed sole arbitrator in a Vancouver International Arbitration Centre arbitration involving partnership agreements between entertainment industry stakeholders

Awards & Recognition

Laura has been recognized as a leading lawyer in the following publications:

  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2024 (Dispute Resolution: Arbitration)

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2024 (Alternative Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration, Construction Law, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Securities Law, Aboriginal Law/Indigenous Practice)

  • The Legal 500 Canada – 2023–2024 (Construction, Dispute Resolution: British Columbia)

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business (2021–2024: Litigation: General Commercial – British Columbia; 2023–2024: Nationwide – Canada Dispute Resolution: Arbitration); Chambers Canada 2024 notes: "She is responsive and takes a solutions-oriented approach that actively considers company risk profile."

  • VanIAC Excellence in Arbitration Award Winner 2023

  • Lexpert Special Edition: Litigation 2023

  • Lexpert Special Edition: Technology and Health Sciences 2023

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2023 (Commercial Arbitration: Consistently Recommended, Litigation – Corporate Commercial: Repeatedly Recommended)

  • Benchmark Canada's Top 100 Women in Litigation – 2022–2023 (formerly, Top 25 and Top 50 Women in Canadian Litigation)

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys – 2021–2023 (Litigation Star – Arbitration, Commercial Litigation)

  • Benchmark Canada's 40 & Under List – 2018–2023

  • Who's Who Legal: Canada 2023 (Arbitration); WWL 2022 comments: “Laura Cundari ranks highly among peers as a go-to arbitrator for disputes arising from a range of sectors, including food and beverage, agribusiness, energy and construction.”

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory – 2021–2022 (Commercial Arbitration – Repeatedly Recommended)

  • Lexpert magazine, November 2022 (Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40)

  • Business in Vancouver 2021 (Forty under 40 – Recognizes B.C.'s young business talent for demonstrated excellence in business, judgment, leadership and community contribution)

Laura is part of the legal team that has been recognized as "Arbitration Firm of the Year" by Benchmark Litigation for six years (2018–2023).

Professional Activities

Laura is co-lead of the North American Group of the Silicon Valley Arbitration & Mediation Center, co-chair of CPR's Canada Advisory Board and a member of ICDR's Canada Advisory Committee.

Laura volunteers her time with several charitable organizations and is president and chair of the board of directors of Ballet BC. She sat on the board of directors of Touchstone Theatre Society for several years, including as president of the board.

Laura has been appointed to a number of arbitral institution rosters. She is also listed on the Arbitrator and Mediators List of ReferToHer™, a series of lists of experienced female lawyers to whom other lawyers can confidently refer work.

Publications
Professional Appearances
  • Panellist : Just When You Thought it Was Over: Procedural Reviews and Appeals of Arbitral Awards
    Canadian College of Construction Lawyers Virtual Webinar, January 27, 2024.
  • Moderator : In-House Counsel’s Perspective on Arbitration
    CanArbWeek 2023, October 18, 2023, Toronto, Ontario.
  • Speaker : New Energy Projects, New Legal Frontiers: How Clean Energy and Climate Change are Transforming Construction Disputes
    ICCA/VanIAC Conference on Energy Infrastructure Disputes and Arbitration: Today and Tomorrow, Vancouver, British Columbia, June 2, 2023.
  • Speaker : Climate Change Disputes in Canada: Are You Ready?
    Blakes Business Class Seminar, May 3, 2023.
  • Speaker : Update on Legal Developments
    WCCAS Annual Arbitration Conference, Calgary, Alberta, May 2, 2023.
  • Panellist : What’s the Difference?: Cross-Jurisdictional Considerations for Common Issues in Construction Law
    ABA Forum on Construction Law Annual Meeting, Vancouver, British Columbia, April 14, 2023.
  • Panellist : Arbitration vs. Litigation
    Commercial Arbitration 2023 Webinar, CLEBC, February 23, 2023.
  • Panellist : Serving up Courses: Rapid-Fire Debates on Key Dispute Resolution Issues
    CanArbWeek 2022, Montreal, Quebec, October 20, 2022.
  • Panellist : Arbitration case-law from sea to sea: quoi de neuf?
    CanArbWeek 2022, Montreal, Quebec, October 20, 2022.
  • Panellist : Arbitration Tactics
    ARBinBRIEF, Season 2, Episode 1, October 12, 2022.
  • Panel Chair : Dispute Resolution in the age of COVID-19 and Beyond
    WCCAS Annual Arbitration Conference, Calgary, Alberta, May 3, 2022.
  • Speaker : The New Normal in Construction Contracts and Dispute Resolution
    Pacific Business & Law Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, April 21, 2022.
  • Panellist : Arbitration: Everything an In-House Lawyer Needs to Know
    CCCA Seminar, Vancouver, British Columbia, April 7, 2022.
  • Panellist : Selecting the Appropriate Neutral for Your Disputes
    CPR Dispute Resolution Webinar Series on Arbitration Advocacy in the Virtual & Hybrid World, April 5, 2022.
  • Panellist : Turning Toward the Sun and Wind: Exploring Issues in Renewable Energy Arbitration
    6th Annual USC-JAMS Arbitration Symposium - Adapting to a World Forever Changed, Los Angeles, California, March 17, 2022.
  • Panellist : Virtual Hearings & Expedited Procedures
    Vancouver International Arbitration Centre Webinar, February 2, 2022.
  • Guest Instructor : Jurisdiction
    Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society Gold Standard Arbitration Course, January 19, 2022.
  • Speaker : Protecting Your Investment: Damages in International Disputes
    Blakes Business Class Seminar, December 15, 2021.
  • Speaker : Annual Law and Ethics Webinar for In-House Counsel
    Blakes Business Class Seminar, November 24, 2021.
  • Panellist : Trends and Developments in Infrastructure Arbitration
    Blakes Business Class Seminar, October 6, 2021.
  • Panellist : Center Updates and Awards Presentation
    CanArbWeek, VanIAC Event (Virtual), September 22, 2021.
  • Panellist : Changes in Domestic and International Arbitration Laws
    Resilience in Recovery: 2021 ADR Institute of BC Virtual Symposium, June 7, 2021.
  • Panellist : Charting the Future in International Arbitration
    ILA-Canada Biennial Conference, May 20, 2021.
  • Co-chair : A Virtual Mini-Course (in Two Parts): Arbitration: From Nose to Tail
    Vancouver International Arbitration Centre, May 6 and 13, 2021.
  • Speaker : Trends and Developments in Arbitration
    Blakes Business Class Seminar, April 7, 2021.
Media Activities
  • Quoted : Quick and dirty dispute resolution: Construction adjudication launching across Canada
    Article by Aidan Macnab, Lexpert Special Editions, May 23, 2023.
  • Quoted : Arbitration seen as a useful tool in settling renewable energy project disputes: Blakes lawyer
    Article by Zena Olijnyk, Canadian Lawyer, June 9, 2022.
Education

Admitted to the British Columbia Bar – 2008
Admitted to the Alberta Bar – 2023
JD, University of Victoria – 2007
BA (Class 1 Distinction), University of British Columbia – 2004

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