Tami Prince, President
Tamara Prince serves as General Counsel and Chief EDI Officer at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. In this role, Tami drives both the firm’s risk management and inclusion and diversity strategy. Tami is also a partner in the firm’s Ligation Group and her legal practice focuses on complex corporate/commercial litigation, including matters involving energy and environmental law, construction, commercial leasing, class action defence, competition, pensions, tax, securities, employment defence, and franchise disputes. Over the course of her career, Tami has represented a wide range of corporate clients, including those involved in the global energy sector, petrochemicals, commercial property, telecommunications, mining, global transportation, manufacturing, franchising, and construction. She is recognized as a leader in her field by Best Lawyers in Canada.
Tami was first called to the bar in Saskatchewan in 2003 where she began her career as an associate at a prominent Saskatchewan firm before moving to Alberta in 2006 where she spent 13 years at a reputable national law firm. Just prior to joining Cassels, Tami spent nearly two years working as part of the in-house legal team for an international oil and gas company, where she worked with outside counsel on numerous litigation and insolvency matters and served as a trusted business advisor, providing internal advice on diverse legal issues to various business groups within the company. In addition to being a member of the AWL Board and serving as Vice President, Tami is the current Chair of the Alberta Regional Advisory committee for The Advocates’ Society.
Melissa N. Burkett, Vice President
Melissa is a litigator with Alberta Justice, Legal Services Division, where she represents and advises the Crown, government departments and boards in litigation, administrative and regulatory proceedings. Originally from Winnipeg, Melissa earned her B.A. (Adv.) in Political Studies from the University of Manitoba, her LL.B. from Université de Moncton, and her LL.M. from New York University. Melissa is called to the Bars of Alberta and Manitoba.
Prior to joining Alberta Justice, Melissa articled and practised medical malpractice defence with a large regional firm in Winnipeg, and commercial litigation with a national firm in Calgary. She also previously interned in with the International Arbitration group in the Paris office of a large international firm.
In addition to serving on the AWL Board as Vice-President and Communications Chair, Melissa is a Director of The Advocates’ Society (“TAS”), a member of TAS’s Alberta Advisory Committee, a Vice Chair of the CBA Public Sector Lawyers Section Executive. She volunteers with Calgary Legal Guidance, is a Sessional Instructor (Civil Procedure) at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law, and coaches the University of Calgary Laskin Moot team. Melissa is the recipient of the 2021 Women in Law Leadership Award for Leadership in the Profession (In-House/Government) and the 2022 Calgary Black Chambers Achievement Award in Law. When not working or volunteering, Melissa enjoys travelling, craft beer, learning new languages, and supporting Liverpool FC (preferably all at the same time).
Emily Paplawski, Secretary
Kara Davis, Treasurer
Kara Davis is an associate at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP and practices in the area of restructuring & insolvency. She was admitted to the Alberta bar in 2017 and the New York bar in 2020. Kara joined the AWL Board in 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta and a J.D. from the University of Calgary.
Outside of the office and volunteer work, Kara enjoys golfing, travelling, and playing soccer.
Crystle Hug, Membership Co-Chair
Kourtney Pratt, Membership Co-Chair
Kourtney is an associate at Stikeman Elliott LLP, where she has worked since 2017. She maintains a litigation practice with an emphasis on commercial and business litigation. She was admitted to the Alberta and New York Bars in 2018. She holds a J.D. from the University of Windsor and a J.D. from the University of Detroit Mercy. Prior to obtaining her law degrees, she received a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in Dance from the University of Calgary.
In addition to serving on the AWL Board, Kourtney serves as Secretary for the Board of Directors of Dancers’ Studio West, a dance service organization supporting dance artists in Alberta. Kourtney also volunteers with Calgary Legal Guidance and with Pro Bono Law Alberta through the Civil Claims Duty Counsel project.
In her spare time, Kourtney enjoys travelling, yoga, trying new restaurants, and of course dancing.
Melanie Gaston, Past President
Originally from Ontario, Melanie obtained her B.A.H at Queen’s University and moved to Calgary to obtain her LL.B from the University of Calgary. Through an international law school exchange, she completed a semester of law school at the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. Melanie is now a litigation partner at Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP after working as an articling student, associate and becoming a partner at another national firm in Calgary. She specializes in complex commercial litigation, with a particular emphasis on construction and energy disputes and restructuring and insolvency matters. She also advises clients on matters involving insurance law, class actions, product liability and commercial landlord disputes.
In addition to serving on the board for AWL, Melanie is also on the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary and Calgary Rotary Clubs Foundation, and is a member of the Calgary Rotary Club. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family, including her husband and 3 young daughters.
Sania Chaudhry, Director
Sania Chaudhry is a lawyer with Forte Workplace Law offering services to employers and employees in employment, labour and human rights matters, as well as conducting workplace investigations and respectful workplace training for clients in both Alberta and BC. Prior to that, she was Conduct Counsel at the Real Estate Council of Alberta, prior to which she practiced in family and immigration law. She is also a current part-time student at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law in their Masters of Law program, with her research focusing on critical race theory and administrative law in the context of reasonable apprehension of bias.
Sania is also a current Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Alberta Board Director, Board Liaison and Past Chair of the CBA Alberta Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Member of the CBA National Equality Subcommittee, President of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers – Western Chapter, Practice Group Leader and Secretary of The Advocates’ Society Regulatory & Administrative Law Group, Past Member of the Law Society of Alberta Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, Board Director of the Centre for Sexuality, and Chair and Founder of the Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association. She is also a Member-at-Large of the CBA National Administrative Law section and a Board member of the Young Advocates Standing Committee of the Advocates’ Society. Her op-ed highlighting intersectionality and mental health in the legal profession was published in the Globe and Mail in 2022 and she has published other articles on EDI issues in the profession elsewhere as well over the years. She was recognized in 2022 as a Top 30 Under 30 by the Alberta Council of Global Cooperation. Also in 2022, she was the recipient of the Women Who Inspire Award by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women and the Community Crusader Award by the South Asian Inspiration Awards. Sania was also recently appointed in 2022 onto the Alberta Anti-Racism Advisory Council.
Sarah Coderre, Director
Sarah obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Calgary in 2011. She articled at a national law firm in Calgary, Alberta, and then continued on as an associate for a year before relocating to Edmonton to work in insurance defense litigation. In 2015, Sarah began to develop her practice in employment and labour law, and in February 2021 she created Bow River Law LLP, a labour, employment, and human rights law boutique firm in Calgary, Alberta with her law partner, Joel Fairbrother.
Sarah’s work involves primarily representing individual employees in claims against their current and former employers, and she has advocated for clients at the Provincial Court of Alberta, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal, and many other administrative bodies. Sarah is very involved in the legal profession outside her practice, and she currently gives back as a Section Executive Member and as a Director on the Canadian Bar Association Alberta Branch Board of Directors, as the Seminars Committee Co-Chair and Board Member for the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association, in the role of Succession Advisor and Board Member for the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers – Alberta Chapter, as a co-founder and Board Member with LEAD Alberta, and she was elected to the Association of Women Lawyers in 2021.
Outside of her law practice and new business, Sarah and her husband are busy raising their two young children.
Ellen Embury, Director
Anna Galanter, Director
Tracy Hall, Director
Jennie Han, Director
Jennie joined the AWL Board of Directors in 2019 and is a litigation associate at Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer. She was admitted to the Alberta bar in 2019 and to the New York bar in 2014. Originally from California, Jennie holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago.
In addition to serving on the AWL Board of Directors, Jennie volunteers with Calgary Legal Guidance and with Pro Bono Law Alberta as Civil Claims Duty Counsel.
Lan X. T. Nguyen, Director
Lan is legal counsel at Pembina Pipeline Corporation. Prior to this role, Lan worked as an associate at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, where she maintained a general corporate commercial litigation and dispute resolution practice.
Lan received her Bachelor of Commerce degree (with Distinction) from the University of Calgary and her Juris Doctor from the University of Victoria. She was admitted to the Alberta bar in 2018. Prior to law school, Lan worked in the human resources department of a multinational energy company.
In addition to serving on the AWL Board, Lan volunteers with Pro Bono Law Alberta through the Civil Claims Duty Counsel Project, which provides pro bono legal advice for unrepresented litigants in the Alberta civil courts. In her spare time, Lan enjoys cooking cultural dishes, exploring new hiking trails, yoga, and attempting to take her pug on long walks.
Sophie Mansfield, Director
Lillian Pan, KC, Director
Sadaf Raja, Director
Sadaf received her Juris Doctor from the University of Ottawa in 2014 and was called to Alberta bar in 2015. Sadaf practices in the area of family law and criminal law and has appeared in all levels of courts in Alberta. Sadaf is a qualified mediator. She speaks Urdu/Hindi and Punjabi fluently and can converse in French.
Sadaf is a fearless advocate in and outside of the courtroom. When she is not in a court room, you can find her volunteering at a community event promoting education and advancement of women. She appears on radio often to discuss emerging legal issues. In addition to serving on the AWL Board, Sadaf volunteers with Calgary Legal Guidance. In her spare time, Sadaf enjoys being a mother and spending time at CrossFit and riding her horse. Sadaf has travelled to over 25 countries and has completed internships internationally including the United Nations in Thailand and EURAC in Italy.
Wilma Shim, Director
Wilma is a Barrister and Solicitor with Alberta Justice and Solicitor General. Originally from Edmonton, she moved to Calgary in 2003 after being awarded the Chancellor Club Scholarship from the University of Calgary. She holds two degrees from the University of Calgary- B.Sc (2007) and J.D. (2010). In 2010, she received the President’s Award for Excellence in Student Leadership and was inducted into The Order of the University of Calgary.
Wilma summered and articled with Alberta Justice and Solicitor General. Following her Articles, Wilma worked as a Crown Prosecutor before accepting a position in the Civil Litigation Department with Alberta Justice. Currently, Wilma is a Barrister and Solicitor with the Social Enhancement Legal Team.
In 2007, Wilma represented Canada at the World Junior Powerlifting Championships in LaGarde, France and won Bronze in the deadlift competition. She has coached powerlifting with Special Olympics Calgary since 2007. She is the past-Chair of the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Alberta and is a Board member of the University of Calgary Alumni Association. Wilma founded the Mothers in the Law group within the AWL in 2017. She is part of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 Class of 2015.
Fanny Tam, Director
Fanny Tam is a lawyer at KH/Dunkley Law Group and her practice focuses mainly on residential and commercial real estate, wills and estate administration, and corporate law. She has extensive experience assisting clients in purchasing and selling real estate, obtaining grants of probate and administration, drafting wills and other estate planning documents, and preparing commercial contracts.
Fanny received her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Calgary in 2009 and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2013. She completed her articles with KH/Dunkley Law Group in 2014 and remained with the firm until 2017, when she took some time off to grow her family. Fanny has since returned to the firm to resume her practice and mainly works out of our satellite offices.
Outside of her law practice, Fanny engages in activities with different organizations that focus on empowering women, spends time with husband and two young daughters, and takes care of her Sheepadoodle, Pinot.
Staci Tannahill Smith, Director