Laura Safran K.C.Counsel
Laura M. Safran, K.C., is counsel at the firm’s Calgary office and specializes in the areas of corporate/commercial, intellectual property and technology law. She is the head of Canada’s Aviation group, and co-head of Canada’s Education group.
Laura acts for national and international corporations, major institutions and government entities in respect of a wide variety of commercial and corporate transactions, including asset and share sales, asset leasing, asset-based financings, partnerships, joint ventures, corporate governance, outsourcing transactions and restructurings.
Laura has led significant mergers and acquisitions transactions on national and international levels. She also represents public sector clients in the education and health fields and has worked on a variety of public-private infrastructure transactions. Laura’s practice also includes significant intellectual property and information technology related transactions. She has many years’ experience in the education law field and recently acted as Acting General Counsel of a major public school board and is general corporate counsel to a well known post-secondary polytechnic training institute.
Laura is a prominent aviation lawyer and held the position of Vice-President, Law and Corporate Secretary of Canadian Airlines International for a number of years. Since returning to private practice, she has represented a wide variety of aviation-industry clients, including Canadian and non-Canadian air carriers, with respect to new and used aircraft acquisitions, dispositions, leases and financings, airline operational and safety matters, aviation regulatory issues, aviation claims work, airport related matters and international air law matters.
Laura completed the update to the Canadian Encyclopedia Digest (4th ed.) on Aviation (Carswell), the first update since 1998 and also provides the sole annual Canadian updates to Getting the Deal Through – Air Transport and The Aviation Law Review. She has also spoken widely in Canada and internationally on aviation law issues and was a Sessional Lecturer in Aviation Law at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law for many years.
Laura is consistently noted as a leading lawyer by all of the noteworthy global legal directories, including Canadian Legal Lexpert, Best Lawyers in Canada, Legal 500 Canada, Who’s Who Legal, Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law, Guide to the Worlds’ Leading Aviation Lawyers and Expert Guides: The Best of the Best (Aviation). She has been named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women (2004) by the WXN and the Globe & Mail, as well as one of the Leading Women Lawyers in Canada (2009) by Lexpert. Chambers Global ranks Laura in Band 1 for transportation law: Aviation.
Laura is a member of the Law Societies of Alberta and British Columbia. She also is a former member of the Boards of Directors of the Calgary International Airport Authority, The Van Horne Institute (leading national research institute focused on transportation, logistics and supply chain), and a former part-time member of the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada.
- Led the DLA Piper Canada team representing Onex on aviation law and related legal matters in its acquisition of WestJet Airlines, the largest private equity purchase of an airline in aviation history.
- Counsel to various clients on a variety of national and international transactions involving mergers and acquisitions, including lead Canadian counsel to vendor on U.S. $1.3 billion sale of Gibson Energy to U.S. private equity interests.
- Lead corporate counsel to the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and its subsidiaries and former Acting General Counsel to The Calgary Board of Education. Corporate Counsel to a number of other Canadian post-secondary and other learning institutes.
- Handles variety of commercial real estate and P3 transactions.
- Handles a variety of intellectual property and electronic media transactions, including development and licensing of software, IT servicing transactions, domain name issues, copyright and trade-marks issues and privacy issues and sales and purchases of software development companies. Former counsel to a university IP commercialization subsidiary and handles IP and IT transactions for educational institutes and educational training materials developers.
- Represents numerous foreign air carriers and Canadian air carriers operating on scheduled or charter basis, including on seasonal basis, in respect of licensing, certification and other Canadian aviation regulatory matters. Handles aircraft maintenance work, represents aviation insurance syndicates and other clients in regard to aviation claims and accidents, counsel to Canadian government in respect of major airline refinancing, handles airport related issues and airline operational agreements and unmanned aviation vehicles (drones) matters. Provides Canadian aviation law advice to largest global helicopter operator. Represented the pilot group of WestJet Airlines prior to unionization.
- Handles domestic, international and transborder sales, leases and financings of aircraft, engines and parts for various sellers, buyers, lessees, lessors and financiers, including fractional aircraft transactions.
- Counsel to a number of corporate and institutional clients on supply chain legal issues, including development and negotiation of procurement documents for goods and services.
- Completed a number of major outsourcing transactions, including leading the legal team representing the Calgary Health Region on outsourcing of all human resources related functions.
- Commercial counsel to Canadian partnership structure in respect of tax structured transactions involving oil and mining production in Canada.
- Counsel to corporations and boards of directors on governance and fiduciary issues.
- Advises corporations and public institutions on legal issues concerning enterprise risk management.
LL.M., (Doctorate of Jurisprudence Program), Columbia University, 1981
- LL.M., London School of Economics, 1978
- LL.B., Osgoode Hall, 1976
Laura has been recognized as a leading lawyer by a variety of publications and directories. Most notably, Laura has been ranked in Band 1 by Chambers Global for Transportation and Chambers Canada for Transportation: Aviation: Finance.
- Best Lawyers in Canada (Aviation Law), 2006–2024; (Corporate Law), 2023-2024
- Leading Lawyer, The Legal 500 Canada (Transport: Aviation), 2017-2022, 2024
- Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory (Aviation-Regulation & Liability), 2013–2021, 2023
- Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory (Corporate Mid-Market), 2021
- Chambers Canada (Transportation: Aviation), Band 1, 2016-2024
- Chambers Global, (Transportation), 2014–2017
- Expert Guides: Guide to the World's Leading Women in Business Law, 2013-2020
- Expert Guides: Guide to the World’s Leading Aviation Lawyers, 2016-2019
- Expert Guides: The Best of the Best (Aviation), 2016, 2019
- Who's Who Legal: Aviation (Finance),2018-2019; (Aviation Contentious), 2018-2019; (Aviation Regulatory), 2018-2019
- Who's Who Legal: Transport (Aviation Contentious), 2016-2017; (Aviation: Contentious and Regulatory), 2020-2023
- Who's Who Legal: Canada (Aviation), 2010–2023
- Lexpert® Zenith Award, recognizing Leading Women Lawyers in Canada, 2009
- Recognized as one of Canada's Most Powerful Women by Women's Executive Network (featured in the Globe and Mail), 2004
- Co-author, "Canadian Chapter in The Aviation Law Review", Law Business Research, Editions 1–4, 2014–present
- Co-author, "Canadian Chapter in Getting the Deal Through: Air Transport", Law Business Research, Editions 1–5, 2013–present
- Author, "Canadian Encyclopedia Digest (4th ed.) on Aviation", Carswell
Memberships And Affiliations
- Chair and Member, Province of Alberta Teacher Certification Appeal Committee
- Former part-time member, Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada
- Former Member, Board of Directors, Calgary International Airport Authority (2011-2019)
- Former Member, Board of Directors, Van Horne Institute
- Former Member, Board of Directors, Van Horne Foundation
- Member of the Alberta and British Columbia Law Societies
- Past President, Canadian Bar Association, Air and Space Law Subsection
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Canadian Transport Lawyers' Association
- Member, International Aviation Women's Association
- Trustee of a Charitable Society