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Jillian Swainson is a business lawyer. She handles a variety of business law matters, including corporate, commercial, intellectual property, and securities work. In addition to her general practice of business law, over the past few years she has developed an expertise in providing general counsel and advisory services to clients within the heavily regulated and increasingly complex cannabis industry.

What Jill brings to all aspects of her business law practice, is a strong ability to break down complex issues, determine what’s important and what’s not, and come up with a proactive solutions-based approach to her clients’ needs.

Born and raised in Red Deer, Alberta, Jill graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 2004, and a law degree (LL.B.) in 2007. She joined Brownlee as an articling student in 2007, and was called to the bar in 2008. Jill is also a Registered Trade-mark Agent.

Jill’s interest in a legal career arose from her course work during her business degree; while taking her business law classes, she realized how much she “liked the way they made me think.”

She is passionate about her particular area of law in large part because it involves a collaborative effort. “I like to be involved – I like to know a lot about my clients’ businesses, and to help guide them in what they’re doing,” she says. “It’s more like a trusted advisor role, which I really enjoy. Being able to be involved in all aspects of a business keeps things very interesting, and it’s nice when you can anticipate a client’s needs and help them with it proactively, before it becomes a problem.”

Jill believes that a good lawyer has “the ability to figure out what’s important, and what’s just a distraction. It’s being able to break things down so that your client understands what the risks and benefits are of each option, and ultimately making your recommendation – finding a way to do what your client wants to do, rather than just pointing out red flags.”

She thinks that Brownlee’s team approach offers clients a number of strengths. They can trust that when their file comes through Brownlee’s door, it will go to the right legal team member at the right level of experience to handle it. Brownlee’s team approach also gives clients the ability to deal with more than one individual when it comes to questions on their file.

Jill sees Brownlee as a leader in advising clients in a rapidly changing environment. “Whether that’s through changes to the Municipal Government Act, or with emerging industries, like the cannabis industry, or anything else – we’re rolling with the times and staying ahead of the curve.”

In terms of her own goals, Jill is right on track. “I want to continue to build an interesting and diverse business law practice, whether it’s working for a client on a one-off type of matter, or being involved with a client over and over and over again. It’s my goal to add value to each client and deliver legal services that I am proud of,” she says.


  • Corporate
  • Commercial Transactions
  • Corporations & Corporate Governance
  • Municipal Commercial Transactions & Contracting
  • Technology & Intellectual Property
  • Regulatory Re: Cannabis


  • Member, Law Society of Alberta
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association
  • Technology and Intellectual Property Member
  • Canadian Bar Association – Securities Law
  • Member, Intellectual Property Institute of Canada