Toronto Indigenous Rights Lawyers
Michael Wilchesky – Partner and Practice Group Leader, Phone: 416.363.1867 Ext 2250, Email: [email protected]
Jennifer Lord – Legal Assistant, Phone: 416.363.1867 Ext. 2480, Email: [email protected]
Practice Area Highlights:
ROCHON | GENOVA LLP features an experienced team in the area of First Nations and Indigenous Rights litigation. We assist individuals, First Nations, and First Nations organizations in relation to various issues before the courts and tribunals including advancing mass tort claims on behalf of victims of abuse, advancing claims based on breach of treaty and Indigenous rights, land claims, and historical wrongs against governments, corporate entities, religious entities and other institutions.
The firm’s Indigenous Rights practice is led by Michael Wilchesky, an experienced litigator, who has worked in a broad range of practice areas, including civil sexual assault litigation and Indigenous rights (for the past 10 years), securities litigation, commercial law, bankruptcy law, real estate litigation and estates litigation. In those capacities, he has had the privilege of representing clients at motions, trials and appeals at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court, the Ontario Court of Appeal, Federal Court, and Small Claims Court.
In 2012, Michael acted as second chair in a year-long Indigenous and historical flooding trial, which featured the calling of elders, other members of the First Nation community and experts, and was conducted as an electronic (paperless) fashion. He co-authored an article, published in The Litigator (June, 2013), entitled “E-Trials by fire: GAME ON!”, which described the experience. He has also acted for various First Nations in matters involving Band Council elections, Indigenous child welfare organizations, obtaining official reserve status, and hydro-electric matters.
Michael has always had a passion for helping people who have been disadvantaged, whether through discrimination, abuse or other circumstances beyond their control. His goal is to give those individuals a voice. Everyone deserves to be treated equally under the law, and as a lawyer Michael aims to advocate tirelessly for his clients in order to achieve the best results for each individual client.
Indigenous rights cases are often fraught with procedural and political hurdles that need to be considered and addressed in a meaningful and efficient way. There are many different approaches available in these types of cases. Michael works with his clients to determine the best approach, and then uses his knowledge, experience and expertise to construct the strongest possible case and guide the case in the right direction. Individual client circumstances and goals are always at the forefront of Michael’s practice. He listens intently to what clients wish to achieve in order to inform the next steps to take in each individual case.
In addition to traditional civil court proceedings, Michael has represented survivors of abuse perpetrated at Indian Residential Schools, through the Independent Assessment Process (“IAP”). He has also advanced First Nations issues through alternative methods and negotiations. Michael aims to provide clients with all available options at their disposal and an explanation as to what each option entails and the differences between the various approaches. He also discusses the pros and cons of each approach and what clients can expect with each option. And, of course, Michael welcomes questions from clients. This way, clients can make informed decisions about how they want to proceed and can feel comfortable and confident in their decisions and their representation.