Michael Akkawi is a corporate/commercial lawyer focused on private equity and venture capital. Michael is the head of the firm's Private Equity Practice. In his mergers and acquisitions practice Michael advises private equity funds, venture capital funds and pension funds in all aspects of their domestic and cross-border M&A transactions and other investment activities, including leveraged buyouts, majority and minority equity investments, co-investments and restructurings.
In his private equity fund formation and fund investment practice, Michael advises both sponsors and institutional investors in structuring, negotiating and investing in private market funds. He has represented numerous institutional clients on their fund investment activities, including AIMCo, Alberta Teachers Retirement Fund, BDC, BMO, China Investment Corp, CIBC, EDC, HarbourVest, Northleaf, Scotiabank and Teralys. He also advises sponsors on fund formation spanning a range of private market areas, including buy-out, infrastructure, secondary and search funds, including most recently Imperial Fund IV and numerous funds for Caledon Capital. His work also includes a number of secondary transactions to buy or sell LP interests in a fund or a portfolio of funds.
Chambers & Partners’ Chambers Canada—Leading lawyer in Canada, private equity: buyouts & venture capital investment (2017)
Lexpert/Thomson Reuters' Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory—Leading lawyer in M&A and private equity (2016-2017)
Best Lawyers' Best Lawyers in Canada—Leading lawyer in private funds law (2014-2018) and corporate law (2016-2018)
Best Lawyers' Best Lawyers in Canada—Private funds law lawyer of the year (2018) (Toronto)
Law Business Research’s Who’s Who Legal Canada—Leading lawyer in private funds (2014-2015)
Lexpert/Thomson Reuters' Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory—Leading lawyer in private equity (2013-2014)
Lexpert’s Cross-Border Guide to the Leading U.S./Canada Cross-Border Corporate Lawyers in Canada—Cross-border practitioner to watch (2009 and 2010)
Lexpert's Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40 (2009)
Michael is corporate counsel to the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity, a not-for-profit, provincial government-sponsored organization. He also served as a director of the institute for over 10 years, starting with its founding. The institute was created to assess the economic competitiveness of the Province of Ontario by way of an independent task force chaired by Roger L. Martin, Dean of The Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
Michael has been an adjunct professor of Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, and has taught the Business Associations course twice. He was previously a co-chair of Torys’ Student Committee.
For many years, Michael was pro bono corporate counsel to Free the Children, a Canadian charity founded by Canadian child rights activists Craig and Marc Kielburger. Free the Children is the world's largest network of children helping children to develop as socially conscious global citizens and to become agents of change through domestic empowerment programs and leadership training. Michael was at the same time pro bono corporate counsel to Me to We, a new kind of social enterprise founded by Marc and Craig Kielburger. Me to We is committed to working with people who want to help change the world with their daily choices. Through its media, socially responsible choices and leadership experiences, Me to We supports Free the Children's work with youth creating global change.
In the past, Michael has also advised the Heart & Stroke Foundation, COSTI Immigrant Services and ILEAP (International Lawyers and Economists Against Poverty) on various corporate and commercial matters.