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Nick Leeson is Counsel with Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP practicing in Vancouver, British Columbia.
He specializes in Indigenous Self-Governance and natural resource law, empowering First Nations and Inuit clients through Title and Rights affirmation, promoting sustainable economic development and environmental conservation. Before OKT, he worked for a national law firm and the Nunavut and NWT governments. His experience enables him to advance Indigenous peoples’ interests while working with industry and Crown governments to find mutually beneficial opportunities based on Indigenous peoples’ inherent rights and right to self-determination.
Northern Roots, National Impact
For over a decade, Nick advanced the rights of First Nations and Inuit clients while living and working from both the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut and Yellowknife of the NWT. He spends a lot of time in the communities where he works and has a wide range of legal experience, including with historical treaties, modern land claim agreements, Indigenous rights litigation, and multiple Indigenous legal systems.
While his practice extends across Canada, his significant experience in the North and West has provided him with expertise in designing and implementing co-management regimes and shared decision-making processes, which he works hard on behalf of his clients to advance across the country. He draws on this expertise in negotiating self-governance agreements, impacts and benefits agreements, and environmental assessment processes to help clients navigate the ever-changing legal landscape and assert, protect, and revitalize their rights.
Wayfinding via Dedication to Public Service
Nick has served on the board of directors for several non-profit and professional organizations. He was previously the President of the NWT Branch of the Canadian Bar Association and the CBA National Representative for Northern Canada on the Legal Aid Liaison Commission. In addition, Nick has chaired multiple CBA committees, including the National Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Section.
Nick has volunteered his time to help advance human rights in West Africa through international efforts in Ghana and Togo. He is also a member of the City of Yellowknife’s Audit Committee and other regional and community boards. And as an adjudicator for several administrative tribunals—including the NWT’s Student Financial, Social Assistance, and Property Assessment Panels—Nick has a wide range of administrative law experience.
Nick was admitted to the Bar in Alberta in 2010 and is a member of Law Society of Alberta, British Columbia, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a J.D. in Laws, a bachelor’s degree from Western University, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Queen’s University.
Outside of law, you can find Nick reading (sometimes alone, but mostly with his three children), running marathons, biking, hiking and having fun outdoors with his family on the beautiful unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.