Our Team

DONALD E. WORME, Q.C., I.P.C.
he/him
Senior Partner

Donald E. Worme, a Cree lawyer from the Kawacatoose First Nation, Treaty Four, Saskatchewan, is one of the leading advocates in the province for human rights, criminal law and treaty litigation.

Mr. Worme graduated with his Bachelor of Laws in 1985 from the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan. He articled with the Federal Department of Justice in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, prosecuting federal offences and received his call to the bar in 1986. He continues to practice law at Semaganis Worme Lombard in Saskatoon as well as through his national affiliation with the Indigenous Law Group, who has offices in Ontario and British Columbia.

Mr. Worme is a founding member of the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada, a national advocacy group comprising Indigenous lawyers, judges and law students, where he served as president from 1990 to 1992. Mr. Worme has also been a vocal member of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal since 2001.

Mr. Worme has served on several Judicial Commissions of Inquiry in various capacities including:

  • representing Sandra Paquachon in the 1995 Commission of Inquiry into Certain Events at The Prison For Women in Kingston, Ontario;
  • acting as lead counsel to the family of Neil Stonechild in the 2002 Judicial Inquiry into the Saskatoon Police Service’s involvement with the teen’s freezing death in Saskatchewan;
  • acting as Commission Counsel during the 2004 Ipperwash Judicial Inquiry in Ontario, which looked into the killing of the unarmed Indigenous land protester Dudley George;
  • acting on behalf of the Assembly of First Nations in the 2009 Oppal Commission in Vancouver, British Columbia, which examined the critical issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls; and
  • serving as Lead Commission Counsel for the 2010 Truth & Reconciliation Commission, which over its six-year mandate examined the 150-year legacy of the Indian Residential School experience in Canada and its devastating aftermath.

As part of the 100th anniversary of the University of Saskatchewan, Mr. Worme was included in the list of the university’s Top 100 Alumni of Influence. In 2010 he was awarded a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for his longstanding commitment to Aboriginal justice in Canada.

Mr. Worme is involved in the historic Robinson Treaties litigation taking place in Ontario, which seeks to compel the Crown to live up to the treaty promises and to renew the treaty relationship between the Lake Huron treaty signatories and the federal and provincial governments.

Consistently named as a Lexpert-ranked lawyer for his work in Indigenous law in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, Mr. Worme received his Queen’s Counsel appointment in 2002 and his Indigenous People’s Counsel designation in 2006 in recognition of his service to Indigenous peoples and the Creator. (Lexpert® is Canada’s leading source of news and information about the business of law.)

Education and professional affiliations:

Queen’s Counsel designation, 2002

Indigenous People’s Council, 2006

Indigenous Bar Association of Canada, Founding Member, 1988

Law Society of Saskatchewan, 1986

University of Saskatchewan, LL.B., 1985

Helen G. Semaganis, Q.C., I.P.C.
she/her
Managing Partner

Helen G. Semaganis is a member of the Poundmaker Cree Nation in the province of Saskatchewan. She is the proud mother of five children and is an avid long-distance runner. She is a member in good standing with the Law Society of Saskatchewan, and has held this standing since September 1996. Her law practice is focused on family, child welfare, wills & estates and employment law, with an emphasis on service to First Nations individuals and organizations. She has eight years of experience as an Adjudicator. She is grounded in the oral history of Treaty Six and the knowledge of her traditional Cree culture. She has been the managing partner of the law firm Semaganis Worme for approximately 15 years.

Experience:

  • 2009–2016: Full-time adjudicator with the Independent Assessment Process, Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. General Counsel on matters involving child welfare, family, employment and estates law.
  • 2007–2009: Legal Counsel representing Claimants in the Alternative Dispute Resolution IRS Claims Process; she settled approximately 50 individual claims and one group of 60 claims.
  • 1996–2009: Full-time legal practice in the areas of Child Welfare, Family Law, Wills, Estates and Employment Law.
  • 1998–2000: Lead Negotiator, Treaty Governance Process, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.
  • 1996–1997: National Researcher on Indian child welfare legislation and policy, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.
  • Director of Operations & Personnel, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.
Community Involvement: 

In addition to practicing law full time over the past 22 years, Ms. Semaganis has remained active in her community and has committed her time to the following accomplishments:

  • 2014–2017: Member of National Advisory Committee, Centre of Excellence for Matrimonial Real Property on Reserves
  • 2013–2014: Supervising Lawyer on two projects dealing with First Nations Child Welfare issues, Pro Bono Students Canada
  • 2010–2011: National Advisory Committee Member, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Pathways to Reconciliation Project
  • 1996–2005: Member of the Board of Directors of Indigenous Bar Association of Canada.
  • 1996–2003: Past President and Board Member of the E. Fry Society, Saskatoon
  • 1998–2000: Member of the Board of Directors of United Way, Saskatoon
  • 1997–1999: Member of the Medical Ethics Committee, Saskatoon District Health Board
Publications:

“First Thoughts on First Nations Citizenship”, Co-authored in Yvonne M. Hebert (ed.), Citizenship in Transformation in Canada, University of Toronto Press, 2002

Education and professional affiliations:

Queen’s Counsel designation, 2020

Indigenous Peoples Council, 2020

Indigenous Bar Association of Canada, 1996

Law Society of Saskatchewan, 1996

University of Saskatchewan, LL.B., 1995

University of Saskatchewan, B.A., 1993

Alisa R. Lombard, B.S.Sc., LL.L., L.L.B.
she/her
Partner

Alisa R. Lombard is fluent in a few languages, and provides legal services in English, French, and Spanish. She is a published bi-jural lawyer with extensive experience in complex legal and policy issues relating to Indigenous-Crown relations and reconciliation in national and international forums. After completing a clerkship with the Specific Claims Tribunal, Ms. Lombard was called to the Ontario Bar in 2011 and is also a member of the Saskatchewan Bar.

Ms. Lombard was senior legal counsel to the Specific Claims Tribunal in Ottawa since it first began. She worked on over 70 specific claims and advised the Tribunal’s Members—sitting Superior Court Judges—on the design and use of regulatory and other processes undertaken to resolve the claims. In this capacity, she acquired a unique expertise in the layered legal intersection between fiduciary law, constitutional law and Aboriginal law. Ms. Lombard was co-counsel on Canada v. Kitselas, 2014 at the Federal Court of Appeal where the Tribunal’s standard of review on judicial review was established and its powers confirmed. Ms. Lombard contributed to materials developed for judicial education, the Tribunal’s mandated five-year review of its enabling legislation and the Tribunal’s trial decision in Williams Lake Indian Band v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2014, which was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in Williams Lake Indian Band v. Canada, 2018, wherein the Tribunal’s expertise and specialized nature were confirmed.

Ms. Lombard has been involved in and acted for many First Nations in a variety of complex, specific claims including pre- and post-confederate illegal reserve land takings, various breaches of fiduciary obligations, mismanagement of Indian monies and assets, Crown failures to uphold Treaty promises and to create reserves.

Ms. Lombard is lead counsel on a proposed class action pertaining to the forced sterilization of Indigenous women in Saskatchewan. For her advocacy in this matter, she was recognized in “Chatelaine’s Women of the Year 2018”.

Ms. Lombard has appeared before levels of courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, administrative Tribunals and international committees and commissions, including the United Nations Committee Against Torture and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. In 2019, Ms. Lombard was nominated for the “International Bar Association Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Legal Practitioner to Human Rights” by her peers at the International Justice Resource Center, in San Francisco, California.

Ms. Lombard is currently pursuing a masters in health law at the University of Ottawa, with an emphasis on policy and ethics. Ms. Lombard is a devoted citizen of the Mi’kmaq Nation (Elsipogtog First Nation).

Publications:

“Coerced and forced sterilization of Indigenous women and girls: This is what genocide looks like in Canada” (Alisa Lombard and Samir Shaheen-Hussain, Toronto Star, March 9, 2021)

“The specific claims process is about justice for First Nations, not charity” (Alisa Lombard and Aubrey Charette, CBC News, July 11, 2018)

“Specific Claims Adjudication Processes and Cultural Diversity: Reconciling Societal Traditions” (Canadian Journal of Administrative Law & Practice, Thomson Reuters, June 2016)

Education and Professional Affiliations:

National Association of Women and the Law, Board member, 2021

University of Ottawa, LLM: Health Law Policy and Ethics (2021 Candidate)

Law Society of Saskatchewan, 2017

Law Society of Ontario, 2011

Clerkship, Specific Claims Tribunal (Office of the Chairperson), 2010-2011

Indigenous Bar Association of Canada, 2009

University of Ottawa, LL.B. (JD), 2009

University of Ottawa, LL.L., 2006

University of Ottawa, B.S.Sc., (concentration in criminology), 2002

Aubrey Charette, M.A. Oxon, LL.B., B.C.L.
she/her
Counsel

Aubrey Charette is a bijural, Oxford-educated lawyer with expertise in corporate law and First Nations legal, governance and economic development matters. She was first called to the bar in New York in 2010, where she spent several years at a large law firm representing Fortune 500 companies and advising corporate clients on regulatory and bankruptcy issues.

Since then, Ms. Charette has worked at the Specific Claims Tribunal and directly for First Nations on a range of matters, including on specific claims, First Nations governance, and civil litigation. She has also acted as corporate counsel for First Nations and First Nation entities, developed First Nations laws on consultation with industry and matrimonial real property, and advised on a range of governance and economic development issues from both a legal and economic perspective. She has lectured at the University of Manitoba and the University of Saskatchewan, works as an adviser for Indigenous female entrepreneurs in conjunction with the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and undertakes a range of pro bono work on behalf of Indigenous women and youth.

Ms. Charette worked for several years in economic development for the United Nations and First Nations across Canada. She is a proud member of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation.

Education and Professional Affiliations:

Indigenous Bar Association, 2015

Law Society of Ontario, 2015

New York Bar membership, 2011

McGill University, LL.B., B.C.L., 2010

University of Oxford, M.A. Hons (Politics & Economics), 2004

University of Oxford, B.A. Hons (Politics & Economics), 2002

Mark Ebert, M.A., Ph.D., LL.M., J.D.
he/him
Associate

Mark Ebert has been working with Indigenous peoples for 20 years during his time as an anthropologist and now as a lawyer. He has had the good fortune of working with some of the top minds in the two fields, both in and out of academia. He is an award-winning professor, grant recipient, a published author, and has presented his work internationally. He is also the first individual to directly enter the LLM program at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law. His LLM thesis focused on developing a trans-systemic framework for Aboriginal rights. Mark has also run his own consulting business and was a Visiting Scholar at the Wiyasiwewin Mikiwahp Native Law Centre.

Mr. Ebert was called to the Saskatchewan Bar in December 2018. His primary interests in his practice are Aboriginal and Treaty rights, the environment and land, and he enjoys a variety of other topics.

Education and Professional Affiliations:

Law Society of Saskatchewan, 2019

University of British Columbia, Juris Doctor (specialization in Aboriginal Law), 2017

University of Saskatchewan, LLM, 2013

University of Aberdeen, PhD, 2006

University of Alberta, MA, 2001

University of Saskatchewan, BA (Honours), 1999

Kelly J. Serbu, B.A., LL.B., Q.C.
he/him
Counsel

Kelly J. Serbu is Metis and has been a practicing lawyer since 1997. He is licensed to practice law in both Nova Scotia and Ontario. Mr. Serbu was an Adjudicator with the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat from 2008 to 2019. In 2015, he evaluated claims in the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children Class Action Settlement, and in the same year was appointed by the Federal Government to be a Part-Time Commissioner with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) in Ottawa. In 2017, he was appointed to the Queen’s Counsel by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Nova Scotia. Most recently, from 2017 to 2020, Mr. Serbu was Senior Counsel working with the Honorable Michel Bastarache, C.C., Q.C., assessing claims by women who worked for the RCMP and were subjected to gender-based discrimination, harassment and bullying under the Merlo Davidson Class Action Settlement Agreement. Mr. Serbu is also a member of several Canadian and international professional associations and has been a presenter at numerous conferences and seminars.

Education and Professional Affiliations:

Canadian Bar Association, Nova Scotia Branch

Indigenous Bar Association, 2019

Queen’s Counsel designation, 2017

Defense Counsel Association of Ottawa, 2016

Law Society of Upper Canada Bar on September 22, 2016

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (USA), 2011

Council of Canadian Administrative Tribunals, 2011

International Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, March 2007

Atlantic Province Trial Lawyers Association, 2001 to 2004, and 2010 to 2012, 2021

International Criminal Bar, 2003-2004

Nova Scotia Criminal Lawyers Association, 1997

Dalhousie University, LL.B., 1996

Rheana E. Worme, B. Comm., J.D.
she/her
Student-at-Law

Rheana Worme is a Student-at-Law at Semaganis Worme Lombard. She is a proud member of Kawacatoose First Nation. She graduated from Edwards School of Business with a Commerce degree in marketing in 2017 and received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Saskatchewans’ College of Law in 2020. As a law student, Ms. Worme demonstrated a keen interest in Aboriginal law, partaking in the Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot (court) in 2019. Rheana also completed an intensive clinical law program at Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City Inc. (CLASSIC) in 2020, which gave her the opportunity to work in a community-driven, client-centered poverty law clinic for one semester. Throughout her time as a student Ms. Worme also demonstrated strong leadership skills, serving as the Indigenous Law Students’ Association (ILSA) President for two years. During her tenure she oversaw new fundraising and networking events for ILSA, launched the student bodies’ revised logo, as well as facilitated multiple donations to Indigenous communities affected by Covid-19. Of Ms. Worme’s favorite student events was when she facilitated a meeting between ILSA student body and the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould in 2018. She also served as co-chair at the Indigenous Bar Associations’ annual conference, hosted in Saskatoon in 2018.

Ms. Worme also served as the program leader for the Indigenous Youth Outreach Program of LEVEL Justice for three years. In that role she organized volunteers, law students, and lawyers to teach a grade 6/7 classroom in Saskatoon’s inner-city about the law. She prepared the young students to run their own mock trial, providing them with an opportunity to interact with and better understand the justice system. Because of her outstanding community involvement, the College of Law nominated Ms. Worme for the Ted and Helen Hughes Prize for Excellence, awarded for academic achievement and involvement with Indigenous children and youth in the law in 2019.

Education and Professional Affiliations:

Law Society of Saskatchewan, 2020

Canadian Bar Association, 2020

Indigenous Bar Association, 2017

University of Saskatchewan, Juris Doctor, 2020

University of Saskatchewan, Bachelor of Commerce, 2017