Harold (Sonny) P. Gordon, Q.C.

June 10, 2020

Dear members of the Stikeman Elliott community,

We were saddened to learn that our former partner Harold (Sonny) P. Gordon, Q.C. passed away on June 6, 2020 at age 83.

I begin by saying that any tribute to Sonny will not capture the fullness of his personality and his contributions to our firm and its members.

Sonny attended Baron Byng High School in Montreal, after which he obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Concordia University), and a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Civil Law (McGill University). He also attended the Wharton Graduate School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sonny joined Stikeman Elliott in 1967 after working in Ottawa for Minister Maurice Sauvé. The firm was into its 15th year, Montreal was hosting Expo ’67, and Canada was celebrating its centennial. He was among a new generation of lawyers who would play a pivotal role in what came to distinguish the firm, in particular its business law practice. He was the second managing partner of our London office from 1971 to 1974 and was instrumental in the opening of our New York office in the early 1980s. He was a pioneer in developing what we now describe as our US cross-border practice, something that was novel and forward looking at the time. He became an expert on the newly adopted 1974 Foreign Investment Review Act, spearheading what became our Investment Canada practice. During his 28 years with us, he brought his business acumen and unbound energy to bear not only in his law practice, but also in helping to guide the firm as we grew and defined our place in the Canadian and global legal and business landscape. He was relentless about client service, pushing himself and others to deliver their best. Over time, he introduced many of our partners to client relationships that remain with the firm even today.

He had a lasting professional and personal impact on many current or former firm members who counted him as a mentor. He weaved like very few others the practice of law, the enjoyment of life, and true personal relationships, which translated into lasting friendships with colleagues and clients alike. To say he was gregarious is an understatement. Just as his desk overflowed with papers and files, any time spent with Sonny was filled with conversation, anecdotes and advice. Indeed, I recall when once he regaled John Leopold and I with countless stories as he drove us to a client’s shareholders’ meeting in Sherbrooke, only sparingly glancing at the road ahead, the car’s speed changing with the pace of conversation. The journey was always just as important as the destination for Sonny, and each time a renewed opportunity to relate to people.

He left the firm in 1995 to continue his career in the business world with board-level responsibilities including at US and Canadian listed companies. His interest in firm matters continued however, and he stayed connected with many current or former members of the firm. One of them was our former partner Daniel Colson, whom he had recruited, and who later had replaced him in London as Managing Partner in 1974. Until the end, Daniel remained a true partner and friend to Sonny and his wife Hanka as he accompanied them during his final months.

Sonny’s legacy touched many within our firm, the legal and business world, as well as in the broader community. He will be sorely missed. We offer our sincerest condolences to Hanka and their family.

Contributions to his memory may be made to the “Sonny Gordon Memorial Fund” c/o McGill University Foundation (+1 514 398-5000 | mcgill.ca/give), or to the Dunham House which Daniel founded and Hanka and Sonny supported (+1 450 263-3434 | dunhamhouse.ca) (see Paperman Obituary Harold P Gordon QC cr).


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Marc Barbeau