John Adair

John Adair


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John is a bold and skillful courtroom advocate. Clients choose John for his no-nonsense approach, sharp judgment, and ability to identify what really matters in contentious and complex disputes. They trust him to tell them what they need to hear, even when it’s hard to hear. John is attuned to his clients’ specific objectives, and skillfully identifies the most straightforward path to achieving them.
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John's advocacy is tried and tested, having conducted dozens of lengthy and complex arbitrations, trials, and administrative hearings. John has a robust appellate practice, having appeared at the Court of Appeal for Ontario on over 40 appeals and before the Supreme Court of Canada on multiple occasions. 

John does not shy from challenge. Some of John’s most notable cases are the product of his creative, boundary-testing approach, and passion for applying the law creatively to achieve sensible outcomes and promote access to justice:

  • Successfully trying several oppression cases before the Ontario Superior Court's Commercial List;
  • Successfully acting for appellants overturning trial decisions, including in one of the largest damages awards of its kind in Ontario history;
  • A claim against the Republic of Iran that was the first claim against a foreign state under Canada’s Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act;
  • Acting for members of the family of the late Honey Sherman in a claim against a trust set up by Canadian business icon Barry Sherman;
  • Acting for the plaintiffs in a class action against Facebook (Meta) and Instagram for psychological harm done to users; and
  • Acting in numerous family business and/or partnership disputes where there is more than $100 million in issue.

For his excellence in litigation, John is consistently recognized as a leading litigator by his peers and leading publications, including by Chambers, Lexpert, Benchmark, and Best Lawyers. He has been listed each year since 2022 as one of Canada' 500 leading lawyers. John also frequently acts on a pro bono basis in legally important cases, including disputes over the constitutionality of Ontario's school curriculum and regarding the liability arising from medical clinical trials.

John’s passion for advocacy extends beyond casework. John is regularly invited to speak at conferences and conduct advocacy demonstrations. He has authored numerous articles related to litigation issues, including evidence and expert witnesses, and received the David Stockwood Memorial Prize, awarded biannually by The Advocates’ Journal. John is a former co-chair of the Advocates’ Society Commercial Litigation Practice Group.

John is an engaged alumnus of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, where he is invested in developing and supporting new lawyers. He has served as an instructor of Trial Advocacy, mentored students through the Alumni-Student Mentorship Program, and is presently an Adjunct Professor of Access to Justice and the Legal Process. 

Memberships + Legal Leadership

  • Member, The Advocates' Society
  • Former Co-Chair, Commercial Litigation Practice Group ,the Advocates’ Society


  • Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto, Access to Justice and the Legal Process
  • Instructor, Trial Advocacy Program, University of Toronto
  • Mentor, University of Toronto, Alumni-Student Mentorship Program


  • Volunteer coach, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Bar Admissions

  • Ontario, 2006 


  • Court of Appeal for Ontario 


  • JD, University of Toronto, 2005
  • BA (Honours), Queen’s University, 2001