Karen I. Justel*


604 647 4155

*Personal Law Corporation

Brittney Blackall
604 647 4155

Karen is proud to have acted on behalf of Indigenous communities and businesses on a wide range of commercial matters for over 20 years.

Past and ongoing career highlights include: 

  • Lead counsel to Fort McKay First Nation and Mikisew Cree First Nation in their 2017 acquisition of an interest in a bitumen and diluent storage, blending and cooling facility located north of Fort McMurray, and associated $545 million financing by way of private bond placement.  At closing, this transaction represented the largest-ever business investment by a First Nations entity in Canada.
  • Lead counsel to Fort McKay Group of Companies LP, a leader in oilfield construction and services in the Northern Alberta mining sector, and owned by the Fort McKay First Nation, in its acquisition of a majority interest in a prominent aboriginal owned water and waste handling company.  This merger positioned the Fort McKay based business as a first tier oilsands services supplier in the region
  • Representing a First Nation in the structuring, development and financing of a destination resort and casino project under the First Nations gaming regime in Alberta
  • Establishment of a reclamation services joint venture involving multiple First Nation stakeholders and a major North American corporate partner
  • Acting on a large number of diverse business projects for various B.C., Alberta, Yukon, and Northwest Territories First Nations, Tribal Councils, Territorial Governments and Métis organizations.

Karen is called to the bar in both B.C. and Alberta and maintains active membership in the law societies of both Provinces.  In addition, she has practiced in Sydney, Australia; Auckland, New Zealand; and Edmonton, Alberta.

Professional Activities

Accredited Professional Advisor, British Columbia Employee Share Ownership Program

Speaking Engagements

  • Lecturer in Business Law, Alberta Bar Admission Program
  • Lecturer, Pacific Business & Law Institute (First Nations’ Special Purpose Trusts)

Representative Transactions

  • Establishment of legal documentation and compliance mechanisms to govern a Canada-wide network of over 100 licensed retail locations, and ongoing representation as corporate and general counsel of licensor.
  • Formation of a number of individual and multi-stakeholder joint ventures between First Nations and industry partners to carry on business in the oil sands region of Alberta, and ongoing representation of the joint venture entities.
  • Acting as corporate and general counsel to a major First Nation and its business organization, including with respect to matters of corporate governance, financings, restructurings, negotiation of commercial contracts and leases, and negotiation of industry sustainability agreements.
  • Acted with respect to all aspects of a major First Nations casino development.