Small Firm. Big Thinking.

Our lawyers combine legal experience in local government, commercial real estate development, and construction law to provide focused legal services to municipalities, owners, builders and developers on a range of projects, from concept to completion, and beyond.


Meet the Civic Legal Team

Sonia Sahota

Managing Partner

Sonia Sahota is a founding partner of the firm and is currently the Managing Partner. She practises in the areas of procurement, construction and land development, with a particular focus on tendering law, procurement fairness and construction contracting. Sonia practised as a professional engineer for 10 years and worked on civil and geotechnical design and construction projects in northern British Columbia, the United States, northern Africa and South America. She provides legal advice with practical insight by drawing upon her unique professional understanding of construction and engineering projects. She routinely provides advice on structuring and administering public tenders and competitive RFPs, managing contractor performance and lien issues and securing land tenure. Sonia has advised on, drafted and negotiated complex contracts for construction, professional services and operational services, in respect of public projects including a multi-use recreational complex, district energy facility, new school sites, stormwater management, waste handling and environmental remediation. Sonia presents regularly on legal topics of interest to members of the local government and engineering communities, such as the Municipal Engineers Division of Engineers and Geoscientists of BC and the Public Works Association (BC).


Education & Year of Call
  • 2006 – Admitted to the British Columbia Bar
  • 2005 – LL.B., University of British Columbia
  • 1990 – Ap.Sc. (Civil), University of British Columbia

Pam Jefcoat


Pam Jefcoat is a founding partner of the firm. With over 22 years of combined experience in local government and commercial real estate law, Pam is a seasoned advisor to owners and developers alike on a wide variety of local government and real estate development matters, with a focus on land use planning, subdivision, and rezoning and redevelopment of residential, mixed-use and industrial properties. Having honed her skills on numerous projects for both municipalities and developers, Pam brings extensive experience into advising clients on rezoning and permit approval processes, public hearings, phased developments, development agreements, density bonusing, density transfers, the imposition of development cost charges, community amenity contributions, housing agreements, alternative transportation requirements and subdivision servicing requirements. Pam holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and offers unique insight into matters of public policy and its impacts on urban development. Pam frequently speaks throughout the province on matters of interest to both local governments and developers, including recent topics such as Phased Developments: Managing Growth and Securing Amenities, The Subdivision Application Process, Statutory Considerations and the Broad Powers of the Approving Officer and the Regulation of Lot Sizes, Subdivision Standards and Discretionary Imposition of On-Site and Off-Site Works and Services. Pam is also on the CLEBC’s Editorial Board for the British Columbia Real Estate Development Practice Manual.


Education & Year of Call
  • 2001 – Admitted to the British Columbia Bar
  • 2001 – Masters, Public Administration, University of Victoria
  • 2000 – LL.B., University of Victoria
  • 1995 – B.A. (Political Science), University of Victoria

Michael Moll


Michael is a partner with the firm and has over 15 years of experience advising and representing local governments. He maintains a mixed practice of both litigation and solicitor work with a particular focus on land use, development, local government finance and bylaw regulation and enforcement. Michael regularly gives advice on and represents local governments in general matters, including property taxes, elections, highways, construction disputes and expropriation.  He also routinely assists clients with tax sales and remedial action requirements, both unique and powerful local government remedies.  Michael presents regularly at local government conferences and workshops, including the Government Finance Officers Association (BC) and the Licence Inspectors and Bylaw Officers Association. In 2014, Michael obtained a Master of Laws degree, writing a thesis on the municipal regulation of business. Prior to pursuing a career in law, Michael studied economics and worked in procurement for a telecommunications company in Germany.


Education & Year of Call
  • 2014 – LL.M., University of Toronto
  • 2008 – Admitted to the British Columbia Bar
  • 2007 – LL.B., University of British Columbia
  • 2004 – M.A. (Economics), University of British Columbia
  • 2001 – B.A. (Economics (Hons) & International Relations), University of British Columbia

Eugenia Adamovitch

Associate (Non-practicing)
Eugenia is an associate lawyer of the firm and maintains a general municipal law practice. She has assisted local governments in relation to a wide variety of real estate development and land use planning and regulation matters, including subdivision approval processes, rezoning, development permit issues, building permit issues, and latecomer agreements. Eugenia routinely negotiates and drafts complex legal agreements for large multi-use commercial development projects. She also regularly provides advice to municipalities and regional districts on jurisdictional matters and processes for consultation and public hearings, specifically issues related to escheated property, bylaw enforcement, governance, and elections. Eugenia obtained her Juris Doctor from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and was called to the Bar of British Columbia in July 2020. While at law school, she served as the Clinic Coordinator of the Artists’ Legal Outreach Clinic, and worked with the Law for Non-Profits Project, where she provided legal services to local charities and non-profit organizations. She was also extensively involved with the UBC Law Review, serving on the Board of Directors as the Patrons and Special Projects Manager.


Education & Year of Call
  • 2020 – Admitted to the British Columbia Bar
  • 2019 – JD, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
  • 2015 – BA (Political Science), University of Calgary

David Giroday


David is an associate lawyer of the firm. His practice is focused on municipal, land development and construction matters. Prior to working at Civic Legal LLP, David worked as a litigator and represented insurance corporations, local governments, construction managers and local and national companies in a variety of legal actions and disputes. David has developed a unique perspective on risk management, negotiation, and strategy from his litigation experience, which he draws on to advise his clients on a variety of legal and regulatory issues. In his solicitors practice David routinely advises clients on local government issues, procurement processes and land use planning and development regulatory matters. He has further drafted construction contracts and municipal service agreements on varied construction projects and contractual matters.

David completed his law studies in Ontario at the University of Windsor and was called to the British Columbia Bar in 2019. Prior to studying law, David worked for a credit union and legal advocacy non-profit where he worked on community outreach initiatives on Vancouver’s downtown eastside. David completed his undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia with his capstone research focused on Chinese foreign direct investment in infrastructure projects across Sub-Saharan Africa.

T604.358.7443 Edavid@civiclegal.cavCard

Education & Year of Call
  • 2022 – Certified Information Privacy Professional/Canada
  • 2019 – Admitted to the British Columbia Bar
  • 2018 – JD, University of Windsor
  • 2012 – BA (Political Science & History), University of British Columbia

Sara Gray


Sara Gray is an associate lawyer of the firm and maintains a general municipal law practice. Prior to working at Civic Legal LLP, Sara worked as a litigator, primarily representing local municipalities and community groups in land-use disputes. She also worked in-house as counsel for a major insurance brokerage, providing risk management advice and resolving coverage disputes on behalf of clients, who were mainly local governments and commercial entities. Her previous litigation and solicitors practice gives her a unique outlook on a wide range of issues affecting local government. She provides advice on land-use, regulatory, and liability matters, while also drafting and reviewing contracts.

Sara completed her law studies at Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2018, after spending two years post-graduation working abroad in London, England as a legal advisor to a cyber security company. She hopes to use her experience and passion for local government to deliver outstanding legal advice to her clients as her practice continues to grow.

T604.358.0293 Esara@civiclegal.cavCard

Education & Year of Call
  • 2022 – Admitted to the British Columbia Bar
  • 2018 – Admitted to the Ontario Bar
  • 2015 – Juris Doctor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
  • 2012 – BA (Political Science & Psychology), University of British Columbia

Kai Hsieh


Kai is an associate lawyer of the firm and maintains a general municipal law practice with a focus on real estate development. To that end, he regularly drafts legal agreements for development projects. He has also assisted with various local government matters, from procurement to regulatory issues.

Kai obtained his Juris Doctor from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at The University of British Columbia, articled with a provincial public organization, and was called to the Bar of British Columbia in May 2022. While his law school experience was varied, ranging from being a clinician with the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program and presenting legal topics to high school students through Legal Education Outreach, to singing and dancing in the school’s annual comedy sketch show as part of the UBC Law Revue and working as the Centre for Business Law’s Operations Officer, his highlights were: participating in the Corporate Counsel Externship, competing in the 2021 Adam F. Fanaki Competition Law Moot and being awarded Best Factum – Appellant alongside his moot partner, and volunteering with the A2JBC through Pro Bono Students Canada, where Kai had the opportunity to discuss access to justice issues with advocates throughout the province and was co-recipient of the 2021 Honourable Donna J. Martinson Access to Justice Award.

Prior to law school, Kai obtained his Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering from The University of British Columbia. Upon graduating, he worked at an architectural glass fabrication facility, where he implemented a new laminated glass line, and designed and implemented process improvements for multiple fabrication departments.

Outside of the office, you can find Kai on rehearsing or performing in shows as part of a local community musical theatre group.


Education & Year of Call
  • 2022 – Admitted to the British Columbia Bar
  • 2021 – JD, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
  • 2015 – BASc (Mechanical Engineering), University of British Columbia

Marcela Ouatu


Marcela is an associate lawyer with Civic Legal LLP. Her practice focuses primarily on tendering, procurement, construction matters and local government law. Marcela assists clients with drafting and reviewing construction contracts and procurement documents, contract administration, and general municipal matters. She regularly writes on legal topics of interest to local governments and the construction industry. Prior to joining Civic Legal LLP, Marcela completed a Juris Doctor and a Master of Laws at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. During her time in law school, she completed the Business Law Concentration and was a student clinician at the Business Law Clinic, where she was providing legal advice to small businesses. Marcela also worked in the legal department of an international franchise company and at a Vancouver boutique law firm, specializing in real estate, corporate law, and estate planning. Marcela articled at a civil litigation law firm, where she gained extensive legal experience in advocacy by frequently representing clients in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.


Education & Year of Call
  • 2020 – Admitted to the British Columbia Bar
  • 2019 – JD, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
  • 2015 – LL.M., Peter A. Allard School of Law, The University of British Columbia
  • 2010 – LL.B., Moldova State University

Talya Peled Bar

Associate (Non-practicing)

Talya is an associate lawyer of the firm and maintains a general municipal law practice with a focus on construction, procurement, and insurance law. Her experience includes bylaw drafting, advising on liability issues, and representing local governments in court, negotiations, and mediation. Talya articled at Civic Legal LLP and was called to the Bar in June 2021. She completed her Master of Laws (CL) at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. Prior to obtaining her master’s degree, Talya graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Law in Israel. During law school, she volunteered with the Israel Anti-Poverty Association, where she provided legal advice to low-income clients and taught academic writing and legal research to junior law students. Before relocating to Canada, Talya practiced as a lawyer for over three years and gained extensive experience in civil litigation, including medical malpractice. Through this unique background, Talya strives to understand each client’s needs and craft an effective and practical solution.

T604.358.0252 Etali@civiclegal.cavCard

Education & Year of Call
  • 2021 – Admitted to the British Columbia Bar
  • 2019 – LL.M.(CL), Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
  • 2009 – Admitted to the Israel Bar Association
  • 2008 – LL.B. Netanya Academic College

Pars Khalighi

Legal Administrator
Pars is the Legal Administrator for Civic Legal LLP and responsible for managing the administrative operations of the firm. She provides support in all facets of the firm’s operations, including billing, document management, marketing, human resources, and professional development. Pars brings with her over 15 years of experience from the hospitality, accounting, and consulting industries, centered around a client-first approach. Pars is available to assist you with any firm administrative matter or simply to help you connect with one of Civic Legal’s lawyers.


What We Do

We provide a broad range of solicitors and litigation legal services to municipalities, owners, builders and developers.

Our Areas of Expertise

Rezoning, Land Development and Subdivision

We have extensive experience in all aspects of land use planning, land development and rezoning including:

Structuring and drafting simple and complex development agreements:
  • servicing and performance security for on-site and off-site works
  • easements and SRWs
  • phased developments
  • affordable housing and related construction covenants
  • latecomers
Structuring and drafting Section 219 Covenants:
  • flooding, fire hazard, geo-hazard and other environmental conditions
  • district energy
  • energy efficient design
  • water conservation
  • public art
  • car share programs, electric vehicle charging stations, end-of-trip facilities and other transportation alternatives
  • other restrictions on the use, development and subdivision of land
Advising on:
  • public hearings
  • zoning
  • subdivision
  • permit approvals
  • land use contracts and termination
  • liabilities associated with flood risks, geotechnical risks and extreme hazard conditions
  • geothermal and alternative energy source development

Tendering, Construction & Infrastructure Development

With a professional engineer on our team, we can speak the same language.  Our advice will not only consider the legal aspects of the issue but also focus on practical, workable solutions.  From concept to completion, or any stage in between, let our knowledgeable team shoulder the load of your next project with our expertise in:

Advising on procurement and project development:
  • methods for procuring goods and services
  • procurement fairness protocols for administration, evaluation, selection and post-award issues
  • bidder non-compliance analysis
  • safely cancelling procurement processes
  • bid and project bonds
  • project delivery options (design-bid-build, design-build, construction management, others)
  • options for use of standard form contracts (eg. MMCD, CCDC, other)
  • negotiating works contracts
  • resolving legal issues relating to design and construction disputes
Advising on construction:
  • builder’s lien issues and statutory obligations for owners
  • building bylaw and building code issues
  • contract interpretation
  • delay claims
Drafting and structuring:
  • procurement documents (RFPs, tenders, addenda and other)
  • procurement policies and procedures
  • construction contracts
  • public private partnership agreements
  • consulting services contracts
  • supplementary conditions of contract

Real Estate

Real estate is a mainstay of our practice.  Let our extensive experience help you maneuver through your next transaction, big or small:

Securing land tenure rights:
  • statutory rights of way
  • easements
  • leases
  • licenses
  • encroachments
  • expropriations
Structuring and drafting:
  • contracts of purchase and sale
  • land exchange agreements
  • options to purchase
  • rights of first refusal
  • joint venture agreements
  • co-ownership agreements
  • assignment and assumption agreements
Coordinating all aspects of the conveyance of lands:
  • public notices
  • due diligence investigations
  • environmental compliance
  • contaminated sites
  • Land Title Office filings
Managing all aspects of road closures and park land disposal:
  • public notices
  • approval processes
  • bylaws
  • purchase and sale and exchange agreements
  • Land Title Office filings
Structuring, drafting and providing strategic advice on a wide variety of lease arrangements:
  • offers to lease, options to lease, ground leases, building leases and subleases for industrial, commercial and residential properties
  • leasehold subdivisions
  • environmental risk allocation
  • advising on landlord/tenant rights

Local Government Agreements

We assist our clients with negotiating and drafting a myriad of different agreements from the very simple to the highly complex, including:

Real Estate Agreements:
  • offers to purchase
  • purchase and sale
  • asset purchase
  • land exchange
  • options to purchase and rights of first refusal
  • joint venture
  • co-ownership
  • leases
  • licences
  • statutory rights of way, easements and section 219 covenants
  • exclusivity
  • beneficiary charge and authorization
  • assignment and assumption
Land Development:
  • statutory rights of way, easements and section 219 covenants
  • master developments
  • servicing
  • municipal access
  • highway encroachment
  • phased development
  • amenities
  • affordable housing
Construction Agreements:
  • design-build
  • works and services
  • infrastructure, including concession agreements and other public-private partnership agreements
Servicing Agreements:
  • partnering
  • First Nations services
  • mutual aid
  • waste, organics and recyclables management
  • telecommunications
Business and Finance Agreements:
  • operations and management
  • municipal corporations
  • community forests
  • revenue sharing
  • security, including loans, guarantees, mortgages, promissory notes and other forms of security arrangements
  • personal property security
  • confidentiality and non-disclosure
  • exclusivity
  • indemnification, release and waivers
  • revitalization tax exemptions
  • utility franchises
  • asset purchases
  • equipment leases
  • community energy utilities
  • sponsorship

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy

We provide day-to-day practical advice and support to local governments in their decision making under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, including:

Advising on:
  • access to information requests
  • statutory disclosure obligations
  • privacy compliance obligations
Assisting with:
  • mediations
  • inquiries before the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
  • the preparation of submissions and supporting affidavits for written inquiries

General Municipal Advice

With over 40 years of combined legal experience in local government, real estate, construction and corporate law, our team of lawyers is well positioned to advise local governments on:

  • constitutional law, jurisdiction and related regulatory issues
  • liability issues, loss prevention and risk management
  • permissive tax exemptions
  • revitalization tax exemptions
  • DCCs
  • establishment and use of reserve funds
  • bylaw drafting and interpretation
  • conflict of interest, procedural rules and related matters
  • remedial action authority
  • tax sales
  • elections
  • corporate governance issues
  • statutory interpretation


We have worked through many land development and commercial transactions involving environmental issues.  Let us assist you by drawing from our experience in:

Advising on:
  • local government regulatory authority under the EMA and CSR
  • regulatory tools for groundwater protection
  • riparian rights regulation
  • administration of the site profile regime
  • remediation of contaminated sites
  • cost recovery options
  • environmental risk allocation in local government contracts
  • strategies to minimize liability for purchasing/receiving contaminated sites
  • due diligence and regulatory compliance
Structuring and Drafting:
  • environmental indemnity and release agreements
  • carbon offset agreements
  • waste, organics and recyclable collection and disposal (MMBC, in-house or private)
  • community energy agreements

Working Smart

We strive to increase efficiency and create predictability in fees by working directly with you at the beginning of each engagement to define expectations, plan the scope of work and monitor and manage the work to ensure your legal matters remain on track, on time and on budget.
We may from time to time engage reputable independent research lawyers and paralegals, with your consent, for certain aspects of a project, where this would be sensible, cost-effective and efficient.

Client Service Policy

We are committed to providing exceptional service to our clients. Our goal is to raise your expectations and then exceed them. We will be accessible, responsive and will put the needs of our clients first. How will we do this?

  • We will return phone calls and emails as soon as possible and within one business day at the latest.

  • We will let you know when we will be out of reach and will provide the contact information of the person who can answer your questions.

  • We will ask you about your service preferences before, during and after each engagement.

  • We will communicate clearly regarding fees, costs, team members and deadlines.

  • We will respect our agreed upon fee arrangements and will staff each matter in a way that provides the best value for the service provided.

  • We will strive to meet or exceed our deadlines. If we cannot, we will let you know well in advance.

  • We will keep you completely up to date on the status of your matters.

  • Our bills will be clear, correct and prompt and will be in a format that meets your preferences.

  • We will meet with you in person or by telephone at least once a year - off the clock - to ask about your satisfaction with our services.

  • Last, but not least, we will, upon request and at no cost, provide you with on-site / in-house seminars on legal topics of interest to your staff.

Rates And Billing Practices

We will work with you to customize billing arrangements that are attuned to the services required and your bottom line, including traditional hourly billing, fee estimates, price caps and pre-agreed flat fees.

Recent Articles

Publication, Staff | |

Accessible BC Act: Overview and Implications for Organizations

In June 2021, the British Columbia government enacted the Accessible British Columbia Act, S.B.C. 2023, c. 19. to support people with disabilities in meaningfully participating in their communities. Currently, the Act applies to the provincial government and those organizations prescribed by regulation.

This article provides an overview of the Act, highlights its key provisions, explains its application to public organizations and its relevance to organizations who are not currently subject to the Act.

As published in the NRCA’s Northern Construction Connection September 2023 Newsletter, and VICA’s e-New.

Read Full Article

Publication, Staff | |

The Agricultural Land Reserve: Prohibitions and Limits on Land Development and Construction

In British Columbia, the Agricultural Land Reserve (“ALR”) designates 4.6 million hectares of land for priority use in agriculture. Intended to protect valuable agricultural land across the province, this designation restricts the scope of construction and development activities that are permitted on ALR land as set out in the Agricultural Land Commission Act SBC 2002 C. 36 (the “Act”) and the Agricultural Land Reserve Use Regulation B.C. Reg. 36/2022 (the “Regulation”). When acquiring, developing and building on land it is incumbent for a property owner to conduct due diligence investigations into the property’s zoning and any other designations that may prohibit or limit their development plans for the property.

As published in the NRCA’s Northern Construction Connection August 2023 Newsletter, and VICA’s e-New.

Read Full Article

See all Articles & Publications

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

We don't currently have any upcoming speaking engagements. Please check back soon!

See all Speaking Engagements