ELCS Board


The ELC’s Board of Directors is comprised of diverse and experienced members, including law students, lawyers, law professors, and members of the community. The Board supervises and directs the Society’s activities and is led by an elected student executive. All branches work collectively to create a collaborative and productive environment.
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Patricia Cochran

Community Board Member

Patricia Cochran is an Associate Professor at the UVic Faculty of Law, where she teaches
graduate and undergraduate courses in public law and legal theory. Patricia’s research
works across disciplines to bring critical theories of law and judgment into conversation with
concrete challenges presented by inequality and colonialism. Patricia also recently served
on the board of the Together Against Poverty Society.

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Lisa Fong, KC

Community Board Member

Lisa Fong, QC is a lawyer at Ng Ariss Fong. Her practice is a blend of administrative, aboriginal and environmental litigation, and advising governmental bodies. She is honoured to be able to assist Aboriginal peoples with their legal representation and governance needs. Her work with Aboriginal groups extends to litigation, providing strategic advice, consulting or negotiating with government and third parties, and assisting her clients to build and maintain governance infrastructures. She and her firm have a special interest in environmental regulatory reviews. She represented Heiltsuk First Nation and Kitasoo Xai’Xais First Nation in challenging the Governor in Council’s decision to proceed with the Northern Gateway Enbridge Pipeline before the Federal Court of Appeal.

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Clare Frater

Community Board Member, Co-Chair

Clare Frater is the Director of Trust Area Services for the Islands Trust. In that role, she supports a team working on a variety of environmental advocacy campaigns focused on protecting the islands and waters of the Salish Sea, as well as communications, policy development and land protection. Previously, Clare has worked for the BC Ministry of Environment, the Islands Trust Conservancy and Habitat Acquisition Trust.

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Brenda Gaertner

Community Board Member

Brenda Gaertner, since joining Mandell Pinder in 1986, has worked with Indigenous peoples in their pursuit of the recognition of Indigenous and Aboriginal title and rights, modern self-governance, resource governance and management, project agreements, economic development, and nation-to-nation and government-to-government agreements.  Brenda’s experience and expertise allow her to contribute legal, policy and negotiation skills to a myriad of projects and teams.  Her decades of experience have honed her abilities to work respectfully, to identify solutions, and find paths forward, even in difficult situations.

For decades Brenda has actively listened to Indigenous leaders, elders and knowledge holders.  She has been taught that building respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples and effecting transformative change are foundational to reconciliation. She has helped many First Nations find unique solutions to reach their goals, including collaborative governance and management agreements, mutual benefit agreements, impact benefit agreements, shared territory agreements, and First Nation-to-First Nation protocols.

Brenda is deeply committed to working with Aboriginal people in their pursuit of the recognition of their inherent and aboriginal title and rights to healthy ecosystems, fish, and aquatic resources. Aware of the vulnerabilities facing fresh and marine water ecosystems, she is honoured to work with Nations who are proactively managing these precious resources. 

Brenda is a long-standing member of Mandell Pinder LLP’s specific claims team.  She remains committed to helping to resolve these historic wrongs and sees such resolution as a necessary part of reconciliation. 

Representative Work
Brenda is a member of the Coastal First Nations team who helped eight Coastal Nations achieve their 2021 Fisheries Resources Reconciliation Agreement, including its collaborative governance and management schedule. 

Brenda was the lead negotiator for the Fraser Salmon Management Council, an Indigenous organization working on behalf of 71 First Nations, who in 2019 achieved their Fraser Salmon Collaborative Governance and Management Agreement. 

Brenda assisted the Broughton Nations in achieving their 2018 agreement with the Province regarding the transition of open pen atlantic salmon fish farms, and their 2019 Indigenous Monitoring and Inspection Agreement with the farmers. 

Brenda has represented numerous First Nation Coalitions before the courts on fish related matters.  She is currently counsel for the First Nation Coalition in the Discovery Island Judicial Review in the Federal Court.  Brenda served as senior counsel for the First Nations Coalition in the Cohen Inquiry on Fraser River Sockeye and has represented First Nation clients before both the National Energy Board and Joint Federal and Provincial Review Panels.

In 2011, after decades of negotiations, Brenda assisted the St’at’imc Chiefs Council reach their historic agreement with BC Hydro and the Province of BC regarding the footprint and ongoing impacts of hydroelectric projects in their Territory.

She is a board member of the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

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John Gailus

Community Board Member

John Gailus was one of the founding partners of Devlin Gailus, the predecessor to DGW Law Corporation.

John graduated from the University of Alberta in 1993. He spent four and one-half years working at the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (“DIAND”) as the Senior Land Management & Leasing Officer for the west coast of British Columbia. At DIAND he developed an expertise in economic development of reserve land.

John parlayed his DIAND experience into a varied law practice focused on consultation, Aboriginal and Treaty rights litigation, Indian Act issues and economic development.

John has appeared multiple times at the Supreme Court of Canada, British Columbia Court of Appeal and British Columbia Supreme Court, as well as the Federal Courts. He was also counsel for several First Nations during the Cohen Commission Salmon Inquiry, Site C Joint Review Panel and the National Energy Board Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion hearings.

John is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria where he teaches the Indigenous Lands, Rights and Governance course. He has appeared on multiple occasions before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs as an expert witness on proposed changes to the Indian Act and Aboriginal economic development. He is a regular speaker at conferences and continuing legal education events. John currently is the chair of the Indigenous Justice Advocacy Committee of the Canadian Bar Association as well as the Aboriginal Law representative on the Federal Courts Bench and Bar Liaison Committee. John has been repeatedly recognized by the Canadian Lexpert Directory as a Leading Practitioner in Aboriginal Law.

John is a proud member of the Cumshewa Clan of the Skidegate Band and member of the Haida Nation.

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Darcy Lindberg

Faculty Board Member

Darcy Lindberg is an Assistant Professor with the Uvic Faculty of Law. He is mixed-rooted
néhiyaw, with his relations coming from Samson Cree Nation in Alberta and the Battlefordarea
in Saskatchewan. Darcy teaches on Indigenous legal traditions (specifically Cree law and
Cree governance), constitutional law, and ecological governance through Indigenous legal
orders. His current academic journeying involves the relationship between néhiyaw peoples
and the ’more-than-human’ world, and the role of Cree law in governing those
relations. Darcy knows there are many hills to walk upon and rivers to put hands in, and wants
to bring his two young ones along on those journeys.

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Nikki Skuce

Community Board Member

Nikki Skuce is the Director of the Northern Confluence Initiative, a project on Tides Canada’s shared platform. Northern Confluence is an initiative based out of Smithers that focuses on landuse
decisions in northern B.C., including mining development. We strive for the greater
conservation and protection of wild salmon watersheds. Nikki has over 20 years experience in
the non-profit sector working toward environmental and social justice on local, national and
international levels. She worked with ForestEthics (now Stand) on stopping the Enbridge
Northern Gateway pipelines and tanker project, and on protecting the Sacred Headwaters. For
several years Nikki worked with One Sky on policy and practical programs in Canada, Sierra
Leone, Nigeria and Peru. She began to focus on energy issues after coordinating Canadian NGOs
around the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 and spent years advocating for renewable solutions at all levels of government. Nikki has volunteer board experience, including
with Langara College, Wet’zinkwa Community Forest and currently on the Bulkley Valley
Community Arts Council. She holds a degree in Canadian Studies and International Relations
from the University of British Columbia. She lives with her Argentine partner, daughter Lucia
and son Felix on Wit’suwit’en territory.

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Karenna Williams

Community Board Member

Karenna Williams is Turtle Clan Kanyenke:háka (Mohawk) from Six Nations, Grand River Territory, Ontario. She carries on her grandmother’s teaching that a career must be of service to Indigenous peoples. Karenna is primarily a litigator advocating for Indigenous peoples’ rights, title, cultures, languages and ways of life. Her litigation is strategic and bettered by the relationships she maintains with her clients. She remains grateful for their teachings.

She provides effective, passionate and creative advocacy for clients. Although she acts within the Canadian legal system as a lawyer, Karenna does her best to live under the Kayanerenkó:wa, or Great Law of Peace of the Haudenosaunee. Her commitment to her own ways of being permeates her work. A proud Onkwehonwe (original, or Indigenous, person), she believes that Indigenous peoples and laws are powerful and deserve respect. She has appeared at all levels of court in British Columbia, at the Federal Court, and the Supreme Court of Canada as well as the Manitoba Queen’s Bench, the Ontario Superior Court and Court of Appeal.

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Isaac Beech

Student Board Member

Isaac Beech is a second year law student at the University of Victoria. Isaac completed his
Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at the University of Waterloo where he was involved
in research and clinical activities. His interests include environmental science & law,
environmental justice, and Indigenous governance. Isaac enjoys spending time outdoors
camping or skiing, being involved in community initiatives, and exploring Victoria

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Danica Freiter

Student Board Member

Danica Freiter is a 2L JD student originally from Peterborough Ontario who graduated from Western in 2021. She is passionate about access to environmental justice and advocating for local environmental causes. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, climbing, and exploring the island.

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Cassie Lumsden

Student Board Member

Cassie Lumsden is a third year JD candidate at the University of Victoria. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Geographical Sciences from UBC with a focus on biogeography. Cassie’s undergraduate degree spurred her interest in the environmental space, and throughout both her undergraduate and law degrees, she has held various positions in the environmental sphere within both the BC and Canadian governments. She hopes to pursue biodiversity policy following law school. Outside of school, Cassie can be found hiking, snowboarding, and playing softball.

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Nick Noble

Student Board Member, Co-Chair

Nick Noble is a second year JD student. This is his second time at UVic, having completed a
bachelor’s in political science in history in 2018. In the intervening years, he worked in Ottawa
as a policy analyst with Fisheries and Oceans Canada implementing the Oceans Protection
Plan, and spent a year producing an independent documentary film. In addition to law and
policy, he enjoys doing visual arts like drawing, painting, and photography, and exploring the
island on his bike and feet

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Anna Pachal

Student Board Member

Anna Pachal is a 2nd year JD student at the University of Victoria. She received her undergraduate in mechanical engineering from UVic and worked as an engineer for years before deciding to make a career change to law. Anna’s interest in environmental issues stems from working in energy and mining and seeing the changes that need to be made in these industries. She is also passionate about the outdoors and loves to rock climb, hike, surf, snowboard, and trail run.

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Sasa Popovich

Student Board Member

Sasa Popovich is a second year JD candidate at the University of Victoria. He received a
Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at the University of British Columbia. Outside of
school, you can find him playing and watching hockey, rock climbing, knitting, and
woodworking.

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Ashley Roussel

Student Board Member

Ashley Roussel (she/her/hers) is Nêhiyaw (Plains Cree) and a registered band member of Nâkiwâciy (Sweetgrass First Nation) in Treaty 6 Saskatchewan. She is currently in her third year of the JD/JID Indigenous Law program at the University of Victoria. Ashley is Co-Chair of the Indigenous Law Students Association (ILSA) and works with the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU). She is currently enrolled in the Environmental Law Centre course as a clinic student and is the newest member of the ELC Board of Directors.

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Zoey Schutz

Student Board Member

Zoey Schutz is a second year JD candidate at UVic, from the Sunshine Coast, BC. She
completed her undergraduate degree at Simon Fraser University, earning a BSc Honours in
Environmental Science with a concentration in environmental earth systems. Zoey is
particularly interested in the intersections between environmental and Indigenous law.
Outside of school, Zoey enjoys hiking and biking with her pup Piper, swimming in the
ocean, and playing soccer.

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James Mager

Advisor

James Mager is a JD candidate at the University of Victoria. Raised in Toronto, he has lived in
British Columbia for nearly ten years. James completed his undergraduate degree at the
University of Victoria majoring in political science and environmental studies. Outside of
school you can find him cycling, skiing, or reading down by the ocean.

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Margaret Williams

Advisor

Margaret Williams is a second year student at UVic Law from Hamilton, Ontario. She graduated from
Queen’s University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Margaret is particularly
interested in the fields of environmental, Indigenous and water law. In her spare time,
Margaret can be found training for a half-marathon, and hiking with friends.