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Laura Safran

Laura Safran K.C.

One of the most knowledgeable lawyers I have ever come across.
client feedback - Chambers Canada

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.

    Bar admissionsAlberta, 1977British Columbia, 1996


    • 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.
    • English
    • 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), 2013–2021, 2023-2024
    • 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), 2020-2024
    • 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