John P. Brown is Legal and Strategic Advisor, Indigenous Initiatives. John is the chair of the McCarthy Tétrault and MT>3 Reconciliation Committee. He is a mentor in the McCarthy Tétrault & Martin Family Initiative Mentorship Program for Indigenous Students which is committed to improving education and outcomes for Indigenous youth by linking the firm’s lawyers as mentors with Indigenous students in Grades 8 through 12.
In partnership with Pro Bono Students Canada, the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, and the Ontario and Canadian Human Rights Commissions, McCarthy Tétrault contributed to the development of a new Indigenous Human Rights Clinic. John is a member of the Advisory Council for the Clinic and in addition will be assisting and mentoring the firm’s lawyers who will be providing culturally sensitive legal services to Indigenous clients, and representing them at mediations and before tribunals.
John is a member of the Giiwedin Anang Council of Aboriginal Legal Services. The Council is comprised of Indigenous community members and provides an Alternative Dispute Resolution program for mediating child welfare, custody and access disputes involving Indigenous families using traditional methods. A key objective of the Council is to ensure that the children’s relationships with their Indigenous culture, traditions and history is respected, protected and maintained.
John’s family on his father’s side is Sto:lo whose traditional territory is the Fraser River Valley in British Columbia. He is of mixed heritage.
Prior to taking on the new role of Legal and Strategic Advisor, Indigenous Initiatives in January 2020, John was a senior partner in our Litigation Group in Toronto and a member of the National Class Action Group. As senior counsel, he has extensive experience representing major corporations and institutions, both international and domestic, in class actions. His practice included general commercial litigation and arbitration.
John regularly acted for international groups of companies in class actions across Canada, defending allegations of worldwide price-fixing conspiracies involving a wide range of products and services including computer parts, carbon products, air cargo services, financial services and feed additives.
John was counsel for a national financial institution and acted for it in class actions across Canada involving allegations that illegal interest rates were being charged for short-term consumer loans.
John was Canadian counsel for a major international aircraft manufacturer and acted for it in a number of product liability class actions. He defended aviation accident cases involving a wide variety of aircraft types and sizes for many years.
John is recognized as a leading lawyer in the area of class actions in the 2014-2019 editions of the Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory. He has also appeared as a leading lawyer in the following directories and publications:2015 Lexpert® Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada, 2014 Canadian Lexpert® Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, in the 2013 Lexpert® Guide to the Leading Litigation Lawyers in Canada, the 2013 Lexpert® Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada, in the 2012 Lexpert® Canadian Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada and in the 2012 Lexpert® /American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada. He is also listed in the Euromoney Legal Media Group's 2012 Guide to the World's Leading Product Liability Lawyers.
John is the Co-Chair of the International Bar Association (“IBA”) Multi-Jurisdictional Class Action/Collective Redress Working Group and the Chair of the IBA Task Force on International Procedures and Protocols for Class Actions. He is the co-author of the Task Force’s report on Guidelines for Recognizing and Enforcing Foreign Judgments for Collective Redress. (see Publications). He is a past Chair of the IBA Consumer Litigation Committee.
John acted in a full range of litigation matters before courts in Canada including arbitrations, mediations, and commercial litigation at all levels of trial and appeal. He also appeared before many administrative boards and tribunals. He was successful in changing the law in Ontario relating to security for costs.
John has taught advocacy and civil procedure in the Bar Admission Course of the Law Society of Upper Canada, as well as appearing as a speaker/instructor in various litigation-related seminars/conferences.
John received his BA in 1978 and his LLB in 1981, both from the University of Toronto. He was called to the Ontario bar in 1983.