Stacey Jessiman, JD, LLM 

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Working at leading firms in Canada, the US and France during the past 25 years, Stacey has helped global and local companies, Indigenous communities and their business groups, and governments and entrepreneurs achieve intelligent solutions in business, economic development, dispute resolution, cultural and intellectual property, and Aboriginal and Indigenous law matters.   


Stacey helps clients across Canada create corporate structures and policies and commercial agreements that fit their specific business and community needs, foster productive business relationships, and advance economic reconciliation. As part of that work, she assists clients with carefully analysing and optimizing management practices to support sustainable economic development. She also assists clients with crafting laws, policies, treaty provisions and agreements governing the protection of cultural and intellectual property and the return of art and cultural material.


Working previously at international law firms in New York and Paris, Stacey assisted Fortune 500 clients with mergers and acquisitions and securities issuances, and acted as counsel in international commercial arbitrations and mediations relating to energy, construction, mining and IP disputes.


Stacey also has created and taught courses at Stanford Law School and in Stanford's Native American Studies, Art History and Global Studies departments that examine issues surrounding illicit trade and protection of art and Indigenous cultural heritage, including tribal, domestic and international legal and ethical frameworks such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Her courses bring into the classroom the voices and perspectives of renowned Indigenous and museum experts from around the world. Her research and teaching have contributed to her broad understanding of issues arising in repatriation/ restitution matters and the development of a specific process based on Relationship Building for resolving these disputes.

Through her background as a practitioner and academic, Stacey has developed a holistic approach to helping clients handle complex legal, ethical, historical, cultural, financial and organizational issues within their business and government relationships and dispute resolution processes.


Stacey holds BA degrees in Art History (Hons) and International Relations from Stanford University, a Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto, and an LLM degree from the University of British Columbia. She completed advanced mediation training at Harvard Law School and has designed and led Alternative Dispute Resolution seminars. From 2012-2014, Stacey was a Visiting Student Researcher at the Stanford Archaeology Center, and in 2015/16 was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford Law School. Stacey is a frequent speaker at international conferences on cultural heritage and dispute resolution issues.


Stacey is a member of the BC, Ontario and New York Bars and is fluent in French.


Representative Experience:

Business and Economic Development


  • Created business and economic development entities, including corporations, societies, joint ventures, LPs and LLPs, and related documents including shareholder agreements and corporate governance policies

  • Developed agreements between First Nations and their economic development subsidiaries creating clarity around profit distribution and governance matters and helping separate business from politics

  • Assisted an Indigenous economic development corporation with acquiring 100% ownership of a financial software subsidiary

  • Advised an Indigenous engineering firm on creating joint ventures that meet PSAB program requirements 

  • Assisted an agricultural industry client with joint venture and revenue sharing agreements 

  • Advised a BC First Nation on Financial Administration Laws and Finance Policies

  • Worked on an Ecotourism Revenue Sharing Agreement for a BC First Nation

  • Assisted Fortune 500 companies with mergers and acquisitions and securities issuances

  • Assisted a French global fashion house with its retail business in Asia

  • Worked on the corporate aspects of a leading Canadian insurance company’s demutualization

  • Worked as in-house counsel for a B2B e-commerce company

  • Acted as counsel for several human rights and arts-related non-profit organizations


Negotiation/Dispute Resolution


  • Helped clients in France, the United States and Canada resolve international commercial disputes in the energy, construction and IP sectors through mediation and arbitration, under a variety of institutional rules

  • Negotiated a memorandum of understanding and purchase and sale agreement on behalf of a First Nation relating to purchase of traditional territory from a Crown Corporation

  • Negotiated accommodation agreements with Crown Corporations on behalf of First Nations

  • Developed innovative reconciliation agreements between First Nations, educational institutions and municipal governments relating to educational, financial, cultural and land and resource use and management issues

  • Assisted a BC First Nation with negotiating an Enduring Relationship Agreement with a BC Crown Corporation and related trust matters

  • Assisted family of renowned artist with return of works from a gallery 


Art, Heritage and Intellectual Property


  • Assisted Indigenous clients with protecting their traditional knowledge and other Indigenous intellectual property rights in agreements with industry and government partners, and through community heritage policies

  • Negotiated culture and heritage-related treaty provisions that further reconciliation and enforce cultural rights affirmed in UNDRIP and Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report

  • Assisted clients with copyright and trademark registrations

  • Provided provenance research and collections management advice to a leading university

  • Advised tribal and state government agencies on matters relating to international repatriation of Indigenous cultural material

  • Advised a South American federal government on amendments to its heritage laws

Speaking Engagements


  • 'Understanding the Link between Economic Reconciliation and Repatriation', Invited Lecture, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, International Art World Law & Ethics course, London, England, March 8, 2022.

  • 'Economic Reconciliation – Working in and Shifting a Colonial Framework', Canadian Bar Association- BC Branch Webinar with Cheryl Brooks, September 30, 2021.

  • 'Discovering the Economic Potential of UNDRIP', Invited Lecture, BC Economic Development Association Summit, with Gwen Bridge and Carla Guerrera, Kelowna, Canada, March 10, 2020.

  • 'Developing an International Process for Resolving Indigenous Heritage Repatriation Disputes', Invited Lecture, UBC-EMRIP Conference, Vancouver, Canada, March 5, 2020.

  • ‘How to Advance Economic Reconciliation through Partnership Agreements’, Advanced Business Match Prairies conference, Regina, Canada, February 27, 2019.

  • ‘Drafting and Negotiating Agreements with Project Partners: Principles to Consider for Non-Legal Professionals’, Western Indigenous Consultation and Engagement conference, Canadian Institute, Edmonton, Canada, February 19, 2019.

  • Chair of panel discussion on ‘What Tribes Need from the Federal Government to Best Protect Indigenous Cultural Heritage’, Association on American Indian Affairs 4th Annual Repatriation Conference, Milwaukee, USA, November 15, 2018.

  • ‘Sustainable Indigenous Economic Development: Key Concepts and Best Practices’, Lunch & Learn Series Lecture, JFK Law Corporation, Victoria, Canada, May 8, 2018.

  • ‘Healing through Cultural Recovery and Sustainable Economic Development’, Invited Lecture and Panel Discussion on “Recovery and Renewal from New Orleans to Jalisco”, Institute for Diversity in the Arts, Stanford University, May 2, 2018.

  • ‘Jewish and Indigenous Looted Treasures: Comparing Legal and Ethical Approaches to Provenance Research and Restitution’, Invited Lecture, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, February 8, 2018.

  • ‘Implementing UNDRIP’, Lunch and Learn Series Lecture, JFK Law Corporation, Victoria, Canada, December 14, 2017.

  • ‘A Distinct Approach for Resolving Indigenous Cultural Heritage Disputes’, Lecture at the ‘Human Rights and Cultural Heritage: A New Paradigm’ conference at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, USA, November 2, 2017.

  • ‘The Inevitable Future of the Indigenous cultural heritage repatriation movement in Canada’, Lecture at the CASCA/IUAES Annual Conference, Ottawa, Canada, May 5, 2017.

  • ‘Update on the most important current Indigenous peoples issues in Canada & the US’, Lecture and Co-Chair of panel discussion at the Lawyers Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation Annual Conference, Washington, DC, March 10, 2017.

  • ‘The Destruction of Memory’ film screening and Chair of panel discussion on cultural genocide with director Tim Slade, Stanford history professor and genocide expert Norman Naimark and international criminal and human rights lawyer Sareta Ashraph, Stanford University, USA, March 6, 2017. ‘Why Stealing the Sacred Failed to Conquer Indigenous Nations in Canada’, Lecture as part of the ‘Stealing the Sacred to Conquer Nations’ Panel at New York University’s Art and Cultural Heritage Crime Symposium, New York, USA, November 2, 2016.

  • ‘Cultural Heritage Repatriation as a Means of Restorative Justice, Identity Affirmation and Cultural Reinvigoration for Aboriginal Peoples in Canada’, Lecture at the International Association of Genocide Scholars Annual Conference, Winnipeg, Canada, July 17, 2014.

  • ‘Understanding Indigenous Cultural Heritage Repatriation Disputes’, Stanford Archaeology Center Workshop Series Lecture, Stanford University, USA, January 23, 2014.

  • ‘Museums as Opponents and Proponents of Aboriginal Culture and Identity’, Lecture at the Conference of the Law and Society Associations of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Vancouver, Canada, July 3, 2013.

  • ‘Duress in the Removal of Cultural Artefacts from First Nations in Canada’, Lecture at the Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, York, England, March 27, 2013.

  • ‘The G’psgolox Pole as Involuntary Mediator between Colonized and Colonizer Cultures’, Lecture at the British Museum/UCL Symposium on “The In-betweenness of Things”, London, England, March 23, 2013. ‘Grave Problems? The Meaning of the Marpole Midden Protest and Ruling for Sustainable Development of Historic Urban Landscapes in British

  • Columbia’, Lecture at the Stanford-France Conference on ‘The Conservation of Urban Landscapes & Sustainable Development’, Stanford Archaeology Center, Stanford University, USA, March 7, 2013.

  • ‘Decolonizing the Canadian Museum of Civilization: Barriers and Possibilities’, Lunch Club Series Lecture at the Stanford Archaeology Center, Stanford University, USA, November 14, 2012.

  • ‘Resolving Indigenous Cultural Heritage Disputes: Issues to Consider’, Lecture at the Canadian Council on International Law Annual Conference, Ottawa, Canada, November 4, 2011.





Professional Association Memberships


  • Canadian Bar Association

  • American Bar Association

  • Court of Arbitration for Art (Mediator and Arbitrator Panel Member)

  • CBABC Truth and Reconciliation Advocacy Committee

  • Lawyers Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation (Advocacy Committee)


What Stacey's clients say

"Stacey has provided our organization with invaluable advice. Whether reviewing simple contracts or negotiating complex partnership agreements, she makes sure that we understand our obligations and that our needs are met."

"Stacey is kind, approachable, and easy to work with. She is skilled at mediating collaborative, win-win solutions, but is also fierce and formidable when we need her to fight on our behalf." 

"Working with Stacey is like having our own, in-house legal team. She understands our company's vision and goals, and she is mindful of our corporate values in all of her recommendations."

"What I love about Stacey is she’s ethical, dedicated and an advocate for Indigenous rights. She’s kind, professional, principled and considerate, but make no mistake, she is also passionate. Witnessing her argue the legality of an issue with someone woefully mismatched against her is truly awesome. Stacey’s skills and abilities advising on corporate structures, and attending documents and regulations, roles, responsibilities and obligations, shed light on matters that need to be clearly understood for a business to thrive. I’d recommend Stacey to any Indigenous entity to address governance and corporate legal matters."

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