Focus On

Torys adds technology industry lawyer as Toronto partner

Monday, March 18, 2019 @ 12:00 PM | By John Chunn

Torys LLP announced that technology industry lawyer Kristine Di Bacco joined the firm’s partnership on March 11.

After more than a decade with Silicon Valley firm Fenwick & West LLP,  Di Bacco will lead the newly formed emerging technology companies and venture capital practice in Torys’ Toronto office.

According to the firm’s press release, Di Bacco’s experience is in advising startups and investors on corporate transactional matters, including the formation of startup companies, venture capital financing, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and public offerings.

At Fenwick & West’s Mountain View, Calif., office, Di Bacco advised and was involved with many clients including unicorns like WeWork, Square, GoPro, Pinterest, BuzzFeed and Facebook, and other successful startups including Everlane, LearnVest and Tile.

She was then a founding partner of Fenwick’s New York City office and has been instrumental in the rapid growth of that office from eight to more than 45 lawyers. Di Bacco said moving to “Silicon Valley North” made sense given the rate at which Toronto’s technology hub is growing.

“There is a reason major international technology companies like Shopify and WealthSimple are headquartered in Canada,” she said.

“The scene is exploding and there’s no sign of it slowing down. The S&P/TSX technology index has gained 17 per cent in the last year despite the volatility in other sectors.

“The energy is tangible. More tech jobs are being created here than anywhere else in the world.”

Some of the world’s largest organizations have also seen the value Toronto offers to the technology sector and its thriving startup culture: Microsoft announced it will move its Canadian headquarters to downtown Toronto in 2020, Adobe is looking to open an AI lab in the city, and Thomson Reuters is investing $100 million in the Thomson Reuters Technology Centre.

“This type of momentum excites investors but startups still have a lot they need to navigate,” she said.

“Torys has the deep commercial and legal expertise to guide these companies through all the stages of their development, and it’s inspiring to work alongside them as they reach their full potential.”

Torys managing partner Les Viner said the decision to hand-pick Di Bacco was a strategic move that aligned with the firm’s objectives to strengthen its presence in the technology sector.

“We see technology as a fundamental pillar of the Canadian economy, alongside financial services, mining, energy and agriculture,” Viner said.

“Kristine is a world leader with experience and familiarity with technology companies and venture capital investors that is second to none in Canada. We believe that combining her unique skill set with the quality and bench strength that already exists within Torys offers a powerful advantage for clients in this sector.

“Our team can provide expert advice across the full menu of services startups require, including, tax, IP, licensing, employment, litigation, financing and so on.”