Derek is a municipal partner based in the Calgary office where he heads up the southern Alberta municipal law team.
“I work with a great team of people at one of western Canada’s largest municipal law firms, which has more than 80 years of experience serving municipalities,” Derek says. “We understand municipalities and we understand their needs and what drives them. Our team has a depth of experience to easily and seamlessly address issues as they arise, with a very high level of skill in working with specialized clients. It all comes back to our team – it’s our strength over our competitors.”
Brownlee’s team-based approach offers three main strengths, Derek says. “First, it allows us to quickly and efficiently put together the right people to deal with every issue that our clients may face. Second, it allows us to develop a high degree of expertise in all areas of municipal law, and to provide a high level of service to our clients. Third, we are sustaining and growing the knowledge of the firm by mentoring new lawyers, always building on the knowledge and experience that has been gained in the past, and passing it down.”
Born in Prince George, Derek grew up in Edmonton and attended the University of Alberta, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1995, and a Bachelor of Laws in 1998. He joined Brownlee in 1998 and was called to the bar in 1999.
For Derek, choosing law as a career all comes down to his grandfather, Hubert B. King, Q.C., who was a lawyer for nearly 60 years. Hubert King began his law practice in the late 1920s in Barkerville, at the time a frontier gold rush town in the central B.C. interior, and now a provincial historic site.
“He was a real Renaissance man,” Derek says.
“He made the practice of law seem interesting and exciting; both a profession and a way of serving the community. That’s what got me thinking at a very young age that I wanted to be a lawyer.”
Beyond that, as Derek grew older he recognized that law would be a fascinating career. “I really liked the idea of advocacy, of representing people’s interests within the legal framework of our society,” he explains.
When he was starting out in his career, Derek realized that Brownlee was a great fit with his educational background and his strong interest in local and provincial government, “which are the levels of government that have the most direct impact on the day-to-day lives of people.” He developed his specialty in environmental law – an increasingly important area of law – early on in his career as well. Derek believes that a good lawyer has a passion for the law and a genuine interest in his or her clients. What motivates him daily with municipal law is that it is always presenting new challenges and novel issues. His advice for a first year associate or law student, “know how to manage your time. Your reputation with your clients and with senior lawyers in your firm – and ultimately your success and well-being – all flows from your ability to manage your time,” he says. Derek is married with three adult children.
- Enforcement (bylaws, Municipal Government Act
Safety Codes Act)
- Emergency Management
- Legislative and Policy
- General Municipal Counsel
- Tax Recovery
- Municipal Litigation
- General Environmental Counsel Contaminated Sites
- Spills and Release Reporting
- Environmental Defence Counsel
- Inspections and Investigations
- Due Diligence / Risk Management (Acquisitions)
- Environmental Appeals
- Water Law
- Member, Canadian Bar Association
- Member, Calgary Bar Association
- Member, Alberta Expropriation Association
I really liked the idea of advocacy, of representing people’s interests within the legal framework of our society.