Working with Rob leaves a strong and lasting impact.
Here’s what Rob’s clients and peers have said about his leadership, strategic perspective and ability to get things done.
Rob Botterell managed the most thorough and effective process of public consultation I have ever witnessed.Read more →
Rob’s capacity margins are very wide. He is very bold, brave and quite strategic. Rob is someone that is able to grab your attention and hold it. Before you know it, he is leading the way.Read more →
He’s one of those people out in front of everyone else saying ‘this is where we need to go’ - and it’s not because it makes sense, but because we have to at a moral and ethic standpoint.Read more →
Principal, McCullough Research
I have worked with Rob Botterell on a number of projects and have found him forceful, incisive, indefatigable, persuasive, and resourceful. These are high compliments and not lightly earned.
In one project, Rob Botterell directed a team to represent an aboriginal group in a ten-billion-dollar development project. The energy project started with an intense negotiation that established the aboriginal group as equals in the development process and delivered very significant funding. Next steps included environmental, financing, land use, governmental relations, and continuing policy advice.
In a second project, Rob was the lead in an extensive regulatory litigation with political, public relations, and technical aspects. He was able to promote the interests of a small client to the foremost role of all of the parties in a twelve-billion-dollar case. His clients were recognized as central players in this complex case and received substantial recognition at all levels ranging from provincial government to the national press.
In energy law it is critical for the lawyer to be able to understand the pivotal issues and communicate his understanding of them ably. Rob excels in this role. He also is a tenacious negotiator who can use his command of the issues to gain significant leverage for his clients.
His leadership abilities in managing the project team are excellent. Most negotiations are settled long after exhaustion has set in on both sides of the negotiating table. He shines at these moments, keeping morale high, and setting the best standards and expectations for his team members.
Former Chief of Tsawwassen First Nation
When I was Chief of Tsawwassen, Rob played a pivotal role in our treaty negotiations by negotiating the protection of critical provincial lands beside our former reserve so they would be available for the Tsawwassen Treaty. Since then our paths have crossed on several occasions including collaborating on complex issues for other First Nations.
Rob is masterful at pulling together and leading a multidisciplinary team to tackle complex issues facing indigenous governments and their membership in the areas of economic development, land protection, social development, housing, resource development and Governance.
Rob’s determination to see an issue through from broad concept to ensuring the finest details are implemented is remarkable and ensures success. Problem-solving is in Rob’s DNA. If you have a big intractable issue requiring multi-party engagement, creative solutions, and strong negotiation and team leadership skills, I highly recommend Rob.
Former Chief of Cowichan Tribes
When I was Chief of Cowichan Tribes, Rob was our legal counsel. He successfully protected and advanced Cowichan Tribes indigenous rights and title in a complex, multi-government environment in accord with Cowichan culture and protocols. Projects included protecting the sacred Hw’te shutsun area from a proposed garbage dump, securing a gaming centre for our reserve, a $25 million program to tackle mould in our housing, attending at the United Nations to press our case for Aboriginal Title, and laying the foundation for Ts’i’ts’uwatul’lelum, the first provincially funded assisted living complex on our lands.
Rob is a master at strategic multilateral negotiations and community engagement on major issues. These skills coupled with his insightful advice contributed in a major way to the definition and achievement of Cowichan’s strategic direction.
If you are looking for a lawyer and negotiator to protect and advance your interests on a major issue, I highly recommend Rob.
CAO, City of Terrace
As the CAO for the City of Terrace I had the opportunity to work closely with Rob Botterell during the establishment of the Northwest BC Resource Benefits Alliance (RBA) and for several years after as the RBA project continued. The City of Terrace is one of 21 members of the RBA. Rob’s guidance in managing the complexity of such a diverse group of communities and regional districts and their politicians and staff was invaluable and key to the success of the RBA getting to where it is today.
Rob was a pleasure to work with and was always able to infuse humour into the dialogue while still maintaining his professionalism which I appreciated.
Former President and founding Executive Director,
BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association
In my 30 year career dealing with freedom of information and privacy issues, I have never encountered a more capable, perceptive and creative government official (as he then was) than Rob Botterell. He was responsible for the development of British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection (FOIPP) legislation, and following that, for its implementation by a newly-created branch of government, the creation of which he also oversaw.
Rob Botterell managed the most thorough and effective process of public consultation I have ever witnessed, as the FOIPP legislation was debated and developed. This was attested to by the province’s leading commentator on legislative affairs, who called the consultation process and the resulting legislation exemplary and the greatest accomplishment of the government of the day.
The resulting legislation was widely considered to be the finest of its kind at the time, and this was due in no small part to Mr. Botterell’s efforts.
Regarding the bureaucratic structure, policies and practices required for implementation, these were also of Mr. Botterell’s design, and once again, they were exemplary.
What is perhaps most remarkable is the fact that Botterell was a relatively junior government official at the time. He happened to be at the right place at the right time on a file that was new to the provincial government, and he was given a great deal of latitude due to circumstance. His performance in that role was, I have to restate, remarkable.
The government changed, along with its favourable attitude to freedom of information, and Mr. Botterell went on to other pursuits, acquiring a law degree and a practice in information law. As part of his practice, I believe he broke new ground by developing the first freedom of information and privacy act voluntarily adopted by a First Nation in Canada.
Mr. Botterell participated in several government reviews of the FOIPP Act, advocating for much-needed reforms necessitated by subsequent BC government failure to live up to the spirit of the act and to update it in our rapidly changing information environment. He continues as an authoritative voice for reform and the principles embodied in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Principal, Urban Systems
I have worked closely with Rob over the last six months on an Independent Housing Panel which is supporting Huu-ay-aht First Nations (HFN) leadership in an initiative to have citizens move to their home community Anacla (near Bamfield). Rob brings many things to the Panel – strategic direction, detailed focus, breadth of knowledge, relentless positive energy, compassion for HFN and its citizens, and toughness when required are all attributes that come to mind. And lest I forget, sense of humour. Rob takes the work of the Panel and his role on it seriously, but encourages good natured levity during our interactions.
Our firm, Urban Systems, has also come to know Rob through the development of resource benefits agreements in the Peace River region of BC (specifically in relation to the BC Hydro Site C Clean Energy Project), and central BC principally through work with Wet’suwet’en First Nations on the agreement for the Coastal Gas Link project. We supported Rob in these negotiations. He has a knack for identifying key relevant issues in relation to resource developments, including engaging the community in doing so. Once identified, Rob brings both knowledge and guidance to characterize these issues, including quantification in financial and other terms for use during negotiation. Based upon Rob’s accomplishments on behalf of local government and First Nation communities in these negotiations, his preparation and research, fact-based approach coupled with negotiating skills are highly effective.
Rob is a pleasure to work with. His intellect, knowledge, humour, caring and warmth combined with unshakeable dedication to his clients have led to them achieving their visions and objectives.
Former Executive Director, Huu-ay-aht First Nations
I have had the privilege of working with Rob for 20 years on a variety of projects, including negotiating a modern Treaty, preparing for the implementation of such and various self-governing Nation re-building initiatives. In my view, Rob was instrumental in helping and organizing the Huu-ay-aht government to discuss how to set up our post treaty, self-governing system. This was and is a complex and at times a sensitive task. Community and organization development takes skill, perseverance and guidance. Rob has participated in supporting Huu-ay-aht in all of these aspects.
Rob’s capacity margins are very wide. He is very bold, brave and quite strategic. Rob is someone that is able to grab your attention and hold it. Before you know it, he is leading the way.
The way he goes about getting to the end goal is unique and no matter what, he does what it takes to deliver. I appreciate and respect that in him.
I am fortunate to have worked beside Rob.
Lidstone & Company
Over the many years of Rob’s stellar career, clients have benefited significantly from his inventive and brilliant problem-solving. If you look at the detail in Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and how it has withstood scrutiny for a quarter century, you have to be amazed at Rob’s handiwork. His negotiation of the Maa-nulth Treaty for Huu-ay-aht is a model for treaties to come. Rob also very effectively worked on the Northwest Resource Benefits Alliance negotiations, the Site C agreements, First Nation agreements and many more matters. We have come to know Rob as the “Grand Seer” and commend him to our clients for special major projects suited to his talents.
Lighting The Way
John Alan Jack
Huu-ay-aht First Nations Executive Councillor
Chair, Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District
I first met Rob 10 years ago, and my first impression of Rob was that he was just a lawyer, but what I realized over time was that he had a lot more skills than just your stereotypically lawyer. It was really impressive to go on a journey with Rob over these past 10 years.
What we often forget about Rob was that he had a life before he became a lawyer. He went to law school and became a practicing lawyer in his 30’s and before then he had all these great skills he got in the banking and financing sector – and he really brings those skills to all of the things that we do at Huu-ay-aht and all the services he provides to his clients.
It’s not just the skills, it’s also that razor sharp wit and foresight he has. For Rob, he’s already there – you don’t have to wait for him to catch up, and in a First Nations context, that is gold. You don’t have to explain things to a newcomer in such a way that they finally get the way things should be. Rob is a fine example of not just a lawyer or someone who is serving a First Nation, but he is a symbol of where British Columbia and Canada should be going . He’s one of those people out in front of everyone else saying ‘this is where we need to go’ – and it’s not because it makes sense, but because we have to at a moral and ethic standpoint. That’s what resonates with me.
He truly personifies the Wordsworth poem ‘A Happy Warrior’ – it really shows where Rob is coming from and what he’s doing. He is in fact a generous soul, someone who has devoted so much time over and above the billable hours to the cause – of Huu-ay-aht but also to reconciliation in Canada.
He is someone who is guided by that inner light that doesn’t need to be lit first – he’s already there lighting the way for others to follow. And not just other Canadians, it’s others who are learning – including me.
I thank Rob everything he’s done for the Nation, and everything is continues to do for how society is in Canada. He’s added so much vibrancy to Canada.
He truly is A Happy Warrior.