Employment Law Calgary – The People’s Lawyers

Meet Stephen Dugandzic

Stephen is our founding and managing lawyer. Before founding YYC Employment Law Group, Stephen received his legal training with two of Canada’s top-ranked national law firms in Calgary; Stikeman Elliott LLP and Bennett Jones LLP. He then worked in an in-house corporate environment as a trusted advisor to senior and executive management with a large national company in the energy services sector. Most recently, Stephen was the first and senior associate with Taylor Janis LLP’s Calgary office where he is proud to have materially assisted with growing and developing the practice from the ground up – turning it into Calgary’s largest dedicated labour and employment law firm. After close to two years with Taylor Janis, Stephen decided his hard work there was finished, and he was keenly ready to take his knowledge and vast experience to his ‘own’ practice.

Stephen is a born and raised Calgarian. He studied at the University of Ottawa before receiving his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in Edmonton where he excelled academically. He was heavily recruited by national law firms, receiving a total of four offers from top-ranked law firms in Calgary – the most in his graduating class.  Stephen has won many academic awards at both the undergraduate and law school levels and is consistently recognized by his peers as a tenacious, strong and skilled client-focused lawyer.

Stephen is passionate about employee rights and has dedicated his career to helping people. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending quality time with his fantastic partner, Alexa, and their yellow Labrador Retriever, Koda, camping in the mountains or spending time at the lake.

Stephen Dugandzic the peoples lawyer
Stephen Dugandzic the peoples lawyer

Meet Erika Ringseis

After receiving her Ph.D. from the top-ranked program in Industrial Psychology (the study of people at work) from Penn State, Erika received a scholarship offer to attend law school at the University of Calgary. Her interest in employment law continued through articling and working at two prestigious, national law firms. As a strong advocate for fun, fair, inclusive and respectful workplaces, Erika accepted an opportunity to work with TransCanada PipeLines, first as Senior Legal Counsel (employment law) and then as the manager of HR Governance, including all aspects of employment compliance. Erika has a solid understanding of employment legislation in Canada as well as practical experience in employer strategy, making her keenly aware of employee rights and committed to ensuring employers do the right thing. Erika has been described by clients, colleagues and team members as “the best leader I have ever had,” “highly intelligent and capable” and “passionate about helping people.” Indeed, Erika was recognized in 2013 as a finalist in the “Tomorrow’s Leader” category of the Western Canada General Counsel Awards.

When not at work, Erika the Girl Guide leader enjoys skiing, hiking, camping and hanging out with her husband, Gerry, her three daughters, their hyper Westin Terrier and their book-loving lop-eared rabbit (not every child goes to school and is able to say, in all honesty, that the rabbit ate her homework…). Erika also teaches fitness classes in her spare time, but promises any squats or push-ups during client meetings are purely optional.

Meet Erika Ringseis

After receiving her Ph.D. from the top-ranked program in Industrial Psychology (the study of people at work) from Penn State, Erika received a scholarship offer to attend law school at the University of Calgary. Her interest in employment law continued through articling and working at two prestigious, national law firms. As a strong advocate for fun, fair, inclusive and respectful workplaces, Erika accepted an opportunity to work with TransCanada PipeLines, first as Senior Legal Counsel (employment law) and then as the manager of HR Governance, including all aspects of employment compliance. Erika has a solid understanding of employment legislation in Canada as well as practical experience in employer strategy, making her keenly aware of employee rights and committed to ensuring employers do the right thing. Erika has been described by clients, colleagues and team members as “the best leader I have ever had,” “highly intelligent and capable” and “passionate about helping people.” Indeed, Erika was recognized in 2013 as a finalist in the “Tomorrow’s Leader” category of the Western Canada General Counsel Awards.

When not at work, Erika the Girl Guide leader enjoys skiing, hiking, camping and hanging out with her husband, Gerry, her three daughters, their hyper Westin Terrier and their book-loving lop-eared rabbit (not every child goes to school and is able to say, in all honesty, that the rabbit ate her homework…). Erika also teaches fitness classes in her spare time, but promises any squats or push-ups during client meetings are purely optional.

Stephen Dugandzic the peoples lawyer

Meet Lee McMillan

After earning the Senate Medal for outstanding academic achievement (top 3% in graduating class) at Carleton University in Ottawa, ON, Lee graduated with dual common law and civil law degrees from the McGill University, Faculty of Law in Montreal.

After interning at a boutique litigation finance hedge fund in Manhattan, NY in the summer of 2013, Lee gained a wealth of experience in the areas of civil litigation, class action law and employment law for a large regional firm in Calgary. Lee has appeared before all levels of court in Alberta and in June 2018 acted as second chair in a lengthy and complex 11-day trial, vigorously advocating on behalf of a terminated employee.

As a lifelong Albertan and long-time Calgarian, Lee is passionate about his community and is dedicated to aiding his fellow Calgarians through tough economic times. When he is not busy working or volunteering for youth mentorship programs, Lee enjoys spending time with family, playing guitar and travelling Alberta in search of his next camping spot.

Meet Emily Grier

Born and raised in Calgary, Emily has strong roots to the city and Southern Alberta, as a 5th generation Albertan. After completing a B.A. in International Relations at University of Calgary, Emily attended law school at University of Saskatchewan, where she acted as an editor of the Saskatchewan Law Review and graduated with distinction.

After returning to Calgary and completing articles at a large governmental organization, Emily had the privilege of participating in the Canadian Bar Association’s International Development Program, working for a legal NGO in Durban, South Africa, assisting with constitutional human rights litigation mainly in the areas of access to education, governmental services, and housing, and also assisted in developing a court monitoring program and educational aids for child witnesses. These experiences left Emily a passionate advocate for access to justice. Since returning to Canada, Emily developed a busy civil litigation practice, acted as legal counsel for First Nations in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, and as general counsel for several expanding local companies specializing in construction, real estate development and engineering. Throughout Emily’s varied career, she has developed wide expertise in employment law, acting for both employees and employers of all types and in all industries.

Emily is an experienced advocate and litigator, having appeared as Municipal Crown Prosecutor in Alberta Provincial Court and as legal counsel at the trial and appellate level in Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Federal Courts, and at numerous administrative tribunals in both Alberta and British Columbia. Outside of the office, Emily shares her life with her husband Chris, two energetic daughters, and an assortment of dogs, guinea pigs, fish, (and whatever else calls their “zoo” home from time to time) and extended family and friends. Emily and her family are dedicated ski bums in winter, campers in summer, and are always on the lookout for the next adventure.

Let’s Work Together