Bennett Jones Welcomes Former Commissioner of Competition and Opens Washington, DC Office

Jan 14, 2013, 10:24 ET from Bennett Jones LLP

TORONTO, Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Bennett Jones is pleased to announce that Melanie Aitken, who most recently served as Canada's Competition Commissioner, has rejoined the firm.  Ms. Aitken was a partner at Bennett Jones when she went to the Competition Bureau in 2005. Melanie will manage the Washington office and serve as co-chair of the Bennett Jones Antitrust and Competition practice, advising Canadian and foreign clients on issues arising for those carrying on business or investing in Canada.

Ms. Aitken headed the Competition Bureau from 2009 to 2012, during which time the introduction of major amendments to Canadian competition law resulted in a US-style Second Request merger review process, and a new per se criminal cartel offence.  During her tenure the Bureau continued an unprecedented successful litigation record, enhanced strong working relationships of trust with counterpart agencies in the US and elsewhere, and played a leading role fostering cooperation among enforcement authorities around the world through an active role in the International Competition Network and the OECD. The Bureau was recognized for its analytical rigor and its enforcement will and principle, while following a bold initiative to strike a more accessible and productive relationship with business and industry.

"Melanie brings extraordinary legal and business acumen to our Antitrust and Competition group, and we are very pleased that she is rejoining Bennett Jones having earned a reputation as a top antitrust counselor and a superb litigation and strategic thinker.  The addition of Melanie and a Washington office will provide our US and Canadian clients with exceptional Canadian legal services and insight", says Hugh MacKinnon, Bennett Jones Chairman and CEO.  Commented Ms. Aitken, "I am enormously excited to be rejoining Bennett Jones, a firm I have long admired for its unwavering commitment to excellence, breadth of legal and industry expertise and strategic vision in advising clients in an increasingly global market. "

Ms. Aitken is a graduate of the University of Toronto Law School (Dean's Key, 1991).  She was a partner at Bennett Jones and another major Canadian firm before joining the Bureau in 2005 where she held a variety of posts, including the Senior Deputy position, in charge of merger review, prior to being appointed Interim and then full term Commissioner in 2009.  Ms Aitken has acted as counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada and had an active trial and appellate practice, including serving as counsel for the merging parties in Superior Propane, Canada's leading merger efficiencies case.

Ms. Aitken was chosen by WXN as one of Canada's Most Powerful Women in 2012, and as one of Canada's Most Influential Lawyers in 2011 and 2012.  She has been recognized as a leading Competition/Antitrust lawyer in Chambers Global, The World's Leading Lawyers, and as Top 40 Under 40 by Lexpert (2005).  Ms. Aitken was an elected Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada from 2007 until her appointment as Commissioner.  She has been an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode and Queen's Law Schools.

About Bennett Jones

Bennett Jones is one of Canada's premier business law firms. With a 90-year history and unparalleled depth in energy, natural resources and project development, the firm has over 375 lawyers and business advisors to serve the firm's international client base. With exceptional experience in complex cross-border and international transactions, the firm is well-equipped to advise foreign businesses and investors with Canadian ventures, and connect Canadian businesses and investors with opportunities in the US, China, the Middle East, and around the world. The Bennett Jones Washington office will exclusively practise Canadian law with a focus on competition and antitrust, and issues confronting US and international businesses in Canada.

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