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John Nicholl, Ad. E.



John Nicholl, Ad. E.

John Nicholl, Ad. E.


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Profile & Experience

Regional experience
Full Profile

John Nicholl, B.C.L.1978, LL.B. 1979 (McGill), Ad. E., is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and the Québec Bar. He was one of the founding partners of a leading insurance boutique which merged with Clyde & Co in 2011. He is based primarily at the firm's Toronto office, but continues to maintain a substantial practice in Montreal as well.

John has been named Advocatus Emeritus (Ad. E.) by the Québec Bar, which may be compared to the common law King’s Counsel.  The award is presented to members of the Quebec Bar who gain distinction as a result of their outstanding professional career, outstanding contribution to the profession or outstanding social and community standing that has brought honour to the legal profession.

John is one of the best known insurance lawyers in Canada, and for the last 40 years his practice has focused on liability defence and coverage advice and litigation on behalf of insurer clients in all Canadian jurisdictions, in both English and French. As a litigator he has extensive trial and appellate experience, particularly in the fields of insurance coverage, professional liability, directors' and officers' liability, product and aviation liability, and class action defence.

John was formerly a lecturer on insurance law at the McGill University Faculty of Law, and was a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. He is a frequent speaker and conference chair in his fields of practice, and an active member of Canadian Defence Lawyers.

John has maintained consistently high professional ratings for many years. He was named Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year 2011” (Insurance Law – Montreal)  and is currently listed and recommended in the guides below (see Awards and Recognitions section).



  • Québec Bar

  • Ontario Bar


  • LL.B., McGill University, 1979 

  • B.C.L., McGill University, 1978


Professional Associations

  • Law Society of Ontario

  • Quebec Bar

Awards and Recognitions

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada (2006 - current), in the fields of Class Action Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Insurance Law, Legal Malpractice Law and Product Liability Law

  • Legal 500 Canada 2021 -  Leading Individual in Canada for Insurance

  • 2017 – 2021 – Chambers and Partners as a leader (Band 1) in the field of Insurance: Dispute Resolution (Nationwide Canada)

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory since 2015 for the fields of Professional Liability, Litigation – Product Liability, Litigation – Directors' and Officers’ Liability, Litigation – Commercial Insurance

  • Who's Who Legal 2016 – Compendium Edition, in the field of Insurance and Reinsurance

  • Who's Who Legal 2016, in the field of Product Liability Defence

  • Who's Who Legal International since 2015, in the fields of Insurance & Reinsurance

  • Who's Who Legal since 2014, in the fields of Insurance & Reinsurance

  • AV® Preeminent™ peer review rating is 5/5 in the Martindale-Hubbell for Insurance; Professional Liability and Litigation

  • Martindale-Hubbell Top Lawyers in Canada 2013

  • The Best Lawyers  – ''Lawyer of the year'' in 2010 and 2017 in the field of Directors' and Officers' Liability Practice

  • The Best Lawyers  – ''Lawyer of the year'' in 2014 for Legal Malpractice Law

  • Representing a Canadian property and casualty insurer in an arbitration seeking recovery of amounts owed by an offshore reinsurer

  • Defending a car manufacturer against 3 consumer protection class actions

  • Defending a Canadian liability insurer against a direct coverage action relating to a multi-million dollar fire loss

  • Advising a Canadian directors’ and officers’ liability insurer on re-writes of its public and private company policy wordings

  • Representing an international liability insurer on coverage under a media liability policy in a high profile case which was recently decided by the Quebec Court of Appeal

  • Representing Canadian excess fidelity insurers on coverage with respect to a claim for a “mark-to-market” loss by a Canadian bank

  • Defending an aircraft manufacturer on behalf of its insurers against wrongful death claims following the crash of a chartered aircraft

  • Defending a distributor of welding wire against a product liability action relating to defective rail car bogies

  • Advising a Canadian liability insurer on coverage with respect to a class action by problem gamblers

  • Defending a Canadian liability insurer against a direct coverage action in the context of a class action for pollution and “neighborhood nuisance”

  • Representing a Canadian directors’ and officers liability insurer on coverage in a pre-certification settlement conference relating to a securities class action

  • Defending a U.S. manufacturer on behalf of its insurers against a product liability claim arising out of in-flight damage to an aircraft

  • Advising an international liability insurer on coverage with respect to a class action against a municipality for soil subsidence

  • Defending a Canadian liability insurer against a direct coverage action arising out of a fraudulent investment scheme



  • Insurance & Reinsurance



  • Climate Change Risk Practice