I have an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Toronto and a law degree from the University of British Columbia. I clerked for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia and then went to work for one of the large downtown law firms until I opened my own practice in 1980 with two friends as my law partners.
Since then I have been a litigator actively involved in criminal and civil litigation for the last 37 years. During that time I also taught courses and volunteered for various organizations.
In the early part of my career, I practiced criminal law and that led me to defend Aboriginal persons who were charged with illegal fishing and hunting. As my criminal practice and Aboriginal law practice increased, I took on a teaching position as an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia. At first I taught an upper level course called Advanced Criminal Law and after 20 years of teaching that course, I changed and now teach Aboriginal Law which I have taught as an adjunct professor for the last 5 years. Teaching has always been a small but enjoyable part of my practice.
I have worked in the same law office in False Creek, Vancouver for the last 37 years. I work in a law firm of three lawyers and these days the focus of the practice is First Nations Law, Class Actions and other kinds of litigation.
I have spent thousands of days in court, literally. Some of the cases that I have taken have made their way to the Supreme Court of Canada. Most recently I was lead counsel in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. Canada, a precedent setting case in which the Supreme Court of Canada declared Aboriginal Title for the first time in Canada. I have been lead counsel in many other cases in the Supreme Court of Canada.
My practice and my interests are aligned very well with what I perceive to be the goals and values of Ecojustice. I litigated alongside Ecojustice in the Beaver Lake Cree Nation case which was concerned with saving the Woodland Caribou. I successfully defended the position of the Beaver Lake Cree in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and then subsequently in Alberta Court of Appeal. I have, on occasion, been invited to volunteer my time for Ecojustice. I was an instructor for an in-house CLE workshop on oral advocacy just last year. I have also acted as the Chief Justice of the Moot Court at the Ecojustice offices in Vancouver to allow Ecojustice counsel to practice for the Red Chris Mine Environmental Assessment case which subsequently was heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.
At heart, I am a litigator. My career has been in the trenches doing cases in the courts. A list of notable cases in which I was lead counsel is listed on our website. In recent years, I have written and been published mainly in the area of Aboriginal Law and will provide copies of published articles if it will assist.
I was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2009. I have the highest possible rating for legal ability (A) and ethics (V) in Martindale-Hubbell, an authoritative and global source for rating lawyers and law firms. In 2015, I was nominated and received the Courage in Law award from the law students of the University of British Columbia.