I am an associate lawyer at Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers. I focus on all aspects of family law and matrimonial law by helping clients find resolution on a myriad of areas which include child-related matters, support, and property issues and also in drafting and finalizing domestic contracts – cohabitation agreements, marriage contracts, paternity agreements, and separation agreements.
Given the unique areas of family law and matrimonial law, the relationship which a client has with his or her lawyer is extremely important in that there needs to exist a high level of mutual trust between them, and this level of trust requires transparency and forthrightness between the lawyer and the client so that they are able to work together effectively. As it is often said, there are no two cases exactly the same, and each case differs on their own unique set of facts.
As a lawyer, I see one of my roles as providing assistance to clients by working alongside them and helping my clients make decisions which will lead to a resolution that is based on the facts of their specific case. I provide my clients with the technical knowledge and expertise such that they obtain the legal advice and my assistance to work with them in devising, implementing and carrying out a strategy to advance their matter towards a resolution within the framework of the law.
Over my 14 years of practicing family law, I have learned that given the emotional characteristics with family law and matrimonial law, it is always best for the lawyer and the client to canvass a less, litigious approach to resolve these cases, if, when, and where possible. This requires the lawyer and the client to explore other dispute resolution mechanisms such as negotiations and mediation that will hopefully de-escalate any pre-existing heightened emotions in the “dispute” between two spouses or parents or grandparents. Sometimes, other experts from different professional backgrounds may be called on to assist the parties to reach a resolution. These experts include psychologists, counsellors, therapists, mediators, valuators, accountants, and parenting coordinators – to name a few.
Where it is not possible to resolve a matter through a less, litigious approach, then this would require the lawyer and the client to work together within adversarial systems such as court or arbitration to find a resolution to a specific case. My experience as a family lawyer brings many years of practicing family law across different dispute resolution mechanisms – negotiations and mediation, and also litigation and arbitration.
I have appeared at all levels of court in Ontario, namely the Ontario Court of Justice, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, and the Court of Appeal for Ontario. I have also had the opportunity and honour to be the sole counsel of record on a leave application on a family law matter that was brought before the highest court in Canada, being the Supreme Court of Canada.
My focus and interest in family law arose when I was in law school at Osgoode Hall Law School, and to some extent, in my undergraduate studies at York University. While in law school, I worked with the Family Law Project in my second year by working at the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto (both at the Ontario Court of Justice courthouses located at 47 Sheppard Avenue East and 311 Jarvis, in Toronto, Ontario) to assist unrepresented litigants work with duty counsel and family advice counsel at the courthouses, and also with court staff, by helping these individuals bring their matters before the court.
In my 3rd year of law school, I was chosen to be one of the four Team Leaders at the Family Law Project. While supervising other law students from Osgoode Hall Law School and University of Toronto Law School who had joined the Family Law Project, we also worked to expand the Family Law Project across other various courthouses in Ontario in other jurisdictions. Following my Call to the Bar in 2007, I continued to work with other family law practitioners in Toronto, including a Toronto boutique family law firm, where I was able to further my knowledge and experience.
When I am away from helping clients, it is not unusual to find me enjoying the outdoors with activities such as going on a nature walk or hike, and also enjoying time with family and friends.