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September 15 2023 Jordan Walker

Featured Member: Bennett Jones

Rows of solar panels.

In the heart of Canada's bustling business landscape, a name stands out as a true leader in the legal realm: Bennett Jones.

With a legacy spanning more than a century, Bennett Jones has consistently held its place at the forefront of the country's legal and corporate affairs. Renowned not only for talent but also for its specialization in the oil and gas sector, Bennett Jones has played an integral role in shaping the industry's legal framework. Following a major 100-year milestone, they continue to show leadership by providing their expertise as the country embarks on its transition of energy.

Growing with the Alberta economy

Founded in 1922, Bennett Jones started as a firm with 10 lawyers in the Alberta prairies. Originally seeking a junior associate to help assist in his law practice, Conservative Senator James Alexander Lougheed hired Richard Bedford Bennett, whose instrumental work led him to be the future partner of the firm. Starting from humble beginnings, Bennett Jones (then Lougheed Bennett) soon became a critical player in representing some of Calgary’s biggest businesses at the time such as breweries, banks, the Canadian Pacific Railway, Calgary Power and more.

As leadership changed in 1930 when Bennett served as Prime Minister, the firm thrived both nationally and provincially as it continued to service some of the country’s largest organizations. At the end of the 1930’s, Bennett hired Mac Jones who helped lead the way in establishing the very first energy laws in Canada and became well-versed in the other industries it inevitably touched, including real estate, securities, financing and more. Since then, Bennett Jones has maintained a powerful presence in Canada’s legal landscape, despite several changes in leadership throughout their long, distinguished past.

With their captivating history following alongside the evolution of Alberta’s economy, it’s not hard to see why they dominate the legal arena in Calgary and beyond.

“We really grew up with the economy in Alberta with the oil and gas sectors,” says Managing Partner Pat Maguire, “and as the economy evolved and diversified, we’ve evolved and diversified with it.”

“We really grew up with the economy in Alberta with the oil and gas sectors,” says Managing Partner Pat Maguire, “and as the economy evolved and diversified, we’ve evolved and diversified with it.”

The road to 100 years

This past year, Bennett Jones was recognized for the 22nd time as a Best Employer in Canada, making the firm the longest-ranking Best Employer in Canada. That same year also marked their 100-year anniversary, which prompted a centennial celebration and a look back at their remarkable journey.

Regarding the festivities, Pat says “it was a good reminder about the rich history of this place and how we all benefit from the contributions of those that preceded us here.”

With the past century filled with complex challenges that faced society—war, recessions, financial crises and a pandemic—it has seemingly only proved to solidify the strength and resiliency that remains at Bennett Jones today.

Pat Maguire

Leading by example

As a small-town kid in Alberta, Calgary managing partner Pat Maguire attended law school in Edmonton at the University of Alberta before eventually relocating to Calgary to explore their promising business environment. As he navigated the world of law in Calgary, he soon realized that Bennett Jones was not only the leading legal profession in the city, but the benchmark of success. It wasn’t long after that Pat joined the team at Bennett Jones and began a long and successful career as a leading energy lawyer and is now the Vice Chair and Calgary Managing Partner.

Having just celebrated his 32nd year with Bennett Jones, Pat looks back fondly at his experience and still finds enjoyment in watching his colleagues advance their careers.

“We have a model here of creativity and collegiality. And that collegiality part, I try to lead by example on that and I get a lot of satisfaction from watching my colleagues succeed at their jobs,” he says.

Whether it’s the practice of law itself, solving client problems or being a mentor, Pat recognizes the immense value that Bennett Jones provides not only to clients, but to their employees as well.

“It’s been a great place to start and grow a career and I couldn’t be more proud of leading the talented group of people in our Calgary office.”

Considering themselves a major part of the diversification of the Western Canadian economy, Pat anticipates a bright future ahead for Bennett Jones.

“I think Canada’s got a lot of opportunities in the agribusiness side that are untapped,” he says. “I think the intellectual capital [in Canada] is too good to keep us down. I see Bennett Jones continuing to be at center ice based on whatever’s going on in the Alberta economy.”

The 24th World Petroleum Congress

As one of Canada’s premier energy law firms, it only made sense for Bennett Jones to sponsor the upcoming 24th World Petroleum Congress forum (WPC), September 17 – 21 in Calgary.

“WPC is a great meeting place for both government leaders and leaders of oil and gas and energy producers to get together to exchange ideas,” says Pat. “I suspect coming out of that, there will be
deals or transactions, the germination of which will happen over some discussion in Calgary in September.”

With the 5-day event featuring many different exhibits, special events and strategic sessions, the Congress attracts the biggest names from the energy industry to focus on delivering an accessible and secure energy transition. Looking forward to the forum, Pat anticipates many connections being made while addressing the critical topics surrounding the energy transition.

“It’s going to be a great time for Calgary to be hosting so many people with a shared, common goal of advancing the energy industry, petroleum and otherwise.”

To learn more about Bennett Jones, visit their website.


Interested in attending World Petroleum Congress? Visit their website to register.