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"

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."  

Chambers & Partners ranks NST, along with two others, 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 professional negligence and class actions.

Strengths Market observers report that this "excellent firm" is a "force to be reckoned with" and a "top player in the market."

Work highlights Represented Hong Kong Expo Holdings and Canadian Metropolitan Properties in a contractual dispute relating to the development of a waterfront site in Vancouver.

Defended Great Basin Gold's former directors against a negligence and misrepresentation claim.

Significant clients Google, Rogers Communications, Teck Resources.

Notable practitioners

Irwin Nathanson QC is a distinguished litigator with an "impeccable reputation" in the BC market. He is noted for his extensive experience of corporate commercial disputes and offers additional expertise in securities litigation and professional negligence matters.

Commentators view Stephen Schachter QC as a "leading" figure in the market and describe him as "very good counsel." The core of his litigation practice focuses on business matters, including shareholder disputes, hostile takeovers and professional liability, as well as class actions.

Randall Hordo QC has well-established experience acting as a litigator in the commercial field. He handles a range of matters in the commercial litigation space, including securities and partnership disputes, professional negligence and product liability.

James MacInnis handles a wide variety of matters, including contractual disputes, professional negligence claims and securities litigation. He also has notable capabilities in the construction, insurance and franchising sectors. Sources state: "He is meticulous, he is intelligent and does things in a timely way."

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.