Marie Cossette was called to the Quebec Bar in 1991 and joined Lavery in 2011. She has numerous years of experience handling major cases in diverse areas of litigation.
A significant component of her practice is devoted to public law, administrative law and disciplinary law. She acts regularly in matters raising issues of State relations with various parties and in different forms. She advises public bodies and government corporations in proceedings before various courts and tribunals. In particular, she has developed strong expertise relating to commissions of inquiry, having acted as senior counsel to the Gomery Commission, assistant chief counsel to the Johnson Commission, and counsel to the Quebec provincial police officers during the Poitras Commission. She currently represents a major public contracting authority before the Charbonneau Commission. She also acts for various professional orders and professionals in disciplinary and penal investigations and with respect to administrative governance issues.
A second component of Ms. Cossette’s practice is focused on construction law litigation. She advises both private and public sector clients in procurement, tendering and contracting matters on claims, calls for tenders, defects and poor workmanship, the professional liability of industry participants, and other related subjects. These matters raise a wide variety of technical issues and often require the administration of complex expert evidence.
Through her work in these two areas of practice, Ms. Cossette has acquired extensive experience on ethical questions, professional conduct and integrity issues, particularly in construction. She is also the head of the firm's Corporate and Business Integrity Practice Group, which she set up in concert with the firm’s management.
Lastly, Ms. Cossette represents many clients in various commercial litigation matters (arbitration, commercial leases, shareholder agreements, intellectual property in the context of research projects, unpaid commissions and services, manufacturing defects, commercial fraud, misappropriation of business opportunities, etc.).
Concurrently with these more traditional practice areas, Ms. Cossette has also developed an expertise in managing media relations in litigious matters. She has worked closely with public relations firms, teaming with her clients to ensure their rights are respected, while providing them with an understanding of public relations imperatives. Hand in hand with this experience, she has practical knowledge of the workings of the print media, television and radio. She acts regularly as a legal analyst for the Réseau de l’Information (RDI) and la Société Radio-Canada — the French wing of the CBC.
Ms. Cossette has contributed, as author or co-author, to various conferences and publications dealing with the functioning of commissions of inquiry, the role of commission counsel, communications issues, crisis management, disciplinary law and integrity issues.
She is an articling principal and the coordinator of the Litigation Group in the firm's Quebec City offices. She is also a member of the firm’s Professional Development Committee and heads the United Way campaign in the Quebec City offices.
- Analyst for Radio-Canada and the Réseau de l'information (RDI) on legal matters generally, commissions of inquiry and integrity issues.
- Client support on ethical, governance and integrity issues.
- Client support for crisis management and media relations;
- Counsel to four highly publicized commissions of inquiry (Charbonneau Commission, Gomery Commission, Johnson Commission and Poitras Commission);
- One of the lawyers representing Commissioner Gomery, in his capacity as commissioner, before the Federal Court concerning the judicial review of certain conclusions in his report;
- One of the lawyers acting for the Honourable Chief Justice François Rolland before the Supreme Court of Canada concerning a constitutional challenge of the rules of practice governing media activities in courthouses;
- One of the lawyers representing a large law firm in a proceeding involving several million dollars arising from a financing that was found to be fraudulent;
- Representation in relation to commercial arbitrations (shareholder agreements, termination of commercial lease, intellectual property in connection with research projects);
- Representation in matters involving the duty of loyalty and the misappropriation of business opportunities by former corporate directors;
- Representation of engineers in professional liability proceedings;
- Representation in construction law and procurement and tendering matters on behalf of major public and private sector clients (claims, defects and poor workmanship, performance bonds, contestation of contract award decisions);
- Representation in civil liability class-action suits;
- Representation before disciplinary boards and in penal matters on behalf of several professional orders and professionals.
- May 29, 2014 - Participation in the program Sous la loupe (RDI) as a commentator on the trial of the former Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, Lise Thibault
- May 27, 2014 - Participation in the Radio-Canada program Première heure as a commentator on the trial of the former Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec, Lise Thibault
- May 9, 2014- Participation to the “Le Téléjournal midi” to comment the trial of former Lieutenant Governor of Québec, Lise Thibault
- April 9, 2014- Participation to the “Radio-Canada cet après-midi” to comment the beginning of the trial of former Lieutenant Governor of Québec, Lise Thibault;
- April 9, 2014- Participation to the Radio-Canada’s television program Le téléjournal Québec to comment the beginning of the trial of former Lieutenant Governor of Québec, Lise Thibault;
- November 22, 2013 – Participation to the “Sous la loupe” broadcast (RDI) to review the work of the Commission spéciale d’examen des événements du printemps 2012;
- November 4, 2013 – Participation to the téléjournal RDI to give her opinion on certain issues raised by the election results of the Quebec municipal elections;
- Mid October to November 3,2013 – analyst for the RDI broadcasts on municipal elections and the electoral evening hosted by Mr. Patrice Roy;
- September 23, 2013 - Participation to "Pas de midi sans info" (Radio-Canada) to discuss the beginning of the hearings of the Commission spéciale d'examen des événements du printemps 2012;
- August 31, 2013 - Participation to RDI Matin Week-End to sum up the evident problems encountered by the Commission spéciale d'examen des événements du printemps 2012;
- August 25, 2013 - Participation to RDI Matin Week-End to discuss municipal elections;
- June 9, 2013 – Participation to RDI Matin Week-End to discuss the Ménard Commission;
- April 3, 2013 – Participation to the Champ Libre (Radio Canada) broadcast to discuss the class action under preparation against a Hamilton company;
- November 18, 2011 – Participation to the 24 heures en 60 minutes broadcast (Radio Canada) – Discussion respecting the Commission of inquiry on the construction industry;
- March 11, 2011 – Participation as a legal expert to the Huis clos broadcast (Télé-Québec Tv) “Avons nous encore besoin d’une commission d’enquête publique sur la construction”;
- May 8, 2009 – Participation to the Christiane Charette broadcast (Radio Canada) to discuss the Oliphant Commission;
- 2009 – Main analyst for RDI concerning the work of the Oliphant Commission.
Presentations and conferences
- Speaker and chairperson for the disciplinary law theme day at the Conference on Advanced Training in Administrative Law, Canadian Institute, : "General Principles of Regulatory Investigations and Application to Disciplinary Investigations" (June 2014)
- Speaker for the Quebec Bar: "Status report on the anti-corruption provisions introduced by Bill 1: was the objective achieved?" (2014)
- Moderator for a debate on the subject of integrity organized by the Quebec Order of Engineers in connection with the election campaign (2014)
- Speaker for the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités: “Is your municipality ready to manage a media crisis?” (2013);
- Workshop presenter at the plenary meeting of the Annual Congress of the Quebec Bar entitled: “Politics in the post corruption era: utopia or hope?” (2013);
- Speaker at the Annual Congress of the Quebec Bar: “When a “No-comment!” answer is not enough: The lawyer’s role in crisis management”) (2013);
- Organizer, honorary co-chairperson and speaker at the symposium entitled “Crisis Management: The legal advisor’s survival guide” by Insight: “The lawyer and media liaison officer duo – Roles and the importance of complementarity” (2012);
- Co-speaker at a symposium on Risk Management organized by Lavery, de Billy: "Precautions to take with regards to lobbying and relations with public authorities" (2012);
- Speaker at the Annual Congress of the Quebec Bar: "Media management in times of crisis and litigation" (2012);
- Speaker at a symposium on “Managing Litigation Risks” organized by Lavery, de Billy: “ Communicating with media : challenges and markers” (2011);
- Speaker for the Quebec Bar and the Quebec City Bar: "How to identify invisible barriers for women in the legal profession," for International Women's Day (2010);
- Speaker for the Women in the Legal Profession Committee of the Montreal Bar: "Communicating Effectively Using Your Personality" (2010);
- Co-chair and speaker at the 4th annual symposium on Women in Law organized by Les femmes de carrière en interaction: "Communicating Effectively" (2009);
- Speaker at a symposium on commissions of inquiry organized by the CBA: “The Role and Challenges of Counsel to the Commission" (2009);
- Co-chair and speaker at a symposium on Women and Leadership organized by Les femmes de carrière en interaction: "Identifying and Overcoming Invisible Barriers" (2008);
- Speaker for the Quebec order of professional engineers (Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches division) and the Science & Engineering Faculty of Université Laval: “Lessons to be Learned from the Johnson Commission” (2008).
- “Understanding the Organization and Operation of Public Commissions of Inquiry in Order to Achieve Greater Influence,” Annual Congress of the Quebec Bar (2010);
- Co-author of the "Status and Role of Commission Counsel," The Law of Public Inquiries in Canada, Carswell (2010);
- Review of the manuscript of The Law of Public Inquiries in Canada by Simon Ruel, Carswell (2010);
- "The Role and Challenges of Counsel to the Commission", Proceedings of the 2009 CBA continuing education symposium on Commissions of Inquiry, volume 6 (2009);
- Co-author of the "Appropriation of a Business Opportunity: Liability of Senior Management", The Canadian Bar Association's National Magazine and CBA PracticeLink (2009);
- Helped draft the treatise “Précis de droit professionnel” (Summary of Professional Law), Editions Yvon Blais (2007).
Professional and community activities
- Ambassador for the Cultural Council for the Cultural Participation of Young People (2014 - )
- Member of the Board of Directors of the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Québec (2013- )
- Member of the Réseau des Femmes d’affaires du Québec (2013 - )
- Member of the Organizing Committee for the 2013 Congress of the Quebec Bar (2012-2013)
- Chair of the United Way Committee for Lavery in Quebec City (2012- )
- Member of the Comité Affaires-Culture for the Chambre de commerce de Québec (2012- )
- Member of the Canadian Bar Association's Communications Committee (2009- )
- Member of the Executive Council of the Quebec Branch of the Canadian Bar Association (2011-2012)
- Member of the Bar of Montreal's Women in the Legal Profession Committee (2009-2010)
- Honorary president of the financing campaign of the Théâtre Le Périscope (2011)
- Honorary committee member for the Théâtre La Veillée fundraising campaign (2009-2010)
- Member of the Honour Roll of Marie-Rivier School (Drummondville Deschênes School Board) to encourage young people to pursue their education (2008)
- Member of the Canadian Bar Association
- LL. B. Civil Law, University of Sherbrooke (Winner of the university’s Prix du Barreau du Québec prize for the highest overall marks among graduating students planning to join the Quebec Bar)
- Member of the Quebec Bar since 1991 (Quebec Bar Prize)
Lavery at a glance
An independent law firm, offering the full range of legal services to business. More than 200 lawyers in Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières and Ottawa. Member of the World Services Group, an international network of service firms with offices in more than 115 countries.