Photo of Sheila M. MacPherson

Sheila M. MacPherson

  • Krista Quinn
  • Legal Assistant
  • P: 867.669.5500



Best Lawyers Award Badge

Sheila is the most senior civil litigator in our Yellowknife office. She has experience in all levels of court in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut and has appeared before a number of boards and tribunals. She routinely advises and represents both the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Nunavut on legal issues before courts. She is presently the Law Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

Sheila has considerable experience in the area of parliamentary privilege, legislative drafting and interpretation and constitutional law, much of that arising out of her experience with the Legislative Assembly stemming back to 1988. She has advised, and continues to advise, a number of boards with respect to their legal obligations. She is counsel for the Government of the NWT and the Government of Nunavut on child protection cases and, as such, appears before the Courts of both jurisdictions on these matters on a regular basis.

Recognition and Ranking

  • Best Lawyers in Canada: recognized for Family and Personal Injury Litigation law
  • 2017 Lexpert Zenith Award: Recognized for the advancement of women in the legal profession
  • Chambers Canada 2017: recognized in the General Business Law: Canadian North and Arctic (Canada) category
  • Fellow of The Litigation Counsel of America

Professional Activities

  • Named to the Advisory Board tasked with selecting a Supreme Court of Canada Justice in 2017.
  • Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (April 2015)
  • 2nd Vice President, Federation of Law Societies of Canada 
  • Association of Parliamentary Counsel in Canada, President (August 2011)
  • Law Society of the Northwest Territories, President (2010 to 2011)
  • Law Society of the Northwest Territories, Member, Discipline Committee (1998 to 2009)
  • Law Society of the Northwest Territories, Member, Admissions Committee (1990-93 and 1998 to 2009)
  • Canadian Bar Association - 1988 to present, Member
  • Law Society of the Northwest Territories, Member of the Executive (1993-1997 and 2009 to 2011)
  • Law Society of the Northwest Territories, President (1997)
  • CBA subsection on Family law, past Vice Chair
  • Project Law Blog, Contributor

Community Activities

  • Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation (2006 to 2009)
  • Legal Services Board of the NWT (2002 to 2009)
  • Yellowknife Day Care Society (2001 to 2007)

Bar Admissions

  • Northwest Territories (1988)
  • Nunavut (1999)


  • Carleton University (BA. Honours, 1982)
  • Dalhousie University (LL.B., 1987)
  • Presently Law Clerk to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories (September 2008)
  • Acted as Deputy Law Clerk (1988-1990) and Law Clerk (1990-2000) to the Legislative Assembly
  • Has (and continues to) act as counsel on matters involving constitutional challenges in the area of child protection legislation and disability issues
  • Acted as legal counsel in numerous cases involving issues of parliamentary privilege and parliamentary law
  • Significant practice in acting as counsel for the Director of Child and Family Services for both the NWT and Nunavut on matters relating to child protection proceedings
  • Counsel to the Nunavut Planning Commission on matters relating to legislation and administrative law issues
  • Has extensive experience in the realm of litigation involving same sex rights
  • Has extensive experience acting in the area of custom adoption and private adoptions

Sheila has extensive experience in organizing and delivering the NWT Intensive Trial Advocacy Program (2007, 2009 and now 2011) as well as being a guest instructor at the Legal Education Society of Alberta's Trial Advocacy Program (2007, 2007) in Calgary. The Program is a five day program of very intense advocacy training for junior lawyers.