Partner, WeirFoulds LLP
Called to the bar in 2005
Thirty-six hours straight. That’s how long Niki Iatrou stayed awake, prepping materials for his first appearance before the federal Competition Tribunal. It was 2007, and Iatrou was a “baby junior” at WeirFoulds LLP. The firm had been retained by the Competition Bureau to seek a last-minute injunction against Labatt’s $200-million acquisition of Lakeport Brewing Co. He lost, but 18 months later, the Bureau offered him a two-year secondment in Ottawa. Incoming Commissioner Melanie Aitken wanted an aggressive young litigator. “Niki was someone with terrific common sense and very good intuition,” says Aitken. “He had wisdom beyond his years.”
When the Bureau launched its first full-fledged merger challenge in six years, Iatrou got the file. It was a gruelling year. At the month-long hearing, Iatrou argued that Tervita, owner of two hazardous-waste landfills in northeastern British Columbia, had launched a $6-million bid for a would- be rival to head off future competition. He and his equally junior co-counsel, Jonathan Hood, won. And then they won again on appeal, setting a legal precedent. “Niki didn’t just do an okay job,” says Aitken, now a partner with Bennett Jones LLP in Washington, D.C. “He did a spectacular job.”
Iatrou, who serves as the president of the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers’ Association, returned to WeirFoulds as a partner in 2012 and began building a competition law group. Now, he represents high-profile companies such as Kobo and eBay.
Last summer, Iatrou and his spouse had a baby girl. “It’s so much fun,” he says. “I’m a happier person, and that infects my spirit at work as much as it does at home.” Though he’s now unreachable between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. for family time, he still pulls his share of non-baby-related all-nighters. “I don’t have to be the smartest guy in the room, but I strive to be the hardest-working guy in the room,” he says. “I don’t take any of this for granted.”