We are passionate about what we do.

Estate Law

Estate Law involves the practice of preparing wills and trusts, enduring powers of attorney and personal directives, administering estates and resolving differences and conflicts regarding estates. Anne de Villars and Lois MacLean lead the firm’s practice in this area, and are well-respected practitioners of estate law,. For the past 20 years, Anne has been a member of the board of the Alberta Law Reform Institute where she has worked on reforming Alberta succession law.

Estate Planning

The lawyers in our estate law practice can give you the means to ensure your wishes for the future – regarding your estate and your own care – are met, even when you’re no longer able to see to it personally.

We help you use estate planning tools such as wills, enduring powers of attorney, personal directives, and trusts to structure what will happen with your estate and your personal care.

Ultimately, estate planning is about peace of mind. It gives you the ability to make provisions for your loved ones when you are no longer able to do so, and the confidence to know your wishes will be carried out.

Estate Administration

Dealing with an estate is a large responsibility—often far more than a person imagines when agreeing to be an executor. This is made more difficult because the need usually arises when people are also coping with the loss of a loved one. de Villars Jones will guide you through the many requirements of dealing with the surrogate court, the tax department, banks, creditors, government, beneficiaries, and others.

Business Law

Business Law involves creating business structures (corporations, partnerships, trusts, sole proprietorships) and all aspects of the legal relationships between a business and its clients, suppliers, owners and tax authorities. This area of law frequently requires lawyers to work in conjunction with the clients’ accountants and other advisors, which de Villars Jones is pleased to do.

Conveyancing & Real Property Law

Real Property Law involves anything to do with land and buildings. The most common transactions include buying, selling, renting or transmitting property—sometimes called conveyancing. de Villars Jones provides a full range of real property services.

Estate Litigation

Nevertheless, there are times when differences arising in an estate cannot be resolved through mediation, and disputes must be decided by the courts. The lawyers at de Villars Jones are experienced estate litigators and will help you understand the process, represent your interests, and guide you through to the court’s decision.

Administrative Law

de Villars Jones wrote the book on administrative law … literally! David Jones and Anne de Villars published the first edition of Principles of Administrative Law in 1985, and it’s now in its 6th edition. They also edit the Administrative Law Reports. Book smart, yes—but also well versed in applying what they know.

Administrative law deals with the interaction between people and governmental agencies. It involves not only the authority of governmental agencies to make particular decisions, but also the processes used for making those decisions. Administrative law issues can arise in any area where the government is involved—-including the organization of professions, professional discipline, access to information and personal privacy, resource development, environmental regulation, and a myriad of other examples.


A solution you choose is always preferable to one that is imposed on you. This is the belief that underlies our strong focus on mediation, where the people involved have mutual control of their situation and find their own solutions. A skilled mediator brings out individuals’ underlying needs so that they can find solutions to satisfy those needs. Mediation is very flexible and can often allow for solutions which could never be achieved through the strict application of the law as required by a court.

de Villars Jones lawyers frequently act as the mediators, working with all sides in a dispute to find creative solutions that work for those involved. We also act as counsel for parties involved in mediation.


Arbitration is another alternative to resolving disputes in a courtroom. Arbitration is a process where those involved present their case to a neutral third party – the arbitrator – who makes the final decision. It is usually faster, private and less expensive than litigation.

de Villars Jones lawyers are available to act as arbitrators or as counsel to parties in an arbitration. David Phillip Jones is a Chartered Arbitrator, and his skill as an arbitrator in both labour and commercial matters is respected across the country.

Estate Mediation

When there is a dispute over an estate, we look first to mediation as a way to resolve contentious issues (but also understand that sometimes a judge needs to sort things out). Our approach is always to try dialogue and mediation before turning to the costly and often divisive option of having the court decide.

We don’t lose sight of the fact that estate disputes are first and foremost human issues. Mediation is as much about the healing process as it is about legal circumstances, so our lawyers take every possible step to deal with those involved in conflicts and disputes over estates with compassion and care.

Point of Law Litigation

“Point of Law Litigation” involves cases where the facts are not really in dispute, but there is an issue about the legal rule which applies to the case. Because of the firm’s academic strength over a wide range of legal areas, lawyers at de Villars Jones are regularly involved in these types of cases, and often receive referrals from other firms.