Partner Jill Sheward is a real estate lawyer practising commercial real estate and lending law, handling both commercial and municipal transactions.
On the commercial side, this includes the acquisitions, dispositions, financing (acting for both lenders and borrowers), leasing of office, industrial and retail space (acting for both landlords and tenants); and on the municipal side she does all of the foregoing plus rights-of-way, licenses, easements and restrictive covenants.
“I’m a real estate lawyer. I’m a dirt lawyer – I deal in dirt and cash,” Jill says. “I can help facilitate the closing of your transaction – I‘ll facilitate getting it done.”
What sets her apart from other real estate lawyers? “I will tell you like it is. I’m not going to be your yes person. I will work hard and advocate for you – and my clients’ needs come first.”
Born in Edmonton, Jill grew up in Sherwood Park and graduated from the University of Alberta in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree (With Distinction), majoring in sociology and minoring in German; and in 2005 with a law degree (LL.B.). She was called to the bar in Alberta (2006), Nunavut (2011) and Northwest Territories (2019), and has worked at Brownlee for her entire career.
Jill chose to go into commercial real estate law, she explains, because “even though we have parties on the other side, we’re working toward the same goal.”
What motivate her daily, is helping clients close a deal, and being part of the real estate chain. “It’s all about developing communities,” she explains.
Jill chose law as her career for several reasons. “I love reading. I love writing. I like advocating – I’ve always liked helping people,” she says. “Bottom line, we are a service industry and our job is to help people. Being a lifelong volunteer, I always had that mindset.”
She has been volunteering ever since she was a young child, together with her parents, both long-time volunteers. Jill accompanied her father on his weekly visits to a local nursing home, and when she was old enough to volunteer on her own, in junior high, she ran the nursing home’s weekly reading circle program, and continued to volunteer throughout her high school and university years.
Jill’s volunteer roles have included serving on the board of directors for Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta and Northwest Territories; as well as on the steering committee for the Famous 5 Foundation – Edmonton. She is past president of Edmonton CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women).
For first year associates or law students, Jill emphasizes the importance of building relationships, showing initiative and having a good attitude – in short, “making yourself indispensable. All of that will help you take charge of your career and integrate yourself into the firm.”
She thinks the major strength of Brownlee’s team approach is its strong client focus. “You are going to get the lawyer with the most appropriate experience, at the right rate.“
Looking forward, Jill sees Brownlee continuing to grow, while also strengthening relationships with existing clients. She has similar goals for her own career: continuing to develop professionally, and fostering existing relationships with clients, while also developing new ones.
In her off-work hours, she is a devoted auntie to her two nephews. “I am bound and determined to be the world’s best aunt,” says Jill, whose young nephew has described her as his best friend and favorite auntie. “I work that relationship hard,” she says with a smile.
Jill is an avid traveler, and two of her favorite places to visit are England (she’s a huge royal watcher) and Germany. Jill and her family lived in Germany for three years when she was growing up, and she remains in touch with friends she made while in kindergarten there.
- Commercial Transactions
- Commercial Lending & Financing
- Commercial Leasing
- Real Estate
- Municipal Commercial Transactions & Contracting
- Member of Edmonton CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women)
- Member of Canadian Bar Association (Real Property and Commercial Leasing subsections)
- Junior Achievement Board of Directors (2009-present)
- Edmonton CREW Board of Directors (2010-2016)
- 2015 Edmonton CREW President
- Enbridge Famous 5 Speaker Series Steering Committee Member (2014 – present)