Education, Career and Practice
Christa is a native Calgarian. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A. with distinction) from the University of Calgary and, in 1991, her law degree (J.D.) from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. She returned to Calgary to begin her legal career, articling and then becoming an associate and partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP where she worked for over 17 years. Thereafter, she was a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP for three years. She joined the JSS Barristers partnership on October 1, 2013. She is in the process of completing her Masters of Law degree (LL.M.) in dispute resolution from Pepperdine University, California.
Christa is a problem solver and her 20+ year long legal practice focuses on helping corporations and individuals effectively and efficiently manage and resolve insolvency situations and other disputes through litigation and alternative dispute resolution, including negotiation, mediation and arbitration ("ADR").
Christa's significant experience in the insolvency and restructuring area includes work on bankruptcies including Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act ("BIA") proposals, Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act ("CCAA") restructurings, receiverships, loan recoveries, security enforcement, as well as in commercial and residential mortgage foreclosures. She has acted on many noteworthy insolvency matters representing debtors, secured and unsecured creditors from various industries (including energy and energy services, manufacturing, recreation, transportation, and agriculture), as well as officers of the court, including court-appointed receivers and trustees.
Christa has worked on complex commercial, energy, product liability, estates, and creditors' rights disputes. She has acted on joint venture and operatorship disputes and various breach of contract and tortious disputes relating to oil and gas transactions, including in the renewable energy and derivatives fields, and on international and domestic arbitrations as well as on judicial and private mediations involving energy and other companies. She is a mediator on the roster of the Alberta Provincial Court and has appeared before all levels of the Alberta Courts.
Through her LL.M. program in the U.S., Christa is keenly aware of the focus of corporations on value when it comes to purchasing legal services including their interest in legal project management and their drive toward systematically using ADR and other processes to more cost-efficiently manage disputes in a way that aligns with corporate objectives.
Christa has written and/or presented extensively in the fields of insolvency and restructuring law and ADR, including international and domestic arbitration, mediation, and managing legal costs through the systematic use of ADR in the design and use of dispute management systems.
Some representative experience is described below.
Notable Insolvency and Restructuring Matters
- CCAA Creditors and Agents - acting for agents, significant secured and unsecured creditors, contractors, suppliers and debtors in CCAA proceedings including:
- Air Canada
- Algoma Steel
- Caribou Resources
- Challenger Energy and Canadian Superior
- Hurricane Hydrocarbons
- SemCanada Group
- Skiing Louise
- Trident Exploration
- Receiverships - acting for bidders/purchasers in receiverships as well as Receivers in court-appointed and private receiverships, including:
- the RNG Group
- Brinkerhoff Drilling
- Kyoto Fuels Corporation
- 3 Eau Claire Developments
- Other Creditors - acting for creditors in receivership and bankruptcy proceedings including:
- Merit Energy
- M3 Energy
- Launch Resources
- Atcon Construction
- Cash Store (affiliate)
- Real Estate - acting for unsecured creditors, lenders and mortgage insurers, including banks and financial institutions, in the recovery of funds including large loans secured against all assets of companies and/or commercial office, residential, condominium, hotels, and other real property.
NOTABLE LITIGATION AND ADR MATTERS
- Creditor's Rights - acting for secured and unsecured creditors and lenders, including banks and financial institutions, in the recovery of funds and relating to real property mortgages
- successfully obtaining a unique receivership order under the AIPN in respect of substantial offshore joint venture assets
- acting on energy disputes involving joint venture and operatorship issues and various breach of contract and tortious disputes relating to energy transactions including in the renewable energy sector
- defense of a complex derivatives-related claim exceeding $100 million
- advising and litigating with respect to set-off issues
- Domestic ADR including Dispute Management Systems Design
- counsel on mediated cases, Judicial Dispute Resolution matters, and mediator on the Alberta Provincial Court roster
- provision of drafting advice with respect to stepped dispute resolution clauses and economical litigation agreements
- deep knowledge of current corporate trends in dispute management and systematic use of ADR processes (including the use ADR suitability screens and early case assessment) to more cost-efficiently manage disputes and how to design such systems
- co-counsel in UNCITRAL international arbitration proceedings in Stockholm, Sweden and advancing proceedings in Alberta to have recognized and enforced the resulting arbitration award
- advising with respect to commencement of international arbitration in the London Court of International Arbitration and ancillary local interim measures proceedings in the Alberta courts
- advising on procedural issues (e.g. letters rogatory) respecting international litigation
- acting as counsel in local and other litigation involving international arbitration and the provision of advice to clients regarding the New York Convention, the Model Law and the drafting of arbitration and other dispute resolution clauses
- LL.M. participant in the London/Geneva and Hong Kong/Beijing study tours gaining valuable international litigation, arbitration and mediation expertise and cultural diversity awareness
- Estates - acting for personal representatives, executors, trustees and beneficiaries in wills, dependent adult, and trust disputes to efficiently devise a strategy and path to solution through litigation or ADR
- Products - acting for manufacturers in various industries including in the fields of pharmaceutical products, medical devices and automotives in the defense of numerous and multi-million dollar lawsuits
- General Commercial Litigation - acting on shareholder and business disputes involving real estate, division of assets, breach of trust, conversion, breach of contract, breach of franchise agreements and negligent construction
INTERESTS AND COMMUNITY
- Family - Christa and her family, including her 13 year old daughter who was born in China, have had the privilege of travelling extensively in Asia, Europe, and North America. In a former life, Christa played varsity volleyball at university and participated internationally in triathlon. Christa currently enjoys skiing (especially in Austria and Fernie, B.C.), cycling, tennis and, most recently (and with limited proficiency), golfing with family and friends.
- Community - Calgary Legal Guidance (15 years: case worker/Board Member); HomeFront (2 years: Board Member); Lycee Louis Pasteur (2 years: child's school class representative); Fernie Alpine Ski Team (8 years: parent, volunteer); cancer fundraising (2 years: raised over $20,000).