Testimonials


PCELL-Testimonials
Garry Oak meadow
Photo credit: Anthony Ho

 

 

Former students

“During the Spring semester I had the opportunity to work with CELL on their environmental litigation files. I was able to obtain practical legal experience and learn firsthand from practicing lawyers. Chris and Anthony are very knowledgeable, and work hard to promote a collaborative and educational environment. The learning experience was so beneficial, that I volunteered my time over the summer months to assist in their ongoing judicial review application. I would highly recommend this opportunity to other students looking to develop their legal skills and get a better understanding of working in the courts.”

— Jeff Drozdiak, 2nd year law student, 2017 Spring & 2017 Summer cohorts

“Volunteering with CELL was among the most rewarding experiences I had during law school. The organization provides students with a unique opportunity to meaningfully participate in complex public interest litigation, while at the same time giving them access to the tremendous mentorship and support of CELL staff. Chris and Anthony go to great lengths to make students feel included in strategically important litigation decisions, and help students develop legal skills by letting them draft submissions and interview clients. I would highly recommend CELL to anyone looking for practical environmental litigation experience.”

— Matthew Palmer, 3rd year law student, 2017 Spring cohort

“Participating as a student with CELL was a memorable and invaluable experience. I had the opportunity to work closely with experts in environmental law on exciting and cutting-edge files. Rarely do law students get the chance to contribute meaningfully to litigation files during their academic work. CELL allowed me not only to contribute in such a way, but also to lend support to matters that I believe are crucial to humanity’s shared future.”

— Ashley Thomas, 3rd year law student, 2017 Spring cohort

“I immensely enjoyed being a part of the CELL team through the UVic Environmental Law Centre. This project gave me practical experience beyond what many other courses have given me, and exposed me to some intriguing and important areas of the law. I felt that my opinions and my efforts were valued and that I helped contribute to a crucial public interest cause that I now have much more cognizance of than before I started this project. On several occasions during my involvement with CELL, I stepped back and thought ‘wow, I never thought I would be working on projects as novel and captivating as this.'”

— Mike Schryver, 3rd year law student, 2017 Spring cohort

“As a law student volunteering with CELL, I had the opportunity to experience public interest litigation firsthand. I was able to attend meetings with other lawyers and get experience in drafting various parts of a legal action. CELL offered me a similar experience to working in a private law firm, but with infinitely more support from the supervising lawyers who treat you as peers and offer you a seat at the table. CELL is by far the best way to get hands-on litigation experience in law school while contributing to ground-breaking legal actions.”

— Alex Ciccone, 3rd year law student, 2016 Fall cohort

“Working with CELL this past semester presented the incredible opportunity to learn how to assess large bodies of evidence and to develop legal arguments, while receiving continued feedback from experienced lawyers. CELL also allowed me to collaborate with and learn from bright colleagues who share a passion for environmental law. Overall, CELL’s training left me feeling like I had produced worthwhile work that, along with my colleagues’, would make practical contributions to a client’s case. I couldn’t recommend this program more to students who are looking to gain practical experience in the field of environmental and administrative law.”

— Caitlin Stockwell, 2nd year law student, 2016 Fall cohort

 

Current and former clients

“Thank you all for the terrific work you and others have been doing over the past two or three months. And thank you, Anthony, for all the hard work you have done to produce a first rate legal opinion. I deeply appreciate the hard work and the outstanding skill, knowledge and commitment that you all have been contributing. Thank you. And please express my appreciation to the students for their good work.

I am very glad you are there and doing what you do. You are a BC treasure.”

— Kathleen Ruff, human rights & anti-asbestos activist

“Over the last 2 years, when I was President of BC Nature, May 2014 to May 2016, as well during the year before that, as Vice-President, I worked closely with both Prof. Chris Tollefson and Anthony Ho. We cooperated and communicated on a wide number of issues, such as Roberts Bank, LNG, other important environmental cases, and in particular on the Northern Gateway and the Trans Mountain pipeline projects. They have consistently provided BC Nature with timely and high quality advice and assistance on press releases, at public meetings, and in developing and implementing litigation strategies. Last fall, Prof. Tollefson and Mr. Ho represented BC Nature in a complex and high profile court challenge to Cabinet’s decision to approve the Northern Gateway project. Their work in preparation for and oral submissions to the Federal Court of Appeal were highly professional and effective. BC Nature is grateful for their efforts, and we look forward to continue to working with Chris, Anthony and the CELL legal team.”

— Dr. Cornelis Visser, Former President of BC Nature

“Chris Tollefson and Anthony Ho embrace the challenge of issues brought to them and provide clear advice. They are very approachable, and made the legal process less intimidating as their door was always open to support client needs. They explain the law in simple terms so that the ordinary citizen feels empowered to take action. I would recommend this team for those who are concerned about an environmental issue but don’t know the legal process.”

— Elisabeth Stannus, Kitimat school teacher

 

Community

“I have worked closely with Chris and his students (e.g. Anthony Ho) over the last five years on environmental issues including the Joint Review Panel review processes for the Northern Gateway and the NEB’s review process for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The work that they have done has been outstanding. Their cross examination was critical to improving the quality of the evidence that the government relied on and the integrity of the review process. Their work has also contributed to the education of both their students and to others who have used their research in courses on impact assessment and project review. The CELL concept (training, mentoring, interdisciplinary teamwork) builds on the work Chris and Anthony have been doing and will make an invaluable contribution to improving education and public policy decisions.”

— Dr. Thomas Gunton, Professor & Director of Resource and Environmental Planning Program, Simon Fraser University

“The concept of building environmental law precedents, and harnessing the energy and passion of law students has a powerful and effective tradition. CELL is building on a strong team and track record from Chris and Anthony, and will fill a real need within British Columbia and Canada. This is a timely and important venture, and I welcome the new organization. It will be exciting to watch them serve the public interest and grow.”

— Gregory J. McDade, Q.C., Ratcliff & Company LLP

“The growing power of profit-driven corporations to cause irreversible harm to our environment needs to be held in check, and governments can no longer be allowed to bend over backwards to aid them. CELL is a team of battle-tested litigators committed to train the next generation of idealistic young lawyers to carry on the fight for a clean and healthy environment.”

— William Deverell, Canadian novelist, activist, and criminal lawyer