William D. Hart

Key practice areas
Corporate and Commercial Law, Mergers and Acquisitions, Commercial Agreements
Québec Bar 1979

It is with deep sadness that we learned of the passing of our esteemed colleague and partner, William D. Hart, on June 29, 2024.


William D. Hart practises corporate and commercial law, primarily acting in M&A transactions involving European clients. He is the founder and co-head of the firm’s France-Québec practice group, a specialized team with over 30 years of experience accompanying a wide variety of French companies establishing themselves in Québec, notably through acquisitions. William’s regular presence in France, together with his broad involvement in the French business community in Québec, allow him to act as a valued legal advisor in transatlantic investments. He is also a sought-after speaker on this topic.

Prior to joining the firm, William spent over 10 years as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Steinberg inc., a diversified publicly-listed Québec company with extensive operations throughout North America, notably in the food and real estate sectors. In addition to managing the many legal aspects of ongoing business operations, he was closely involved in the hostile LBO of Steinberg and its subsequent dismantling and ultimate restructuring to repay over a billion dollars in acquisition debt. These responsibilities, coupled with his previous MBA studies (specializing in finance) at a Parisian “grande école” and related work experience, enable him to better understand and address his corporate clients’ needs.

William’s extensive experience in M&A transactions has also caused him to be frequently called upon to advise senior executives on the legal aspects of their management packages in change-of-control situations. In that capacity, he has been involved in some of the most significant acquisitions in Québec over the last few years.

William sits on the board of directors of several companies with international activities in the financial, high-net-worth wealth management and industrial sectors.

Mergers and acquisitions

Acts on behalf of several major French companies in their acquisitions or legal affairs in Québec, including ABGI Group, Accor Canada, Adecco Group, Alsace Lait/Maison Riviera, Ardian, Astorg, Bridor Canada, Camera One, Clauger, Crédit Industriel et Commercial (CIC), Crédit Mutuel Equity (CIC Capital Canada and CIC Capital Ventures), Eurofins, Fonds de Consolidation et de Développement FCDE, Groupe Alvest, Groupe Bolloré (Blue Solutions and Bolloré Logistiques), Groupe Euralis / Maison Rougié, Groupe Hérige (formerly VM Matériaux), Kerudys (formerly SVP Group), La Brosse & Dupont, Laboratoires Lehning, Moulage Plastique de l’Ouest, Riou Glass, SKEMA Business School, SNCF, Solina Group and Somfy Systems.

Compensation of senior management in change-of-control situations

Acts regularly on behalf of senior executives in their employment and equity incentive arrangements in the context of acquisitions of large companies such as Alcan Primary Metal Group, Air Canada Technical Services (AVEOS), Bombardier Recreational Products, CCM/The Hockey Company, CMC Electronics, Guess Canada, Nordia, Nortera (formerly Bonduelle), SR Telecom, Teleglobe, Telus (Manitoba Telecom), Van Houtte, and Yellow Pages.

  • Best Lawyers in Canada – Corporate Law, 2020-2024
  • Wainwright Prize, McGill University Law Faculty, 1978
  • Association of Essec Business School Graduates in Canada, President, 1997-2020
  • Schréder Inc., Member of the Board of Directors, since 2023
  • Blue Bridge Trust Company:
    • Member of the Board of Directors, since 2022
    • Member of the Ethics and Governance Committee, since 2023
  • Blue Bridge Wealth Management, Member of the Board of Directors, since 2021
  • Canadian Bar Association, Member, since 1993
  • CCI France International (formerly UCCIFE (Union of French Chambers of Commerce and Industry Abroad)), Member of the Executive Committee, 2004-2007
  • CIC Capital Canada Inc. and CIC Capital Ventures Inc. (subsidiaries of the French-based Crédit Mutuel Equity), Chairman of the Boards of Directors, since 2018
  • East Montréal Chamber of Commerce (CCEM), Member, since 2018
  • French Chamber of Commerce in Canada (CCIFC):
    • Honorary Chairman and Honorary Member of the Board of Directors, since 2021
    • Chairman of the Board of Directors, 2017-2018
    • Co-Founder of the Forum for Venture Capital and Private Equity, 2004-2010
    • Chairman of the Board of Directors, 2004-2008
    • Member of the Board of Directors, 1996-2021
    • Member of the Executive Committee, 1998-2009 and 2017-2019
  • International Admission Center for French Management Studies, Jury Member, 1993-2004
  • Monkland Tennis Club, Lifetime Member and Director, 1989-1995
  • McGill Law Journal, Member of the Board of Editors, 1977-1978
  • Co-speaker:  Made in Canada : L’accès aux marchés publics pour les sociétés françaises [Panel on access to public markets for French companies], as part of the Business Booster Forum, organized by the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Canada, webinar, March 11, 2021.
  • Speaker: Doing Business in Quebec, opening a door into North America: the law in Quebec and the business lawyer’s role, organized by National Bank Financial, Montréal, 2020.
  • Co-speaker: Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement: the government procurement chapter (application), organized by the Canadian Public Procurement Council Forum, Montréal, 2014.
  • Speaker: Corporate governance in Canada and in France, a workshop luncheon organized by the French Chamber of Commerce in Canada, 2011.
  • Speaker: Free Trade in North America: Myth or Reality?, organized by the North America Forum of the French Industrial Club (NAFIC) – How to stay competitive in North America?, 2007.
  • Speaker: Selling and Distributing Products and Services in Canada, as part of the Ubifrance Conference on NAFTA, Paris, 2006.
  • Speaker: NAFTA - A few observations and comments ten years later, as part of the Forum on French investments in Canada organized by the Canadian Embassy and the Québec Delegation in Paris, 2005.
  • Speaker: Remuneration of CEO and Members of Board of Directors, organized by Federated Press, 2004.

B.C.L., McGill University, 1978

LL.B., Common Law, McGill University, 1977

École supérieure des sciences économiques et commerciales (ESSEC – programme grande école), 1974

B.A., Economics, University of Saskatchewan, 1970