Bill Cole is a consultant for Nelligan Law, specializing in negotiation, mediation and arbitration.

Bill has represented firefighters, police, airline pilots, healthcare workers, hospitality workers, and many others in collective bargaining as spokesperson, strategist, or general advisor. He has been involved in more than one hundred and fifty interest arbitrations in these sectors, as an advocate or nominee. Bill has extensive mediation experience in both rights and interest disputes. He has also acted as a single arbitrator to resolve internal union disputes in the hotel sector.

Bill is a Senior Research Associate in the Labor & Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. His research interests include compulsory dispute resolution systems for essential service workers and their impact on negotiation effectiveness. He appears regularly at Harvard’s annual Trade Union School, speaking on leadership, organizational development and negotiations to union representatives from around the world. Bill’s previous research includes a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of mediation-arbitration to resolve collective bargaining disputes in the firefighter and police sectors in Ontario. Bill provides custom training programs for a variety of clients, including medium and large unions across Canada. He is also on the faculty of a joint Harvard-University of Ottawa Executive Leadership Program for Canadian Police Associations.

Bill enjoys exploring theories of negotiating and conflict resolution, and applying that knowledge on behalf of a client. He is passionate about fairness and transparency, and making sure his clients receive what they are entitled to. Bill is focussed on resolving disputes without resorting to a lengthy litigation process, and his depth of knowledge and experience make him a very effective negotiator. He is determined and thorough, and communicates with his clients in a clear and understandable way.

Outside of the office, Bill is a hockey-dad who spends time racing from one rink to another.


  • >LL.M., Osgoode Hall Law School (2007)
  • >Graduate Certificate, Conflict Resolution (Mediation), Carleton University (2000)
  • >B.A. Law, Carleton University (1990)

Professional Activities and Organizations

  • >Canadian Industrial Relations Association
  • >Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution
  • >Law Society of Upper Canada