April 2, 2012 3:52 PM

Meet Harvey Strosberg, Canada’s $8 Million Man

Posted by Brian Baxter

The most recently available Canadian government data indicates that Harvey Strosberg, the cofounding partner of Ontario-based class action firm Sutts, Strosberg, earned $8 million in 2010, making him the highest-paid lawyer north of the border, according to The Toronto Star.

The Star‘s report is based on information about attorneys’ earnings gathered by the Canada Revenue Agency for a report commissioned by the country’s Department of Justice to gauge judicial compensation rates. (The U.S. and Canadian dollar exchange rates are roughly equal today.)

While the revenue agency data does not explicitly identify Strosberg as Canada’s highest-paid lawyer, the Star notes that biographical information included in the report about the attorney in question—annual earnings of nearly $8.1 million by a 64-year-old lawyer living outside a major metropolitan area—rules out virtually everyone else.

“It’s the country’s worst kept-secret,” Warren Bongard, president and cofounder of Canadian legal recruiting firm ZSA Legal, told the Star. “I can almost guarantee it’s him.”

The now-67-year-old Strosberg works out of Windsor, Ontario, just over the Ambassador Bridge from downtown Detroit. Considered one of Canada’s most prominent litigators, Strosberg has spent recent years battling back from a stroke he suffered in October 2010. Strosberg’s comeback earned accolades from his peers, who have staged fundraisers for stroke victims in his honor.

“I was a trial lawyer that couldn’t speak,” Strosberg, the former head of the Law Society of Upper Canada, told The Globe and Mail for a story about his recovery published earlier this year. “I could write my name, but I couldn’t write anything else. I couldn’t communicate.”

The Am Law Daily reported in 2009 on the rise of Canadian class actions, which have surged in the last decade. Among the moves Sutts, Strosberg has made to ride that wave: hiring Andrew Morganti, a former of counsel at plaintiffs’ powerhouse Milberg, as an advisor on complex U.S. litigation.

Strosberg did not immediately respond to The Am Law Daily’s request for comment on the Star Monday. The Star notes that the second-highest paid lawyer in Canada in 2010 was between 60 and 63 years of age and earned almost $6.7 million while working out of Toronto, the country’s financial center where lawyers are most likely to earn the highest paycheck.

Other top earners include $4.1 million to a lawyer in London, Ontario—the hometown of another Canadian class action king—$3.7 million for one in Vancouver, $2.9 million for another in Montreal, and nearly $2 million for an attorney in Calgary. (Click here for additional information from the report on how much Canada’s lawyers make, including a geographic breakdown on compensation, courtesy of Lawyers Weekly.)

Last year The Am Law Daily noted that Petri Haussila, the global head of White  Case‘s capital markets practice in Helsinki, qualified as Finland’s second-highest-paid person thanks to the nearly $5 million in taxable income he collected in 2010. Haussila, whose compensation was disclosed in tax records compiled by the Finnish government, is already off to a prosperous 2012.

The White Case partner, who also declined to comment on his pay, is part of a team from the firm advising Finland’s Outokumpu Oyj on its $3.5 billion acquisition of the stainless steel unit of German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp.

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