Top 10 Influential Aboriginal Law Representatives in Canada 2023: In-Depth

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With traditional territories spanning the expanse of Canada, Indigenous peoples have a unique and complicated legal landscape to navigate regarding their rights, titles and governance. Several accomplished lawyers, dedicated to the representation of Indigenous peoples and the complexity of Aboriginal law, have distinguished themselves in this field. They each bring a unique set of skills, expertise, and understanding to the table to best serve their clients. Below are some notable figures in this highly specialized industry, providing nationwide services in Canada.

These practitioners, while all working extensively in Aboriginal Law, represent a wide range of expertise—from litigation to treaty negotiations, from natural resource management to environmental law. They are well-regarded for their proficiency in representing First Nations governments, understanding their unique customs and principles, and advocating on their behalf. Here, we showcase some of the stellar lawyers who are making a difference in Aboriginal Law today.

While these lawyers practice in various locations across Canada, notably in Vancouver, Ottawa, and Toronto, their services are largely provided on a nationwide basis. They have distinguished themselves in a variety of legal matters, including Aboriginal title claims, treaty violations, environmental law, resource management, and more. Their dedication to the rights and representation of Indigenous peoples is evident in the breadth and depth of their practice.

Allan Donovan

Representing the firm First Peoples Law, Allan Donovan brings wide-ranging experience to the field of Indigenous law, encompassing governance, litigation and rights and title. Known for his proficiency before courts and the Indian Claims Commission, he continues his work after a recent merger with his initial firm—Donovan & Company Barristers and Solicitors.

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Brenda Gaertner

Found at Mandell Pinder LLP, Brenda Gaertner is known for her advice on economic development, Aboriginal title, and rights. Her expertise in natural resource management positions her as a valuable asset to First Nations governments.

Karey Brooks

Working from Vancouver under the team of JFK Law LLP, Karey Brooks has gained recognition for proficiently representing First Nations in treaty infringement cases and infrastructure project negotiations. Often described as down to earth and thoughtful, Karey has a strong understanding of the customs and principles of First Nations.

Maxime Faille

A integral part of the Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP team, Maxime Faille has a reputed Aboriginal law practice. He is experienced in representing Indigenous clients in litigation, including class actions, as well as in treaty negotiations.

Brian Crane KC

Also at Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP, Brian Crane KC has cultivated a respected reputation through his widespread work in Aboriginal law. He is known for his representation of Indigenous clients in disputes, arbitrating and mediating disputes, and negotiating native land claims.

Bruce McIvor

Rounding out the team at First Peoples Law, Bruce McIvor stands out by his counsel on Aboriginal title claims and treaty violation matters. His knowledge and understanding of these areas of law make him a dependable advocate for Indigenous clients.

Robert Janes KC

A leading figure at JFK Law LLP, Robert Janes KC operates out of Victoria and Vancouver. Clients rely on his expertise in Aboriginal title, rights cases, and environmental law, as well as his active involvement in regulatory and litigation matters.

Merle C Alexander

Merle C. Alexander is with Miller Titerle + Company LLP. As a respected name in Indigenous resource law, he has acted on numerous projects and is well versed in a range of matters concerning Aboriginal law including regulatory engagement and impact benefit agreements.

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Nancy Kleer

Practising at Olthuis Kleer Townshend, Nancy Kleer provides representation for Indigenous clients in mining and mineral exploration matters. Her work includes litigation support and negotiations, with further expertise in environmental protection and assessment.

Renée Pelletier

The current managing partner of Olthuis Kleer Townshend, Renée Pelletier, based in Toronto, has a reputable track record for representing Indigenous clients on environmental law and treaty rights litigation.



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