Mtre. Brian Riordan graduated in law from McGill University in 1978, where he served as a senior editor for the McGill Law Journal. As well, he holds a master’s degree in economics from the same institution. Called to the Barreau du Québec in 1979, he practiced commercial and employment law until his appointment to the Superior Court of Québec in December 2004.
He retired from the court in October 2022 after 18 years on the bench, where he was a member of the Commercial Division. There, he is best known for his judgments in the area of shareholder oppression and insolvency matters.
From January 2008 to December 2014, he was the case manager and trial judge for the two class actions against the three Canadian cigarette manufacturers. By his judgment of May 27, 2015, he condemned the defendants to damages of over 15 billion dollars in favour of Quebec smokers.
In his role as consultant to Spiegel Sohmer, he advises in the areas of litigation strategy and techniques and provides a strong presence in the mentoring and coaching of the younger members of the firm. He also maintains a separate mediation and arbitration practice.
Throughout his career, he has given much time to youth-oriented services. He was the president of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Montreal for several years and offered his limited thespian talents to more than a dozen fund-raising theatrical productions for the benefit of both the Centaur Theatre and, more recently, the Geordie Children’s Theatre. He insists that any suspicion of type casting in his being chosen to play Ebenezer Scrooge in two productions of the Christmas Carol is pure humbug.