We offer clients in Northwestern Ontario a unique focus on criminal and regulatory defence, appeals of indictable and summary conviction offences, and immigration law.
We are trusted professional advisors. Drawing on years of courtroom experience, we guide our clients through the legal process with care and skill.
We are dedicated advocates. We approach each step in our clients’ cases, each court appearance, and each legal argument with exceptional preparation and diligence.
We are committed to Northwestern Ontario. We chose to practise law in Thunder Bay, our hometown, after years training and working alongside talented litigators in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.
It is our privilege to serve the diverse people and communities of the Northwest.
Kevin and Jennifer are independent lawyers
who practise in association, not in partnership.
AREAS OF PRACTICE
Defence to Criminal Charges
We represent people facing all types of criminal charges, including assaults, driving charges, drug charges, customs charges, and fraud. We conduct bail hearings, guilty pleas, trials and sentencing in all courts. We defend young people charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. We offer advice at all stages of criminal proceedings, including during an investigation and before charges are laid. We are guided in our practice by the conviction that everyone charged with a criminal offence has the right to the best defence.
Defence to Regulatory Charges
We represent individuals charged with regulatory offences under any legislation, including offences under the Highway Traffic Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. We have experience advising, advocating for, and guiding people charged with a variety of offences through the process in pursuit of a positive result.
We take on appeals for people already convicted of offences, including summary conviction appeals to the Superior Court of Justice, and indictable appeals to the Ontario Court of Appeal. We can seek bail pending appeal for individuals convicted of criminal offences and sentenced to custody, and we can ask appeal courts to stay other punishments imposed by sentencing courts. Appeals are time-sensitive, so it is best to contact us as soon as possible after conviction to discuss your options.
Immigration, Refugee and Customs Law
We represent people inside and outside Canada who want to apply for status here, who want to sponsor family members living abroad, who want to apply for citizenship, or who need help resolving inadmissibility issues. We complete applications and can advise on complicated situations. If you are a non-citizen facing a criminal charge, we can advise you on the immigration consequences of a conviction. We represent people in Federal Court who want to challenge a government decision denying them immigration status or citizenship. We can also advise on border and customs issues, including seizures under proceeds of crime legislation.
With our background in criminal trials and administrative law, we are well positioned to assist professionals facing college investigations or hearings for allegations of misconduct or unethical behaviour. We understand the importance of skilled and attentive counsel when your reputation and ability to practise your profession is at stake.
Kevin is a committed defence lawyer who takes pride in representing people who find themselves charged with criminal offences. In his twelve years of practice, he has argued countless successful trials and hearings. He understands the criminal justice system from both sides, having worked as a defence lawyer and as a prosecutor.
Kevin received his law degree from the University of Manitoba in 2005 and was called to the bar in 2006. He was trained by some of Canada’s most respected criminal lawyers, many of whom are now judges. He has worked in Manitoba, and practised in Ottawa, St. Catharines, Thunder Bay and across Northern Ontario. Over the past six years, he has appeared daily in courts around Northwestern Ontario, including circuit courts in remote communities.
Kevin regularly represents people charged with a variety of criminal offences including, for example, dangerous driving causing death, serious assaults, impaired driving, theft, fraud, break and enter, and human trafficking. As a former federal prosecutor, Kevin has extensive knowledge of drug and customs prosecutions, and significant experience with applications to challenge search warrants. Kevin has also defended regulatory charges, including charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Kevin is recognized as a leader in Thunder Bay’s criminal defence bar, and has acted as a sessional instructor in criminal law at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law. He is a director of the Thunder Bay Law Association and a member of the Criminal Law Association and the Canadian Bar Association. He is also a director on the board of the George Jeffrey Children’s Centre Foundation.
* denotes professional corporation
Jennifer Dagsvik is a versatile advocate who practises criminal defence, appeals, immigration and refugee law. She completed her law degree at the University of British Columbia in 2005 and received a number of awards for academic achievement. She was called to the bar in 2007, after clerking for five judges at the British Columbia Supreme Court.
Jennifer spent most of her career as counsel for the Department of Justice in Toronto and Vancouver. She acted for the federal government at appeal courts and at the Supreme Court of Canada. She regularly argued judicial review applications and advised decision-makers and senior officials on immigration, refugee, parole and police law. In Thunder Bay, Jennifer acted as an agent prosecutor for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, focusing on drug and customs charges.
In her criminal practice, Jennifer represents young people and adults charged with offences, with a particular focus on appeals in summary conviction and indictable offences. Jennifer also advises people dealing with issues related to criminal charges, including seizures under proceeds of crime legislation, parole, treatment in prison, and immigration status.
In her immigration and refugee practice, Jennifer represents people seeking status in Canada, applying for citizenship, or needing to resolve inadmissibility issues. When the government denies an application, she can represent individuals challenging such a decision in Federal Court. She is also involved in Thunder Bay’s refugee sponsorship community as a founding member of the Hillcrest Refugee Sponsors.
Jennifer is passionate about advocacy. She teaches legal research and writing and leads civil practice trial advocacy workshops at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law. She is a member of the Advocates’ Society, Canadian Bar Association’s Immigration Law Section, the Refugee Lawyers Association, the Thunder Bay Law Association, and the Thunder Bay chapter of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF).
Amy graduated from the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law with first class standing in May 2019 and was called to the bar in September 2019.
Before studying law, Amy completed an undergraduate degree in psychology at Lakehead University, and an honours degree in science at Acadia University. Thunder Bay is Amy’s hometown, and after having spent time away, she was eager to return.
Amy practises all aspects of criminal defence law. She developed her skills as an advocate at Bora Laskin’s legal clinic and as a practice placement student at Matthews Dagsvik Law. She has appeared for clients in provincial offences court, the Ontario Court of Justice for criminal matters, Small Claims Court and the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Amy is a member of the Criminal Lawyers Association and Thunder Bay Law Association. She is an active volunteer with Thunder Bay Youth Justice Committee Program.
Amy has been with Matthews Dagsvik since January 2019 and is committed to representing those who bring Northwestern Ontario to life.
Sherry Abotossaway – “Nimkii Kwe” – grew up on Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation on Manitoulin Island, but has established roots in Thunder Bay over the past 18 years. She graduated from the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law in the fall of 2018 and was called to the Ontario bar in June 2019.
Prior to attending law school, Sherry attended Laurentian University and obtained an Honours degree in Native Human Services. The impetus for her shift from social work into law was her desire for social justice advocacy and her compassion for the struggles of other Indigenous peoples. Sherry has a desire to help anyone in need and recently committed two weeks of tireless work in the Ontario Court of Justice assisting defendants impacted by the onset of COVID-19 that otherwise wouldn’t have had timely legal assistance.
Sherry practices mainly criminal defence law. To date, most of her experience lies in the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice, representing clients in all of Northwestern Ontario, including remote First Nations. Sherry has gained valuable experience assisting counsel on serious murder files and was an active team member on a recent Dangerous Offender Application. She has also represented clients in provincial offences court, at the Landlord and Tenant Board, and with consent and capacity hearings.
Currently, Sherry is on a two-year term representing lawyers on the Criminal Lawyers Association – Recent Call Committee. She is a member the Indigenous Bar Association, the Criminal Lawyers Association, the Defence Counsel Association of Thunder Bay and the Thunder Bay Law Association.
Sherry proudly began her legal career as a sole practitioner operating Abotossaway Law. Her law firm practises in association with Matthews Dagsvik Law.
8A Cumberland St N, Ste 210
Thunder Bay, ON P7A 4L1
After Hours: 807-476-0744
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