It’s the service of people that is at the heart of what Brownlee LLP is all about.
“It’s the personalized, passionate approach to the law that makes us different, successful and in my opinion the lawyers of choice,” says partner Barry Sjolie, Q.C., the firm’s senior municipal lawyer, with more than 35 years of experience in all areas of municipal law.
For many years, Barry has been recognized as one of the leading municipal lawyers in Alberta and in Canada, having served as the chair of the Municipal Law Section of both the Alberta Branch and National section of the Canadian Bar Association. Barry has appeared before all levels of court in Alberta, and has also appeared in front of the Federal Court of Canada. He has practised before numerous municipal, provincial and federal administrative tribunals and boards that rule on a great variety of legal issues affecting municipal, provincial and federal governments. Barry has been a key advisor to the Alberta government for many years on leading edge municipal legislative policy that has proven to be the model for municipal legislation across Canada.
Currently, Barry’s main areas of practice are assessment and taxation litigation, legislative drafting and policy development, as well as annexation and inter-municipal collaborations, acting for municipalities and governments at the provincial, territorial and federal levels, as well as for governmental organizations and corporations.
Born and raised in Medicine Hat, Barry earned a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics in 1978, and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) in 1981, both from the University of Alberta; and a Master of Laws in administrative law (LL.M.) in 1984 from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Barry was called to the bar in Alberta (1982), Northwest Territories (1992) and Nunavut (1999). He articled at Brownlee in 1981 and has spent his entire career with the firm.
Barry chose law as a career because he wanted to help people, and he chose to practise at Brownlee “because of the way the people at Brownlee passionately go about helping their clients. They bring a very personalized approach to the practice of law,” he says. “Their approach is more like you would help a friend or family member – they go the extra mile. They bring passion, compassion and service to a very high personal as well as professional level. It’s the service of people that is at the heart of what Brownlee does. That’s what attracted me to Brownlee.”
“The most critical aspect of our success at Brownlee is that we truly practise as a team,” he adds. “We can get your file to the right lawyer with the right experience on the right files, at all times.”
Looking forward, Barry sees growth in the firm in terms of its client base and new practice areas, as well as geographically, including an increased presence in Saskatchewan.
For his own career goals, Barry is planning for the eventual succession of his client relationships, transferring his knowledge and his experience, and training the Brownlee team members who will carry on into the future.
A teacher throughout his career, he has been principal to an articling student within the firm each year for the majority of his career, and plans to continue training young lawyers in the next phase of his career as well. While maintaining his practice at the firm, he will begin teaching administrative law at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law, starting in the fall of 2017.
In addition to his work-related commitments Barry has been active in the community, supporting a variety of organizations that include the United Way and Heart and Stroke Foundation. Currently, he is co-chair of a major fundraising event to benefit the Diabetes Canada, the annual Flame of Hope Golf Tournament – which has been so successful in Alberta that it has inspired similar events on a national basis. The Flame of Hope was started under Barry’s mentor, Ernest J. Walter, QC, a former Brownlee partner, who after a 28-year legal career at Brownlee went on to a career as a judge for 24 more years. “He conceived of the Flame of Hope, and now I’m carrying on for him,” Barry says.
Barry and his wife Judy have three grown children: Danielle is a counselor for children and young adults, Alexandra is a project coordinator at a construction company, and Dylan is a research laboratory technologist in entomology in the University of Alberta’s Department of Biological Sciences. They have always been and continue to be, Barry’s greatest source of inspiration, support and love.
- Annexations, Amalgamations and Restructurings
- Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks
- Municipal General Counsel
- Conflict of Interest; Pecuniary Interest
- Intermunicipal Dispute Resolution
- Assessment and Taxation
- Linear Property Assessment Appeals
- Machinery & Equipment Assessment Appeals
- Statutory Appeals and Judicial Review Litigation
- Advanced Administrative Law Practice
- Municipal Government Board Practice
- Legislative Drafting and Policy Development
- PILT and GILT payments in lieu of taxation
- Member of CBA (Canadian Bar Association)
- Member of EBA (Edmonton Bar Association)
- Member of Alberta Law Society
- Licensed lawyer Nunavut Law Society
- Licensed lawyer Northwest Territories Law Society
- Diabetes Canada – Flame of Hope Charity Golf Tournament Co-Chair
- Heart & Stroke Fundraiser
- United Way Fundraiser
- Catholic Social Services Fundraiser