Legal Office Team

Kevin Smith

Legal Counsel and Manager, Contracts & Legal Services

Kevin is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan College Law, obtaining his degree in 1997. He later had the opportunity to complete his Bachelor of Commerce degree in 2009, after joining the University in 2008. In between Kevin worked in private legal practice for 10 years, acting primarily as defence counsel in civil matters at all levels of court in Saskatchewan.

In 2008 Kevin moved to the university, where he worked initially as the Access and Privacy Officer. In 2010 he took on the role of Manager, Contracts and Legal Services, which involved managing the university’s relationship with its external legal counsel, assisting Colleges, Schools and administrative units with obtaining needed legal advice and coordinating the review and signing of contracts not related to procurement, research or intellectual property/commercialization.

In addition to his role as Manager, Contracts and Legal Services, Kevin is also Legal Counsel with the Legal Office. In addition to advising on contractual matters, Kevin also provides general legal advice to Colleges, Schools and administrative units.

Rayelle Johnston

Legal Counsel and Access & Privacy Officer

Rayelle graduated from the University of Saskatchewan College of Law with a LLB in 2006. She earned her BA in Sociology in 2007 with Great Distinction and a Masters of Public Administration in 2018, also from the University of Saskatchewan.
After working in private practice in Saskatoon, Rayelle joined USask in 2010 as Access and Privacy Officer, providing expertise, guidance and support for compliance with access to information and privacy laws and related matters. As Legal Counsel and Access and Privacy Officer, she provides general legal advice and support to academic and administrative units with a continued focus on access and privacy law and related areas. 

Jackie Oliver

Lead Legal Counsel [on leave]

Jackie graduated from the University of Saskatchewan College of Law in 2010. After articling at a Saskatoon law firm and time with the Government of Alberta, Jackie joined the University of Saskatchewan in 2012 as a Contracts Specialist. He is now Lead Legal Counsel in REI. He provides leadership and oversight of the legal services team in REI.

Jackie provides legal advice to university leadership, REI colleagues, and university researchers regarding research and innovation/commercialization contracts, intellectual property, and other research- and innovation/commercialization-related legal questions. Jackie also drafts and negotiates various agreements in this regard, ensuring the needs of the university and researchers are met while maintaining compliance with policy, regulations and law. 

Jackie works primarily with the College of Arts & Science (natural sciences), College of Engineering, Toxicology Centre, Global Institute for Water Security, and School of Environment and Sustainability.

Jackie had a big 2020-2021 by getting married to his wife, Allyson, moving into a new home, and having a baby boy, Charlie!

Michelle Cholowsky

Legal Counsel 

Michelle began work at the University of Saskatchewan in the Admissions Office. Michelle then moved over to the Dean’s Office in Arts and Science where she worked while attending the University and completing her BA Honours degree in Psychology. Following this degree she remained at the University working as a Project Coordinator at a social science research unit, where in the final years of her employment she completed her Law degree. Michelle graduated from the University of Saskatchewan College of Law in 2004 and worked in private practice in Saskatoon for 12 years.
Michelle returned to the University in 2016 as a Contracts Specialist and is currently Legal Counsel in REI. Michelle prepares, negotiates, and processes research agreements and works with researchers in the following colleges and centres: Agriculture & Bioresources, Arts & Science (humanities and social sciences), Education, Edwards School of Business, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, Law, Library, Centre for Behavioural Sciences & Justice Studies, Community-University Institute for Social Research, Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, and the Global Institute for Food Security.

Brian Donnelly

Contracts Specialist

Brian obtained a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1997, and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2006. Prior to moving to Saskatoon, Brian spent 9 years practicing law in California, focusing on employment and labor, business, and trade-secret law, and he was licensed to appear in all California state courts and all US federal district courts in California.  He began working at USask in 2016 as the executive officer for the OVPR prior to moving to his current role as a Contracts Specialist in 2018. As a contracts specialist in Research Excellence and Innovation, Brian reviews, negotiates, and handles approvals for research agreements in the human and animal health portfolio. His portfolio includes the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, and Pharmacy and Nutrition, and various research centres, including VIDO-InterVac and the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative.

Stacey Thomson

Legal Counsel

Stacey is an alumni of the University of Saskatchewan, obtaining her B.Comm with a major in Biotechnology Management from Edwards School of Business in 2009 and her J.D from the College of Law in 2015. In 2020, Stacey took advantage of the increase in virtual learning opportunities to obtain her Certificate in Intellectual Property Licensing from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.  
After working as a lawyer in private practice for 4 years, Stacey joined the University of Saskatchewan in 2019 as Legal Counsel in Research Excellence and Innovation (REI). Stacey’s primary focus relates to legal matters, negotiations, and agreements involving intellectual property and commercialization. Stacey is the main point of contact within REI for material transfer agreements, non-disclosure agreements, licensing agreements, commercialization agreements, assignment agreements, and any other intellectual property or commercialization related agreement that may arise across all colleges and centres.

Kerry O'Shea

Legal Counsel

Kerry graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Honours Degree in English Literature in 1990 and a Law Degree from the College of Law in 1993.  In 2019 she received her certification as an Access and Privacy Professional (CIAPP-P) recognizing her work ensuring compliance with privacy laws. Kerry was appointed legal liaison to CRIS (Cannabinoid Research Initiative of Saskatchewan) 2019 and continues to enjoy her work with CRIS researchers from all around the world.  

After graduating from law school, Kerry practiced law in the area of business and First Nations law in Saskatoon for over 20 years. She appeared in all levels of court in Saskatchewan and for 15 years specialized in tribunal work.  A highlight of her work with First Nation clients was travelling to and visiting almost every First Nation reserve in Saskatchewan.  

Since joining the University of Saskatchewan in 2015, she has been pleased to work with University of Saskatchewan researchers who are conducting clinical trials. Kerry assists researchers from all colleges and centres with all sorts of contracts arising out of their clinical trial research including confidentiality agreements (CDA or NDAs), clinical trial agreements, sub site agreement, data sharing agreements and memorandums of agreement (MOUs).  If you are a researcher involved with a clinical trial give Kerry a call with all your contract questions