BCLI Staff

Executive Director Kathleen Cunningham
National Director, CCEL Krista James
Staff Lawyer Gregory Blue, Q.C.
Staff Lawyer Kevin Zakreski
Staff Lawyer; Senior Fellow Laura Tamblyn Watts
Office Manager Elizabeth Pinsent
Social Media Coordinator Bénédicte Schoepflin
Research Lawyer Rachel Kelly
Research Lawyer Valerie Le Blanc

BCLI and CCEL Staff

Kathleen Cunningham604.822.0145
Kathleen Cunningham, B.Comm, LLB, MPS, TEP

Executive Director

Kathleen Cunningham joined the British Columbia Law Institute as the Executive Director in June 2015.  She received her Bachelor of Commerce (1984) and LL.B. (1985) from the University of British Columbia and was called to the Bar of the Law Society of British Columbia in 1986 following articles at CP Limited in Vancouver, BC.  She holds a Masters in Policy Studies from the University of New South Wales (2009) and a graduate diploma in Social Innovation from the University of Waterloo (2013).

From 1988 to 2008 Kathleen served in various capacities with RBC Wealth Management including Director of Policy and Risk Management for Royal Trust Corporation of Canada. While serving at the office of the Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia from 2010 – 2015 she assisted with implementation of personal planning and guardianship legislation and projects addressing the financial abuse of vulnerable adults. A past member of the BCLI Board and treasurer, she was also a member of the BC Law Institute Committees on the Modernization of the Trustee Act and Recommended Practices for Wills Practitioners Relating to Undue Influence.

 Ms Cunningham is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Worldwide Council and the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch Elder Law executive.  She is the past co-chair of the BC Association of Community Response Networks and is a frequent contributor to education and conference programs.  In her spare time she enjoys travel, the outdoors and local arts and culture.

Greg Blue, Q.C.


Gregory G. Blue, Q.C.

Senior Staff Lawyer

Greg Blue holds a B.A. (Hons.) from the University of Saskatchewan, an LL.B. from the University of Victoria, and an LL.M. from the University of Toronto. He was called to the Saskatchewan Bar in 1981 and to the BC Bar in 1986.

He articled and practised law with MacPherson, Leslie & Tyerman in Regina, Sask. 1980-82, then served in the Constitutional Law Branch, Ministry of Justice (Sask.) and as departmental solicitor to the Department of Energy and Mines (Sask.) 1982-87. Following this, he practised law with Halyk Brent Dovell in Saskatoon, Sask. from 1987-89.

He was a Legal Research Officer to the Law Reform Commission of British Columbia from 1989-1997 and later practised maritime law with McEwen, Schmitt & Co., Vancouver from 1997-2003.

Greg Blue was the principal staff lawyer responsible for the Succession Law Reform Project, the Probate Rules Reform project, the Report on the Privacy Act and numerous other projects.  He also served as reporter to the Trustee Act Modernization Committee. He was a Co-Chair of the CBABC Legislation and Law Reform Committee in 1997-98 and its Chair in 1998-99. He is the author of the Annotated British Columbia Mineral Tenure Act (Vancouver: Western Legal Publications, 1998 and Aurora: Canada Law Book, 2nd ed. 2010.).  He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2009.

List of Publications

Kevin Zakreski


Kevin Zakreski

Staff Lawyer

Kevin Zakreski grew up in Saskatoon and moved to Vancouver to attend law school. He graduated from UBC Law School and was called to the BC Bar in 2001. He articled and practised with Chow and Company in downtown Vancouver in the area of corporate/commercial law. He then joined the BC Law Institute in 2003 as a staff lawyer.Kevin has worked on a number of law reform projects for both the BCLI and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law. These projects address topics in the law of real property, contracts, not-for-profit organizations, and evidence, as well as wills-and-estates law and family law. Kevin has also participated in a number of projects with the Uniform Law Conference of Canada. In his spare time, he is an avid marathon runner.

Krista James


Krista James

National Director of the Canadian Centre for Elder Law, Staff Lawyer

Krista’s work is focused on the legal and policy issues that impact us as we age. Her practice includes legal research, policy analysis and public legal education, involving stakeholders from diverse sectors including healthcare, labour, finance and justice. She has written on topics such as abuse and neglect of older adults, mental capacity, age discrimination and caregiving policy. Increasingly Krista’s work centres on intersections between aging, gender and the law and strives to shift narratives on aging from characterizing older people primarily as recipients of care to recognizing older adults in our communities as rights-bearing citizens. She has a particular interest in ensuring law and policy analysis and reform reflects seniors in all their diversity, with particular attention to older adults who are socially marginalized.

Krista James graduated from UBC Law School in 1997 and was called to the BC Bar in 1998. Before joining the CCEL Krista practiced labour law with a focus on human rights and disability issues. Over the years Krista has worked with women’s centres and various non-profit community organizations serving low-income people in BC. She also volunteered and worked as a legal advocate for many years.

In 2004 Krista took a break from law and studied fine art, film and video at Emily Carr University. Krista is a crafter, gardener, yogini and mother.

 Laura Tamblyn Watts604.822.0142
Laura Tamblyn Watts

Staff Lawyer; Senior Fellow, Canadian Centre for Elder Law

Laura Tamblyn Watts is a lawyer who focuses on elder law issues. She earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at Queens University in 1995 and an LLB from the University of Victoria in 1998. She was called to the BC Bar in 1999. She is a Senior Fellow and Staff Lawyer at the Canadian Centre for Elder Law and its past long-time National Director. She is also the past Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Elder Law section.  She is a Board and founding member of the NICE network, a co-facilitator of the World Study Group on Elder Law, a member of the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments Board of Directors and former board member of FAIR Canada.  Laura is a member of the Ontario Securities Commission Seniors Expert Advisory Committee, and a member of the Vulnerable Investors Taskforce of the Investment Funds Industry of Canada (IFIC).  Laura is also the Chair of the Board of Family Councils Ontario and a Board Member of PACE, a non-profit agency providing  services to persons with disabilities in Ontario.  She teaches law and aging at the University of Toronto.  She is a member of the Institute for LifeCourse and Aging at the University of Toronto, and an Advisory Board Member of the Gilbrea Centre on Aging at McMaster University.   


Elizabeth Pinsent

BCLI/CCEL Office Manager

Elizabeth graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2007. She has been a full-time employee of the British Columbia Law Institute since 2008.

Benedicte Schoepflin


Bénédicte Schoepflin

Social Media Coordinator

Bénédicte has been managing BCLI’s social media channels part-time since July 2016. The rest of the time, Bénédicte is the Coordinator of the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and manages the CNPEA’s Knowledge Sharing Hub (www.cnpea.ca).

Bénédicte holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Poitiers, France. Past professional experiences run the gamut from language instruction to talent acquisition and museum management. These experiences contributed to her appreciation of the bonds that connect us — linguistic, historical or generational — and of the importance of protecting and championing them. Joining a team that embraces fair and modern laws and social justice seemed like the next logical step.

In her spare time, Bénédicte will likely be far away from smartphones and computers, purposefully lost, possibly in a foreign country. Don’t worry, it’s all part of the plan.


Rachel Kelly

Rachel Kelly joined the BCLI in 2012 as a research lawyer after completing a shared articles at the BCLI and a small family law firm in the lower mainland. Rachel holds a BA and LLB from Adelaide University (2004) and an LLM from the University of New South Wales (2009). Rachel was called to the BC Bar in 2012.

After graduation, Rachel clerked at the Supreme Court of South Australia and went on to practice commercial law in an international law firm which specialized in professional indemnity claims for several years before transitioning her career to focus on human rights and social justice issues. Rachel was the Coordinator of the national Anti-Poverty Week 2009 while she completed her LLM specializing in human rights and social justice. Rachel then moved to Canada and while qualifying as a lawyer in BC, worked as a human rights advocate for Prisoners Legal Services.

Rachel works part time for the BCLI and when she is not working she is chasing her kids around the playgrounds of Vancouver.


Valerie Le Blanc, LL.B.

Research Lawyer

Valerie Le Blanc joined the British Columbia Law Institute in November 2016.  She holds a B.A. from the University of Toronto (2006), and LL.B. from the University of Victoria (2010).  Valerie was called to the BC Bar in 2012.

As a graduate of the Faculty of Law Co-op Program, Valerie worked on public legal education, legal research, law reform, and legal advocacy. Valerie volunteered as an advocate for the Together Against Poverty Society (2006-2009), and conducted outreach presentations with the Faculty of Law – Law 4 All program (2007-2010).  Her academic success and commitment to social justice earned her the Ann Robert’s Humanitarian Award (University of Victoria, Faculty of Law – 2009).

Upon graduation, Valerie joined the Systemic Investigations Team at the Office of the Ombudsperson (2010-2011), providing legal research, policy analysis and drafting assistance on The Best of Care: Getting it Right for Seniors in British Columbia (Part 2) report, published February 2012.  Valerie then practised at a civil litigation firm in Employment, Human Rights and Immigration law (2011-2013).  Prior to joining the BCLI, Valerie worked for the provincial government, advising on labour and employment matters, and workplace investigations.

Valerie’s work with the BCLI will focus on several projects, including the Financing Litigation Legal Research Project. In her spare time, Valerie enjoys spending time with her family, travel, and cooking.


Thanks to our previous staff, volunteers, researchers and articling students.

Aimee King, Alexander Blondin, Andrea Clarke, Andrea Hagen, Andrew McIntosh, Anya Paskovic, Brandan Brammall, Brandi Stocks, Caily DiPuma, Carolina Rodrigues, Caroline Berkey, Carolyn Laws, Christopher Bettencourt, Ciaran Aiken, Cindy Cheuk, Dana Kripp, David McClelland, David Mount, Deborah Cumberford, Denise Beaton, Elaine Vale, Emma Butt, Eric Hou, Esther Robson, Grace Loh, Greg Stich, Heather Campbell, Heather Tennenhouse, Holly Popenia, Isabelle Groc, Jeffrey Bryant, Jenya Hammond, Jesse Gelber, Jessica Magalios, John Richardson, Jordan Laporte, Julia Cameron, Julie Lawrence, Kalila Wilkinson, Kirsten Wharton, Kisa Macdonald, Kristine Chew, Kristy Boyes, Leah Sandhu, Lisa Mackie, Lisa Weich, Lois Patterson, Maggie Knowlan, Malise Wong, Marcus Patz, Margaret Hall, Martin Bauer, May Lee, Megan Stewart, Michael Fulton, Michelle Stimac, Mike Barrenger, Nadja Rence, Patrick Aubert, Paula Burgerjon, Priscilla Chong, Raissa Dickinson, Reiko West, Rob Allan, Samantha Weng, Sebastian Ennis, Sergio Ortega Huerta, Setareh Javadi, Sharon MacMillan, Talman Rodocker, Tanya Saito, Thai MacDonald, Tracy Lee, Valerie Vojnic, Wendy Harrison, Zachary Froese

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