Willian Watson 2214

William R. Watson

Baker & McKenzie LLP


Bill Watson’s practice focuses on large issue litigation and the conduct of complex negotiations, domestically and internationally, in the following fields: collective bargaining; government relations; health law; human rights; international labour standards; inquests; labour relations; occupational health and safety and privacy law.

Practice Focus

Bill joined Baker McKenzie in 1981 and was elected a Partner in 1987. Bill is a former Managing Partner of the Canadian offices and served for many years in senior management roles in Canada and internationally.

Bill has served as Practice Group Chair for the Chambers ranked Employment & Compensation Law Practice on three separate occasions, most recently commencing 1 March 2017.

Bill was an initial recipient of a University of Waterloo 50th Anniversary Alumni Award in recognition for his professional achievements and public service including service to the University.

In 2015, Bill was recognized for lifetime professional and public achievement by St. Paul's University College and was accorded a Distinguished Alumni Award.

In 2010, Bill and his wife, Jeanne Elgie-Watson, were recognized as philanthropists of the year awarded by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Bill is a frequent author, commentator and lecturer on the topics of domestic and international labour relations, occupational health and safety, and international labour standards. He has presented numerous papers and seminars domestically and internationally.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Board of Governors of the University of Waterloo - Chair
  • Law Society of Ontario
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Board of Governors of the University of Waterloo - Member of both the Buildings and Properties Committee and Governance Committee
  • Board of Governors of the University of Waterloo - Past Chair of the Pension and Benefits Committee
  • International Labor Organization - Former Canadian Employer Delegate

Corporate Responsibility

Bill is a past Chair of the University of Waterloo Alumni Council.

Since 2006 Bill has served as the Chair of the St. Paul's University College fundraising campaign and annually leads a fundraising golf tournament that has raised approximately a quarter of a million dollars to-date in support of student programming in international development, social entrepreneurship and aboriginal affairs.

Bill serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees for Jubilee United Church in Toronto and has led numerous fundraising initiatives for the Church.

Bill and Jeanne are active members and supporters of the Governors Council of the Shaw Festival Theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Bill has chaired numerous award winning Baker McKenzie United Way Campaigns in Toronto.


  • Ontario~Canada (1981)


  • York University (Osgoode Hall) (LL.B.) (1979)
  • University of Waterloo (B.A., Honours) (1976)


  • English