Senior Legal Staff
The Legal Aid Alberta legal leadership team brings well over a century of legal experience to the organization. The team is made up of respected experts in several different areas of law and provides advice, guidance, and support to Legal Aid Alberta, as well as serving as advisors to lawyers outside the organization and other partners in the justice system.
G. John Panusa - President & CEO
Gianpaolo (John) Panusa is an accomplished leader who has over 20 years of legal, governance, and management experience in both the private and public sectors. He has a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta and a Master of Law degree from the University of Cambridge. He is a member of both the Law Society of Alberta and the Law Society of British Columbia.
Doug Ingersoll - General Counsel, Advisory Counsel Services
Doug joined Legal Aid Alberta just over 10 years ago from his own general practice firm. Prior to managing his own firm, he worked for many years with his brother, Gordon, and had also served as a Standing Agent for the Federal Department of Justice and a Presiding Justice of the Peace for the Province of Alberta. Doug was originally hired by LAA as Duty Counsel to represent clients in Justice of the Peace bail hearings, and played a part in the development and implementation of expanded Duty Counsel at LAA, which eventually lead to the creation of the Criminal Resolution Office program.
Since 2010, Doug has been primarily involved in the administrative and management of the organization, serving in various capacities over time including Senior Manager, Certificate Management; Policy & Privacy Officer and Appeals Secretariat; Director, Certificate & Tariff Administration; Senior Director, Roster & Case Management; and most recently as Assistant General Counsel, Corporate Law & Case Management.
Dane Bullerwall - Associate General Counsel
Dane was raised on a farm in Cut Knife, Saskatchewan, and graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta in 2009. He split his articles between the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta and the firm then-known as Pringle MacDonald & Bottos.
Dane spent the next seven years working in a busy criminal defence practice that took him across Alberta and the Northwest Territories. After leaving private practice, he served a term as legal counsel to the Court of Appeal of Alberta, where he worked closely with the justices of the Court, assisting them with legal research and writing.
Dane then put his extensive appellate experience to use as appellate counsel at Legal Aid Alberta.
Outside the practice of law, Dane has taught as a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta, delivering courses in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, and privacy law. He is also on the faculty of one of Canada’s leading continuing education programs, the National Criminal Law Program. He lives in Edmonton with his wife and two children.
Andrea Doyle - Senior Advisory Counsel, Family and Immigration Law
Andrea graduated UNB Law in 1991, articled at a large Bay Street law firm, and then clerked at the Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa. She was called to the Ontario bar in 1994 and practiced with the law firm of Doyle, Speirs, in Ajax, Ontario from 1994 to 2007. She has a passion for representing children whose parents are involved in family law matters, and served as a member of the Children’s Rights Panel with the Office of the Children’s Lawyer in Ontario from 2000 until 2007.
After relocating to Alberta, Andrea joined the Family Law Office as staff counsel in 2007, and in that capacity represented children in high conflict family law matters, as well as parents in child welfare matters and all other family matters. Starting in 2010 and until 2018, Andrea was the Assistant Senior Counsel of the Family Law Office and had responsibility for the Edmonton and Wetaskiwin offices. In July 2018, Andrea became Senior Counsel for Edmonton Family Law.
Danny Lynn - Senior Advisory Counsel, Adult Criminal Law
Danny graduated from the University of Alberta Law School in 1990 as a member of the Dean’s List, and winner of the John E. Brownlee Award in Local Government Law.
He articled for the Alberta Attorney General, and spent 18 years as a Crown Prosecutor in Edmonton from 1990 to 2008, before being seconded to the Alberta Safe Communities Secretariat & Strategic Policy as a Criminal Law expert. He worked on a number of projects including Alberta’s Gang Crime Strategy, Crime Prevention Framework, Body Armour Legislation, and Missing Persons Legislation.
In 2011, Danny joined Legal Aid Alberta as Senior Counsel to Criminal Law in Edmonton where he has been since joining the organization. He was also seconded as a Senior Director from 2015 to 2017 and was responsible for High Cost Case Management and the Discretionary Coverage Program.
Karen McGowan - Senior Advisory Counsel, Youth Criminal Law
Karen McGowan joined Legal Aid Alberta upon completing her articles with Beresh Depoe Cunningham in 1999, and has been practicing exclusively in the area of youth criminal justice since then. Karen has been instrumental in shaping the interpretation and application of the Youth Criminal Justice Act in Edmonton as it applies to substantive offences, the administration of youth justice, and interpreting the constitutional rights of young persons.
While Karen has tried a wide variety of cases, she has taken special interest in group home assaults, search and seizure, impaired driving, arbitrary detention, admissibility of youth statements, and most recently challenging the practice of solitary confinement in Alberta youth jails. The stay of proceedings obtained from the solitary confinement of her client was the first in Canada.
Karen is also passionate about educating others in youth justice. She has guest lectured at the University of Alberta law school and has taught and mentored individual law students in the Low Income and the Law class for the last several years. She regularly advises roster lawyers on criminal cases, gives insight to media on youth matters, and most recently was invited by Ontario criminal lawyers to speak at a conference on youth justice in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Julia Sproule - Associate Vice President, Operations
Julia has a diversity of experience in different areas of law and organizational settings. After obtaining her B.A. (Hons) and prior to entering law school, Julia worked as a Family Aide Worker for Catholic Social Services, where she supported families in need by assisting them in meeting the goals and conditions set through social workers and government agencies.
Julia has also worked in a small setting, private practice as a solicitor where she learned first-hand the art and challenges of practice management. In addition to her private practice experience, Julia has worked in multiple organizational settings, including a Barrister & Solicitor position at the City of Edmonton where she worked closely with the transportation department, appeared before administrative tribunals and negotiated settlements with opposing counsel. She also worked as Legal Counsel in the oil & gas industry where she served as Privacy Officer for a large business unit and represented the organization in the area of compliance, driving many enterprise-wide projects and overseeing workplace investigations.
Jennifer Costigan - Managing Director, Legal Services North
Jennifer graduated from the Dual Law Degree Program through University of Windsor and Detroit Mercy University, earning her Law Degrees in both Canada and the United States. Jennifer articled with Calgary Legal Guidance and was called to the Bar in 2012.
She continued on as a Staff Lawyer with Calgary Legal Guidance, practicing in Criminal and Regulatory Law. In 2013, Jennifer moved to Edmonton and began working with Legal Aid Alberta as a Staff Lawyer in Client Services. Jennifer has also worked in the Youth Criminal Defence Office and often assisted as Duty Counsel for the Adult Criminal Office. In 2015 Jennifer became the Manager of High Cost Case Management and the Discretionary Coverage Program, and soon after took on the role of Privacy Officer. In April 2018, Jennifer took on the role of Assistant Senior Counsel in the Corporate and Case Management Group.
Sarah King D’Souza - Managing Director, Legal Services South
Sarah has practiced law since 1984 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2010. She was a Bencher for the Law Society of Alberta from April 2009 to February 2018.
Since 2013, Sarah has been involved in the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, as a Past Chair and a member of the Board of Directors. She is currently Vice-Chair of the Board for Alcove Addiction Recovery for Women. Sarah is a Member of the Association of Collaborative Family Law Professionals (Calgary) and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. In 2017 Sarah received the Women in Law Leadership Award for Service to the Community.
Ian McNish - Associate Managing Director, JP Bail Services
Ian received his law degree from Queens University in 1990, after completing his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Calgary and Brock University.
He joined Legal Aid Alberta in 1992 and has since represented clients in conflict with the criminal justice system on perhaps every possible charge and at every level of court in Canada. Ian finds reward in shepherding vulnerable clients and their related behaviours through the criminal justice system, and leading others to do the same.