Partner Alvin (Al) Kosak, Brownlee’s municipal law Practice Area Leader, practices in the areas of municipal assessment and taxation, administrative law and general municipal litigation. He has more than 20 years of experience in a practice that is principally litigation focused.
A leading practitioner of municipal assessment and taxation law, Al has appeared before all levels of courts and administrative tribunals, including numerous trials, hearings and appeals.
As just one example of the types of files he handles, he was lead counsel in the largest machinery and equipment assessment complaint ever filed in Alberta, successfully defending that assessment.
With vast knowledge and experience in municipal liability and defence litigation, Al has focused his practice on property assessment and taxation litigation – a highly technical area – including appeals before Local Assessment Review Boards (LARB); Composite Assessment Review Boards (CARB) and the Municipal Government Board (MGB); judicial review and statutory appeals from administrative tribunals; tax recovery; review and drafting of local improvement plans and bylaws; review and drafting of assessor contractor agreements; and legislative review and drafting. He generally, but not exclusively, represents an assessor to defend municipal assessments; on occasion, he also represents landowners filing a complaint.
Al also provides advice on tax bylaws and on a variety of municipal assessment and taxation issues.
Prior to municipal law, Al worked in Brownlee’s litigation department doing insurance litigation, representing insurance companies and their insured. During that time, he began to represent a number of municipalities, and found that he very much enjoyed working with municipalities as a client group. After moving into the firm’s municipal department, representing municipal clients exclusively, Al’s practice then evolved to represent municipal clients in the areas of assessment and taxation.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Al has lived in Edmonton for nearly his entire life, with the exception of three years he spent in Ottawa, working at the House of Commons as a political assistant, and then at a law firm.
Al attended the University of Alberta, where he earned a Bachelor of Education degree in 1983 and a law degree (LL.B.) in 1986. Called to the Alberta bar in 1987 and the Ontario bar in 1990, he joined Brownlee in 1991.
Al followed his older brother, a lawyer, into the legal profession. Al chose law because he wanted a career that offered ongoing challenge. What motivates him daily, are the practical and intellectual challenges that are presented with virtually every file.
A good lawyer is a problem solver. “We are here not just to solve the problem of the day, but also to give you value-added,” Al says. “We give you advice on how you can avoid problems, and be more efficient on a go-forward basis.”
Al describes the strengths of Brownlee’s team approach as “a one-stop shop. We have the knowledge to address virtually any municipal issue that our client may have.”
Additionally, Brownlee’s team of legal professionals are appropriately matched with the level of complexity and experience required for any given problem – and that is reflected in Brownlee’s cost- effective service.
Looking forward, Al sees Brownlee continuing to be a client-driven firm that not only addresses the problems that clients present, but also prepares clients to more successfully handle their business in the future.
Al’s professional goals are to continue providing high quality service to his clients, and to continue mentoring and assisting junior lawyers within the firm to evolve into highly skilled professionals. His advice for a first year associate or law student is to “listen and learn. Don’t be afraid to try things. Learn lessons as you go along – the practice of law is an accumulation of experience. “
Over the years, Al has volunteered with a number of charitable organizations, most notably as a director and executive board member with E4C – one of Edmonton’s largest inner city non-profit organizations, which moves vulnerable people toward healthy change.
He has one son.
- Property Assessment and Taxation Litigation
- Property Assessment Appeals before Municipal Government Board (MGB), Local Assessment
- Review Board (LARB) and Composite Assessment Review Board (CARB)
- Judicial Review and Administrative Appeal Litigation
- Local Improvement Plan and Bylaw Drafting
- Tax Recovery
- Miscellaneous Assessment and Taxation Issues
- General Municipal Litigation
- Legislative Review and Drafting
- Member, Law Society of Alberta
- Member, Law Society of Upper Canada
- Member, Canadian Bar Association
- CBA Community Involvement