Charles F. Willms

Leaders in Law endorses Chuck Willms as our exclusively recommended Aboriginal & Native Law expert in Canada. If you wish to get in touch with Chuck, please use the contact information provided above.

Charles F. (Chuck) Willms has considerable experience in Indigenous, corporate social responsibility (CSR), commercial and constitutional matters.

Chuck’s industry knowledge encompasses the construction, energy, forestry, and mining sectors. Having represented clients at both levels of federal court, Chuck has also appeared before the supreme courts of BC and the Yukon; Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, and BC, Alberta; and Yukon courts of appeal. He has appeared numerous times in the Supreme Court of Canada.

He has extensive experience in alternate dispute resolution including negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. He is consistently ranked by top legal publications as one of the best lawyers in Canada for Indigenous law.

Firm Description

Fasken Martineau is a leading international business law and litigation firm. Tracing our roots back to the mid-1800s, our firm was founded through the merger of three regional Canadian icons in 2000. Today we have nine offices with more than 770 lawyers across Canada and in the UK, France and South Africa.

Our lawyers consistently receive accolades worldwide and earn hundreds of rankings each year from prestigious business and legal publications such as Chambers & Partners, International Financial Law Review (IFLR), The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, Legal 500 and others.

While we take pride in each of these acknowledgements, we take our greatest satisfaction from our clients who continue to entrust us with their most pressing matters. We aim to see legal issues in the context of our clients’ broader business issues. We have created a firm that is nimble, entrepreneurial and responsive to the global pressures facing our clients. Our success depends on the success of our clients.


Tony Denholder

Tony is the head of Ashurst’s resources practice in Brisbane specialising in energy and resources, government and native title.

He has advised companies in the mining sector for over 15 years including Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. His practice focuses on the development of new mine and related infrastructure projects, including port and rail developments.

Tony is ranked as a leading individual in Chambers, 2007-2014. He is also recognised as one of Australia’s leading lawyers in the 2009 to 2014 editions of Best Lawyers Australia.

Tony Denholder co-heads the practice and is hailed as “a market leader in native title advice.” – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2013.

Native Title Law Practice:

Ashurst Australia’s native title team is the only native title practice rated Tier 1 by Chambers Global each year since 2007. Our client base includes many leading corporates and significant infrastructure providers, which we assist to obtain project approvals and develop strategies for engagement with indigenous stakeholders.

Our solutions are geared to ensure compliance with all relevant legislation as well as managing the statutory processes that apply to developments in a manner that is consistent with our client’s corporate objectives and commercial imperatives.

Importantly, we also assist our clients to build enduring relationships with indigenous stakeholders. Prior to entering negotiations with groups, we assist our clients to develop a practical long term strategy, so that agreements remain workable long after the lawyers have left the scene.

Our native title, land rights and associated cultural heritage practice works closely with other specialists in property, environment and planning, resources, energy, construction and infrastructure to provide comprehensive legal services for project development.


Ashurst is a leading international law firm advising corporates, financial institutions and governments. Our core businesses are in corporate, finance, dispute resolution, and the development and financing of assets in the energy, resources and infrastructure sectors. In November 2013, Ashurst LLP and Ashurst Australia (formerly Blake Dawson) merged to form one global team.

We have 28 offices in 16 countries and a best-friend referral relationship with an Indian law firm. With over 400 partners and 1,700 lawyers in total, we offer the international insight of a global network combined with local market knowledge

Robert Odawi Porter

Robert Odawi Porter is an expert in the field of American Indian law and has dedicated his 20-year legal career to protecting and expanding the rights of indigenous nations and peoples. He joined the firm on January 1, 2013, following the completion of his term as the 67th president of the Seneca Nation of Indians. Robert also served the Seneca Nation for nine years as its chief legal counsel, holding the position of attorney general and later acting as senior policy advisor and counsel.

During his career, Robert has represented both private Indian-owned businesses and Fortune 500 corporations. Focusing on complex legal and policy matters, his practice at the firm represents Indian nations, individual Indians and Indian-owned businesses, as well as companies doing business in Indian Country. Robert is a recognized expert in federal Indian law and has worked to protect Indian treaty rights throughout his career as a practicing attorney.

Before serving as Seneca Nation president, Robert spent more than 10 years as a tenured law professor at the University of Kansas, the University of Iowa and Syracuse University. He is the author of numerous scholarly publications focusing on indigenous law and governance, tribal sovereignty, and the cultural, political and legal impacts of Euro-American colonization on indigenous peoples. Robert has lectured widely at universities, professional conferences and tribal events. He has also been an active media contributor, and served as a consulting expert and expert witness in matters pending before US and Indian tribal courts.

Robert is a graduate of Syracuse University and Harvard Law School. He started his legal career working at the global law firms of Dickstein Shapiro in Washington, DC, and Baker & Hostetler in Cleveland. He is a member of the Heron Clan of the Seneca Nation and was raised on the Nation’s Allegany Territory.

Constitutional Law, including Aboriginal and Native Law Practice:

The Constitution is the source of all legal and governmental authority. The laws that govern the affairs of businesses, institutions, governments and individuals must be consistent with its overarching principles. As a business owner, sorting through all of the provisions set forth in this guiding document can be cumbersome. You require a partner with expertise in this field.

Gain a deeper understanding of the Constitution with the lawyers at Dentons. Our Constitutional Law practice has acted as counsel in many of the leading constitutional cases brought before Supreme Courts, as well as lower courts. Whether defending laws from constitutional attack or challenging conduct that infringes upon your constitutional rights, we offer a unique blend of experience, knowledge and skill.

Dentons US LLP:

Dentons is a global firm driven to provide you with the competitive edge in an increasingly complex and interconnected marketplace. We were formed by the March 2013 combination of international law firm Salans LLP, Canadian law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (FMC) and international law firm SNR Denton.

Dentons is built on the solid foundations of three highly regarded law firms. Each built its outstanding reputation and valued clientele by responding to the local, regional and national needs of a broad spectrum of clients of all sizes – individuals; entrepreneurs; small businesses and start-ups; local, regional and national governments and government agencies; and mid-sized and larger private and public corporations, including international and global entities.

Now clients benefit from approximately 2,600 lawyers and professionals in more than 75 locations spanning 50-plus countries across Africa, Asia Pacific, Canada, Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Russia, CIS and the Caucasus, the UK and the US who are committed to challenging the status quo to offer creative business and legal solutions.

With exceptional global practices in Energy, Banking and Finance, Real Estate and Insurance, Dentons provides access to top tier legal talents with experience in 24 sectors and 36 practices.