Leah DeForrest

  • Leah DeForrest
    Leah DeForrest
    Tel: 250.588.5640
    Fax: 250.361.9429
    leah@dgwlaw.ca

  • Leah was called to the British Columbia bar in August of 2010 and joined Devlin Gailus Watson in April 2011. Leah began her legal career working as a Clerk of the Court in the Yukon Territory, and later in Victoria. As a Court Clerk, Leah travelled to many remote locations gaining considerable experience in the areas of Community Justice and Restorative Justice Practices. Leah obtained a Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management from Royal Roads University, and then her law degree at the University of Victoria. Leah completed her articles with a prominent criminal law firm in Victoria. She has appeared at both the Provincial and Supreme Court levels. Leah advises First Nations on a wide range of issues including civil litigation, fisheries, labour and employment matters, and community development initiatives..

    Representative Experience:

    Litigation

    • Representing First Nation Councils and individuals in matters concerning Employment Law and asserting Aboriginal Rights in relation to Traditional and Treaty territories
    • Participating as Junior Counsel in complex, multi-party litigation involving advanced electronic court technology (Willson v. British Columbia a.k.a. The Western Boundary of Treaty No. 8 trial) and the Cohen Commission Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River
    • Representing client groups and individuals in litigation related to estates and contract disputes
    • Mediation services

    Negotiation

    • Participating in negotiations of Impact Benefit Agreements and Environmental Protocol Agreements involving energy and natural resources

    Economic Development

    • Drafting Land Codes to accommodate community needs associated with leasing or mortgaging reserve lands
    • Assessing client business organizations and making recommendations based on community needs

    Strategic Planning

    • Collaborating with client groups to leverage rights for the purposes of obtaining long-term protection of traditional lands
    • Drafting by-laws, governance and human resource policies geared towards promoting healthy communities and stable working environments

    Professional and Community Activities

    • Member of the Canadian Bar Association (Aboriginal Law Vancouver Island Section)
    • Member of the Law Society of British Columbia
    • Frequent volunteer on technical crews for live sound events in Victoria;
    • Recent Volunteer with William Head Institution’s Restorative Justice Program

    For a list of Leah’s published articles and speaking engagements, please click here.

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