A confident, creative, and skilled advocate who works diligently for her clients and community.
Sandra is a litigator in our Calgary office. Her practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and arbitration disputes, appellate law, and white collar crime. She is an experienced advocate, having appeared as counsel at the Supreme Court of Canada, the Court of Appeal of Alberta and all other levels of court in Alberta and Ontario. Sandra is recognized as Top 40 Under 40 Calgary by Avenue Magazine’s Class of 2021, a Rising Star in dispute resolution by The Legal 500 Canada, and as “Ones to Watch” by Best Lawyers in Canada for corporate and commercial litigation.
Prior to joining McCarthy Tétrault, Sandra was a Crown Prosecutor with the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service where she regularly attended court and conducted criminal trials and appeals of varying complexities. She also articled with the Crown Attorney’s Office in Ontario, and worked for the Civil Forfeiture Office of the Attorney General of Ontario.
Sandra is designated as an MCIArb by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. She is one of two co-editors for the firm’s International Arbitration blog and coordinator of the McCarthy Tétrault’s International Arbitration Group. Her arbitral and ADR experiences combined with her litigation practice allow for a more balanced approach to bring the best results for her clients. Sandra’s cross-practice expertise allows her to think creatively and strategically in negotiating effective resolutions for her clients inside and outside of the courtroom.
Corporate Commercial Litigation and Arbitration
She acts in oil and gas, energy, power, projects and infrastructure, as well as general contractual disputes. Sandra’s notable experience includes:
- Successfully representing a franchisor in a precedent setting case concerning rescission of a franchise agreement and net loss calculations under the Franchises Act. See 1777453 Alberta Ltd v Got Mold Disaster Recovery Services Inc, 2019 ABCA 9.
- Defending a large energy industry client involved in an arbitration with an approximately $100 million potential enterprise value. The matter was resolved subsequent to records disclosure such that the significant majority of the value was retained by our client;
- Defending a large oil and gas client in an approximately US $1 billion claim relating to breaches of a supply contract.
- Representing a global oil and gas client in a $800,000 dispute before the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench concerning just cause termination.
- Successfully representing an Alberta cannabis supplier in an arbitration relating to an alleged breach of a contractual agreement.
- Advising an Ontario transit operator on various legal, strategic, and operational issues.
- Advising a gaming industry client in a $100 million insurance claim.
- Advising several medical professionals on business interruption claims.
White Collar Crime/Securities Litigation/Criminal Law
- Defending an international financial services firm in a $500,000 claim relating to interference with economic interests, unlawful conspiracy, inducing breach of contract, among other allegations. This case resulted in a good settlement during questionings and a consent dismissal of the claims against our client.
- Representing a client in a dispute involving fraud allegations.
- Advising an Alberta based company on harassment issues.
- Advising a time-share accommodation client on membership issues relating to breach of code of conduct and by-laws.
- Defending a claim by an expelled shareholder asserting breach of a unanimous shareholder agreement and oppression.
- R. v. Fraser, 2017 ABPC 57, 49 Alta. L.R. (6th) 316;
- R. v. Shilmar, 2017 ABPC 213, 70 Alta. L.R. (6th) 151.
Public Interest and Constitutional Litigation
- Representing the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Canada) Inc. in International Air Transport Association v. Instrubel, N.V., 2019 SCC 61, an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the enforcement of international arbitral awards in Canada.
- Representing the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) in its first ever intervention at the Supreme Court of Canada in v. Chouhan, 2021 SCC 26, an appeal concerning the constitutionality of the abolition of peremptory challenges in the jury selection process.
Education and Community Leadership
Sandra obtained her BCL and LLB / JD from the McGill University Faculty of Law. During law school, she was the Class President for two years, and the Director of the Innocence McGill Legal Clinic. She was also a founding executive member of the McGill Journal of Dispute Resolution. She received numerous awards, and was inducted into the McGill Scarlet Key Society. She also completed an exchange program at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
Sandra is passionate about Pro Bono work, diversity and inclusion, and community engagement. She is the Race Action Group Lead for the Calgary Office as part of McCarthy Tétrault’s Inclusion Now program, frequently sitting on panels and supporting the firm’s formal mentoring and recruitment initiatives.
She is also a supervising lawyer for the Pro Bono Students Canada Dare to Dream Project, which delivers a mock trial program to Siksika First Nation students. She is also a volunteer with the Civil Claims Duty Counsel Project, and the Queen’s Bench Amicus Project, which provide pro bono legal advice to unrepresented litigants in the Alberta courts.
Sandra serves as a guest lecturer for the University of Calgary Faculty of Law’s Trial Advocacy Program, and its Civil Procedure class. She also regularly volunteers as an arbitrator for the Vis Pre-Moot hosted by several arbitral institutions throughout the world.
Sandra is a Co-Chair of the City of Calgary’s Public Safety Citizen Oversight Committee, Chair of the CBA Inns of Court Committee, and a Board Member for the Young Canadian Arbitration Practitioners (YCAP). She is also a member of the Law Society of Alberta, Law Society of Ontario, the Canadian Bar Association, the Calgary Bar Association, the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, and Nigerian Lawyers of Calgary.
Presentations & Publications
- 2023: Appeal wisely! Ontario Court of Appeal defers to arbitrator’s decision, Lexis Nexis Arbitration Expert
- 2023: Guest Lecturer, Arbitration: All You Need to Know, University of Calgary, Faculty of Law
- 2022: Multi-Step Dispute Resolution Clauses: Terms, Cases, and Takeaways” written for Volume 9, Number 3, ADR Perspectives, ADR Institute of Canada.
- 2022: The State of Alter Egos, written for The Lawyer’s Daily.
- 2022: Presenter, Hot Topics of Interest to the CCCA in Business Law, Litigation, Real Property & Labour and Employment, Canadian Bar Association.
- 2022: Panelist, Multi-Step Dispute Resolution Clauses, Young Canadian Arbitration Practitioners (YCAP) Symposium.
- 2022: Moderator, Diversity Dialogue and Fireside Chat with Chief Inclusion Office Charlene Theodore at McCarthy Tétrault LLP.
- 2022: Panelist, Allyship in the Black Legal Community, Black Law Students Association of Canada Conference.
- 2022: “Stumped! Ontario court sets aside arbitral award due to inadequate reasons” written for the International Arbitration Group.
- 2022: “Seizing from an Alter Ego: Quebec Court determines whether the assets of state-owned companies can be validly seized to pay the debt of the Republic of India” written for the International Arbitration Group.
- 2021: Panelist on Episode 19 “Cases without Courts” in the Law in the Time of COVID-19 Podcast.
- 2021: Interviewee on “Black in the Jury Box: The Conviction Gap” by Eternity Martis
- 2020: Panelist, Young Canadian Arbitration Practitioners Symposium Debate on Arbitration in Virtual World.
- 2020: Interviewee on “Why are there still so few Black lawyers on Bay Street” by the Globe and Mail.
- 2020: Panelist, University of Alberta Law School Speaker Series: Trailblazing Lawyers.
- 2020: “What’s the Threshold? The British Columbia Court of Appeal Addresses the Threshold for Forum Selection Clauses” written for the International Arbitration Group.
- 2020: “A Cautionary Tale: The BC Supreme Court issues another reminder of the challenges faced by parties seeking to appeal arbitral awards” written for the International Arbitration Group.
- 2020: “Enforcing international arbitration awards in Quebec: Supreme Court of Canada dismisses the appeal in Instrubel
- 2020: “How will COVI-19 shape the future of arbitration” written for the International Arbitration Group.
- 2020: “COVID-19 Update: Alberta’s Gradual Re-Opening of the Economy”.
- 2020: “Timing is Everything: International Chamber of Commerce Updates Its Model Force Majeure and Hardship Clauses” written for the International Arbitration Group.
- 2020: “Brave New World of Arbitration: Updates from the World’s Major Arbitral Institutions” written for the International Arbitration Group, republished by LexisNexis Canada in the newsletter that accompanies the Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Manual.
- 2019: “When Mum’s Not the Word – Ninth Circuit Appeals Court vacates arbitral award after Arbitrator’s silence on economic interests” written for the International Arbitration Group.
- 2019: “McCarthy Tétrault hosts 2019 CPR Canada Conference in Calgary, Alberta written for the International Arbitration Group.
- 2019: “Attornment is a shield, not a sword: The Court of Appeal disallows Plaintiff’s attempt to bypass service ex juris rule” written for the International Arbitration Group.
- 2018: “Indemnity Clause in Franchise Agreement Allows Class Action Defendant to Enforce Costs Award Against Representative Plaintiff’s Sole Shareholder” written for the International Arbitration Group.
- 2018: “Class Actions vs Individual lawsuits: the Equifax Litigation” written for the International Arbitration Group.
Awards & Rankings
The Legal 500
Rising Star: Dispute Resolution
Top 40 Under 40 Calgary
Avenue Magazine: Class of 2021