NST was founded in 1987. The firm's practice is limited to civil litigation with an emphasis on complex commercial disputes. The firm's strengths are high quality advocacy, intellectual rigour, flexibility in procedural matters and responsiveness to clients' needs.


Irwin Nathanson, Stephen Schachter and Ardella Thompson created the firm with one purpose in mind—to focus on trying difficult cases and arguing complicated appeals. Over the years, the firm has carefully added lawyers, and now boasts four Queen’s Counsel and several former law clerks, including two former clerks to the Chief Justice of British Columbia. However, the firm’s goal has never been growth for its own sake. It maintains Irwin Nathanson’s vision of a select group of lawyers with the depth of talent and breadth of expertise to efficiently and effectively handle commercial disputes of all sizes and kinds.

NST’s clients include successful private and public companies, many of whom are referred to us by leading Canadian and international law firms. NST regularly acts in the full range of commercial disputes, including contract disputes, shareholders’ disputes, securities and oppression claims, hostile take-over bids and derivative actions, class actions and representative proceedings, mining claims, pension litigation, actions for professional negligence, administrative proceedings, defamation actions and employment disputes. The firm has also acted for the successful plaintiffs in two of Canada's most significant mining cases, Minera Aquiline Argentina SA v. IMA Exploration Inc., and Inmet Mining Corp. v. Homestake Canada Inc.

Canadian Lawyer ranks NST as among the "Top 10 Litigation Boutiques" in Canada, and as only one of two firms on that list from British Columbia.

Benchmark Litigation (Canada) ranks NST in its top category ('Highly Recommended') of local litigation firms in British Columbia.  In February 2013, this publication named NST "British Columbia Firm of the Year".  In 2019, Benchmark Litigation (Canada) stated:

A true litigation boutique, Vancouver’s Nathanson Schachter & Thompson is held in the highest esteem by fellow litigators from within the province and beyond…

Name partners Irwin Nathanson and Stephen Schachter remain seasoned figureheads, both recipients of unanimous acclaim … [while at the same time the firm] has been grooming some great younger talent and turning them loose … The senior partners are still forces to be reckoned with, but they are going to need people to hand the torch to, and they managed to make this transition with people like James MacInnis, Karen Carteri, Kevin Loo and Peer Senkpiel.

Chambers & Partners ranks NST, along with one other firm, first among dispute resolution firms in Vancouver, stating:

What the team is known for

Highly regarded for its ability to handle some of the top cases in the province, with a high-quality team of practitioners focusing exclusively on civil and commercial litigation. Represents a significant portfolio of public and private companies in mining claims, contract disputes, shareholder and securities litigation. Other areas of expertise include arbitration, professional negligence and class actions.


Clients say: "The lawyers we use at Nathanson Schachter are excellent at dealing with very challenging litigants."

Work highlights

Represented Hong Kong Expo Holdings and Canadian Metropolitan Properties Corporation in a contractual dispute regarding a CAD500 million development of a major waterfront site in downtown Vancouver.

Successfully acted for Ocean Wise Conservation Society in challenging an order by the Vancouver Park Board preventing cetaceans being brought into an aquarium in a CAD100 million expansion project.

Notable practitioners

Irwin Nathanson QC has significant expertise across all manner of corporate and commercial litigation. His practice includes class action cases as well as securities and professional negligence litigation. Interviewees describe him as "a great lawyer; very clever and talented."

The "very capable" Stephen Schachter QC is highly regarded for his commercial litigation practice. He acts for clients in shareholder disputes, oppression claims, securities cases and class actions.

Randall Hordo QC is an "extremely qualified litigation lawyer," according to sources. He has expertise in pensions and securities matters, aviation product liability, personal injury and general business disputes.

James MacInnis offers solid counsel to public and private corporations as well as private individuals. He has a background in professional negligence, construction litigation and insurance defence, as well as resolving general business disputes.

Since its inception, the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, which identifies leading law firms and lawyers in Canada, has ranked NST as one of the "most frequently recommended" corporate commercial litigation firms in Vancouver. 

In 2017, Lexpert lists five NST lawyers as leading commercial litigators in British Columbia.

The 12th edition of Best Lawyers in Canada (2018) lists six lawyers at NST as leading practitioners in Vancouver and British Columbia in six separate practice areas.    

The Legal 500 Canada 2016 refers to NST as "a dominant force in British Columbia's litigation scene."  

In addition to its work for clients, the firm’s lawyers regularly contribute to legal scholarship, including: serving as adjunct professors at UBC Law School; writing chapters in texts on Business Torts, Government Liability, and the Annual Review of Law and Practice; frequently speaking at continuing legal education events on civil litigation law and practice; and authoring one of the province’s main litigation texts, the annual British Columbia Supreme Court Rules Annotated.


Community initiatives

NST is proud to support the Kidsafe Project and the Vancouver Sun's Adopt-a-School program.