Jump to content

Family Law AMA


artsydork
 Share

Recommended Posts

artsydork
  • Lawyer
Canadian Law Forum logo
This post was recognized by the mods

Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with the forum community!

Jumping in with @Phaedrus to answer any question y'all might have to the emotional rollercoaster that is family law! Simple enough to get your feet wet, yet complicated enough that my practice has touched on immigration/refugee, criminal law, rules of evidence, trusts, wills, bankruptcy, tax, and international/conflict of laws to boot, a family law practice touches on a bit of it all! From dealing with self-reps (and the many, many threats!), casual homo/transphobia from the bench and/or opposing counsel and/or opposite parents, domestic violence files and a trauma-informed approach to files, judges who just want to resolve at all costs, the ever changing practice directions that senior lawyers seemingly ignore,  and the huge paper trail, family law touches upon so many personal and important moments in a family life. We're part lawyer, part social worker and part professional boundary creator, we also have to mirror our practice to appeal to Gen Z who have kids (I have clients born after Y2K) to 90 year olds who are separating after being married since they were teens! Family law is lit, family law is cray, and family lawyers do our best to help provide a bit of calm in a difficult, transitory period.

A bit about me - over 5 years in private practice and time in the public realm. My practice is entirely family (and child protection) for the last 5 years in a small firm in a smaller city/rural surrounding area. I operate a high volume legal aid practice, though have been increasing the amount of private files. I'm primarily a litigator and I've also increased the amount of "solicitor" style family files I have (domestic contracts/mediations), trained in Collaborative Law, empaneled on some government panels, and some other things that are cool.

Ask away!

  • Like 7
  • Thanks 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • ZineZ pinned this topic
Phaedrus
  • Lawyer
Canadian Law Forum logo
This post was recognized by the mods

Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with the forum community!

Hi all! As @artsydork notes, I'm more than happy to answer any questions you might have about family law practice. I wholeheartedly concur that family law can range from very straight forward issues to incredibly complex matters that demand in-depth knowledge of equally complex areas of law. It shouldn't be a surprised to hear that the work can be emotionally draining, because every single client is involved in a conflict that isn't just close to home, it's in the home. Therefore, our role can take on the appearance of social worker, mentor, therapist, or (at times) an emotional punching bag. We have incredibly sweet and accommodating clients who, in an effort to be reasonable, risk signing rights away or being taken advantage of (and we have to mindful of), while others are terribly unreasonable. 

My practice also includes parent-side child protection matters. I have clients whose children were apprehended literally at the hospital and taken into foster care, up to clients who have full custody of their children under minimal supervision. At the moment, family files comprise 1/2 of my caseload, of which the majority are child protection. Criminal law and the odd social justice matter make up the remainder, and thankfully the skills are very transferrable (especially pertaining to rules of evidence, and practicing oral advocacy).

Edit add: I'm in the "early" stages of my career, though I have practiced or worked on family files since 2L. I attended my law school's legal aid clinic program that practices youth criminal, family/protection and social justice law, and articled at a small criminal and family law firm. 

Edited by Phaedrus
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aureliuse
  • Lawyer
Canadian Law Forum logo
This post was recognized by the mods

Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with the forum community!

Hello everyone,

Welcome to family law, where you will experience the worst of humanity and see people at their worst. It is here you take on the role of being an advocate and a reality-checker for your client. You are not a cheerleader for your client. You tell your client what is possible, what is reasonable, and what is fantasy. You make the best out of some horrible and tragic situations. You direct your clients to other professionals to get them through this difficult chapter in life.

When the client's world falls apart, you are often the only one in their world who tells him/her that he/she is on the right side of law, he or she has the moral high ground and the court will vindicate his/her cause... Only to be massively disappointed when a judge does not grasp the controlling issue.

Family law is rewarding, family law is punishing, family law is uncertain, and family law is capricious... It is where you question your moral values and ethical compass. It is where you risk your promotion or future at the firm to convince a partner that you should continue working when the client has ran out of money. It is an area where you think about writing off your bills because it's the right thing to do for your client's children.

Unlike some other areas, when you are dealing with the past or making something happen in the future; family law files grow organically or slowly burn down in flames. Files can escalate in a flash - a child gets removed from the country, a sudden police involvement, a sudden removal of family assets... Kids become  older, clients sabotage their own cases, parties re-marry/re-partner, assets raise or fall in value, and the file does not end at trial or appeal. Some require enforcement actions, others require hand-holding with a parenting coordinator. You might see the same client at different stages of his or her life fighting with his/her ex-spouse about different issues - child support, spousal support, pension sharing, setting aside Agreements, making trust claims etc...

It's an area where so many lawyers dabble in for extra billables, but only a few are actually exceptional at what they do and truly understand how the effective use the Family Law Rules. It is an area where outsiders will tell you "it's easy to practice." It's an area where you should not expect to make a killing off your files.

You get to work with various professionals such as counsel representing your client's corporate interests, other family law lawyer representing the client's relatives, social workers, parenting assessors, a children's aid society, police officers, doctors, psychiatrists, business assessors, an expert in foreign law, forensic accountants etc.

You will have trust issues with your own client's story because often there are five different narratives or "truths"

1. Your client's "truth,"

2. His/her ex-partner/spouse's "truth,"

3. The children's "truth,"

4. The "truth" the court finds based on the limited and available evidence;

5. The Almighty's Truth

Therefore, keep a strong sense of objectivity and never drink your client's "kool-aid." Your clients will often not tell you the truth or the whole truth.

About Me:

I did family law since 2nd year at Osgoode Hall Law School. I did everything there was to do about family law in law school. I did my stints at two Bay Street family law boutiques then moving on to smaller full-service firms to run their family law practice. I have experience assisting high net worth families and those earning minimum wage.

Ask away!

P.S. I hope I have not repeated anything said by the other two posters.

Edited by Aureliuse
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

aurora borealis
  • Law School Admit

Thanks for offering your expertise! I'm a 0L who is interested in family law and have some (hopefully not dumbass) questions.

1) What is the general salary range that could be expected after being called to the bar? I'm anticipating it would be similar to criminal defence where minimizing debt would be extremely important.

2) What is the most difficult part of family law practice for you?

3) What would your average day look like (court vs office work etc)?

4) I'm interested in working at a children's aid society - how difficult is it to get a position as counsel? Is it similar to government roles where you essentially need to article there to have a shot in your early career?

5) Is there a non-obvious class in law school that would be helpful in family law practice? (I plan on taking family law/trusts/evidence/oral advocacy/family law clinic if I can.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Phaedrus
  • Lawyer

I'll take a first stab at answering some of these questions.

1) Your salary range is going to vary by region and by employer. For instance, a first year associate at a small town firm in Atlantic Canada can expect to make $45-60k. However, the starting salary at a large firm in St. John's or Halifax is around $60-65k. Children's Aid is government, so counsel are on a pay scale (which is you can easily look up). 

2) Managing client expectations, always. It boils down to @Aureliuse's five truths and the blinders put up when someone's feeling hurt and/or scared. A close second is responding to "new developments" you become privy to at court. On the child protection side, it's the client blurting out that they're using again, or other parties have been having access with the child without prior authorization. It can be sink or swim and you have to give an intelligent response without sewering your client or appearing incompetent. Both difficulties are why early expectation management are incredibly important. What can the client expect, and why expectations do you have during the course of the solicitor-client relationship.

3) I think the average day can vary quite a bit depending on the scale of practice you have and organization of the office. A well-oiled machine might see a family lawyer spending much of their drafting Affidavits, preparing motions and supporting briefs, in client meetings, writing to opposing counsel, trial-prep, etc. while their support staff are responsible for the routine or non-technical pieces such as preparing a statement of income, statement of property, etc.. If you're at a small office, you are more likely to be doing this "non-legal" work yourself. The amount of "non-legal" work do can raise important billing practice considerations, but that's another conversation for another time. 

I'm in Court every week for at least one or two family files. Child protection matters appear before the court frequently, necessarily, and for good reason. My jurisdiction is gung-ho on settlement conferencing for family matters and forces parties to participate in a few conference before proceeding to trial. The weeks leading up to these conference require client calls, gathering materials from your client, following up with experts or witnesses, and drafting the settlement brief. Peppered throughout is legal research and drafting yourself reference notes. Family matters are so incredibly fact-specific so you're always on the hunt for cases that remotely resemble your client's circumstances - or some new issue is raised (e.g., how are jointly-held crypto assets valued and divided?). After the court appearance it's drafting the reporting letter for the client. Some are brief, some are lengthy, but it's an incredibly important CYO practice. Unfortunately, these letters are a pain in the ass and they accumulate quickly. if you find me working late the evening, before bed, it's usually because I need to write the letter before I forget something. 

4) Again, Children's Aid is a government position so the application process is standardized. There's more turnover so positions tend to open up regularly enough. I'm not aware of any articling opportunities at Children's Aid in my jurisdiction, so it's usually an external applicant situation (unless, I guess, you transfer from another which I haven't heard of). This area of law is legislatively driven; there are strict grounds for intervention, for the decisions the court can make, and at what times. The society needs competent and skilled lawyers (ideally), so positions tend to be filled by lawyers who have experience with child protection and custody/access matters. 

If you, or anyone else, is interested in child protection, a thick skin and sense of humour are required. You are going to read and see and hear a lot of fucked up things that people think only happens on TV. You're going to dumped with a banker's box of disclosure, sometimes with as little as 24 hours notice, to review for the court appearance you were also just given, and it might contain some horrendous material. Physical and sexual violence, substance abuse, abhorrent living conditions, and neglect. On one hand, you need to have deep empathy for everyone involved, because they're human too and the shit that's happening rarely comes out of nowhere, the issues are cyclical. On the other hand, you need to let go and appreciate the humour in the absurdity of it. Oh, your client thought having their newborn sleep with the pitbull who is subdued with edibles is safe? Perfect. If you can't separate yourself and can't find levity, you'll burn out (and quickly).

5) Taxation is a helpful, as is Business Associations (if for nothing else than to have some knowledge of business owning/operating clients and their interests). Also, Wills & Estates, Property, and Mediation (if offered). Some schools offered "Special topics" courses for students who took Family. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

artsydork
  • Lawyer

I'll add my 2 cents as well! I fully agree with Phraedus and Aurelieuse. 

1. Salary range is going to vary depending on region and practice size. I've seen postings starting at 50k in Ottawa and I've seen postings for less in the GTA, and have seen postings ~65k in London (ON). It's largely going to be based around billing and can certainly grow. My salary has doubled as I grew my practice and I negotiated a bonus structure for myself + my assistant, based on collected billing. 

2) Family law can be draining. There is a lot of paper, procedure, ego and emotion. My biggest frustration can be lawyers - why the fuck did you write the letter the way you did? Why am I still getting pleadings about adultery, or pure attack pleadings? Why are you still refusing to allow my client to pick up her belongings/demanding that she can't enter unless he is present when she is jointly on the lease? Many lawyers don't seem to tell their clients "no" or "that's not a thing". Family law requires counsel to be more directive at times rather than simply being a mouth piece for your client. 

My other frustration relates to issues of toxic masculinity. There still are a sizable amount of men that are incapable of nurturing or putting their own ego aside for the best interests of the children. 4 month old? SHARED PARENTING and wanting to essentially drop the baby with their new girlfriend or mother. That said, I have many male clients that do want to be more hands on/ were hands on, and still have a sizeable amount of female clients that refuse to allow additional times ("children need mommy!") or flat out refuse - again, this is also a part of toxic masculinity discourse. 

My new mantra is "that's not a legal issue" when people call me in a tizzy that the children's other parent gave the children non-organic hot dogs for dinner (or other parenting difference). 

3) Average days change. I generally spend the first bit of the day responding to emails. I'll balance court with client appointments and 

4) CAS does not have that many articling opportunities. Most of the lawyers hired as counsel are family lawyers that switch. Or, in some cases, civil lawyers that know people at the organization and networked their way in. CAS Careers page. Some advertise locally only and not on that page.

5) I always recommend taking family law (duh), family property (if offered), mediation/negotiation, criminal law/procedure, civil procedure, law & poverty, children and the law (if offered). You should also get knowledge of wills, immigration, trusts, and bankruptcy. Business associations is mandatory now but I echo Phraedus's comments about it being useful. I cannot stress it enough to get practical client service and interviewing skills whether at a clinic or through a volunteer position. 

I have a question for @Aureliuse! What is your experience working with HNW families? I had 1 file with a million dollar equalization (farm property, cash poor). Besides that, my clients are generally low income or middle class. Are the more "sophisticated" clients easier to work with? What challenges do you encounter that are different than your more modest clients?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

babylawyer
  • Law School Admit

Thanks for doing this! I am (probably) starting law school in the fall and at this point I'd say I'm most interested in family law. Wondering if (apart from the classes suggested) there is anything you would suggest doing during law school to prepare more for being a family lawyer. I was also wondering how you knew you were right for family law—are there specific traits that you think are helpful or essential to succeeding in the field?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whist
  • Law Student

Thank you all for doing this! I hope I'm not repeating any questions that are too similar, but I've noticed some recurring themes in the answers already given above. 

1. Would you say that lawyers in family law tend to be a certain character type, or are there certain qualities one just does/should develop given the nature of the work? (In this line of questioning, how do you decompress from the emotional weight of the files?)

2. How do you navigate advocating for your client's "story" while remaining honest to them, and acknowledging the other side's "story"?

3. Are you happy with your choice to work in family law? Do you find the work fulfilling? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Phaedrus
  • Lawyer
23 minutes ago, babylawyer said:

Thanks for doing this! I am (probably) starting law school in the fall and at this point I'd say I'm most interested in family law. Wondering if (apart from the classes suggested) there is anything you would suggest doing during law school to prepare more for being a family lawyer. I was also wondering how you knew you were right for family law—are there specific traits that you think are helpful or essential to succeeding in the field?

I started law school wanting to stay as far away from family law as humanly possible. Why? Because I never wanted to "deal" with people who are experiencing one of the worst periods of their life every day for the duration of my career. The job looked as unrewarding as one can be and I erroneously thought the job tearing families apart. But I was wrong; I was confusing the emotions of parties for the function of law/lawyer in those circumstances. Family law works to my strengths as an empathetic person who loves working on interpersonal skills. It's constant ego-checking and trying to understand - and work through - life circumstances I've never encountered before, relationships and family dynamics I haven't seen. And it's an opportunity to give some structure and make sense of really messy situations for your client. I learn as much from clients as I do from the law. 

I took family law in 2L with the intent of "needing to know" the material. I was more set on having a general practice then. I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy the content and saw the overlap with criminal law (which I was most interested in): people. Our legal aid clinic was a great opportunity to test the waters and learn whether I actually wanted to practice family law. A lot of my colleagues thought they'd love the work, but figured out after a few nasty interactions it wasn't for them. I always liked the chaos, so here I am. 

Artsy mentions a lot of the traits you need above. Open mindedness, patience, and good humour are important. Thick skin, too. 

21 minutes ago, Whist said:

Thank you all for doing this! I hope I'm not repeating any questions that are too similar, but I've noticed some recurring themes in the answers already given above. 

1. Would you say that lawyers in family law tend to be a certain character type, or are there certain qualities one just does/should develop given the nature of the work? (In this line of questioning, how do you decompress from the emotional weight of the files?)

2. How do you navigate advocating for your client's "story" while remaining honest to them, and acknowledging the other side's "story"?

3. Are you happy with your choice to work in family law? Do you find the work fulfilling? 

1. Nah, they vary. You'll find your mix of litigious and bully-type lawyers, really reasonable and accommodating lawyers, and everything in between. I keep harping on it, but those who stick with it know are among the most confident people I know. Maybe it's years of client management and time in court. Maybe it's just who they are. Almost all of them know how to separate themselves from their practice and have clear, established boundaries between their work and personal life. It's easy to get overwhelmed, especially when you make yourself too available for everyone. 

2. Hm, it's hard to explain how this one's done, and it's something I'm still working on. It also depends on the client and where they're at. For some clients, direct engagement with their "version" works, while for others it's better to shirk issues. Knowing how/when takes time and experience - it's understanding what points/version have legal relevance, and what have moral/retributive relevance. For me, it boils down to expectation management and getting the client to shift focus from responding to allegations and assertions to building their case. @Aureliuse said it best, you're not the client's cheerleader. You're providing a professional service and shouldn't allow your focus to drift (or get caught up in the drama). 

3. Mostly, but some days I hate it. I think that's true of any practice, but as long as the good days outweigh the bad I'll keep at it. 

On a final note, you should be confident about the kind of family lawyer you are, and firm with your clients about what you will and will not do. Some want to hire a lackey and want to go down irrelevant rabbit holes of "what they did X years ago", and they'll be pissed when you refuse to entertain the foolishness. And that's okay. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aureliuse
  • Lawyer
16 hours ago, aurora borealis said:

1) What is the general salary range that could be expected after being called to the bar? I'm anticipating it would be similar to criminal defence where minimizing debt would be extremely important.

2) What is the most difficult part of family law practice for you?

3) What would your average day look like (court vs office work etc)?

4) I'm interested in working at a children's aid society - how difficult is it to get a position as counsel? Is it similar to government roles where you essentially need to article there to have a shot in your early career?

5) Is there a non-obvious class in law school that would be helpful in family law practice? (I plan on taking family law/trusts/evidence/oral advocacy/family law clinic if I can.)

1) This depends on your firm's book of business and your geographic practice area. At some top-end family law firms in Toronto, your 1L salary can be as high as $80,000.00, especially if you already have accolades and recognition in law school (Walsh Moot winner for example). But expect yourself to be worked to death.

2) I concur with Phaedrus and Artsydork's comments.

Another area that is tremendously difficult to manage is your own mental health and work-life balance.

Some clients are just so demanding and some files have such awful facts (child sexual abuse, drug use, severe poverty) etc. Mental health issues can also come from working in chaotic and perfectionist law firms. Your partners might be hard (or as some would put it, "abusive") toward associates for trivial errors. Some family law firms have toxic work environments. Some have "isolating" work environments where you don't know who to turn to for help (everyone is so busy or apathetic towards you). You might find that many lawyers put on a "client-face" with clients and a "associate-management-face" when yelling at you. It can be night vs. day sometimes.

3) I go to the office around 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., look at all my emails (but not reply) for any urgent/emergency situations - the latter I reply immediately. I work until 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. If I am in trial or arbitration, then my days are even longer and I work weekends and holidays.

4)   That I do not know since none of the firms I have worked for take child protection files.  I think you either article directly at CAS and stay OR you get into CAS work while in practice (as defence counsel if you will), then make the jump later when CAS posts jobs. 

Note that this is, imho, a even more soul-crushing and difficult subset of family law practice.

5) Take securities law, trusts law, estates law - if you want to understand highly sophisticated family law files involving high net worth. Take mediation courses, trial advocacy, legal drafting, conflict resolution, and conflict of laws as well.

9 hours ago, artsydork said:

I have a question for @Aureliuse! What is your experience working with HNW families? I had 1 file with a million dollar equalization (farm property, cash poor). Besides that, my clients a'

re generally low income or middle class. Are the more "sophisticated" clients easier to work with? What challenges do you encounter that are different than your more modest clients?

Oh boy, where do I start? It's like a whole different world of family law.

Let's call these files, "the Great Gatsbys."

My response will be long. I put it in spoilers so I don't cause great distress to those of you with slow internet.
 

Spoiler

Sophistication and Client Relationships:

In family law, two kinds of clients on the polar opposite ends make solicitor-client relationship difficult.

1. The exceptionally dumb - you have to follow up constantly and babysit to push the file forward. Tell them jokes, things in life to look forward to, remind them to do stuff. These kind of clients do not understand "how life works" (to put it concisely lol). Working with them feels like they just arrived on Earth in the past hour.

2. The exceptionally brilliant - everything for them is like a game of Art of War. They treat it like a "Winner takes all" and "win at all costs." They can question every minute on your bill, are extremely difficult to effectively cross-examine (because they are used to working with all kinds of exceptional lawyers in businesses), are charismatic and can adopt to any situation like a chameleon. They are very savvy for a self-rep and know how to fall into loopholes, cause delays etc. They can keep up with an expanding web of half-truths and red herrings.

Some HNW clients are more demanding than others because they expect you to provide flawless service like an arm's length business (and because their net worth is near one billion, it's an ego thing). Some are quite vile in their attitude "I pay you, now kiss my rings because I own you, and do what I say, NOW."

Others are so clueless about their corporate structure/finances and personal/family wealth because they were born with a silver spoon in mouth surrounded by nannies - they inherited everything from a "Tywin Lannister" family figure. They continue to experience "failure to launch" because they lack the aptitude and acumen to run a certain kind of demanding business empire. Alternatively, their parents or grandparents have arranged everything in a way such that the business "runs itself" to the extent that the kids can be blacked out on crack cocaine on work days without affecting the operation of the business.

Sometimes there is a capable sibling who babysits the business empires and "rights the ship" when it veers off course. There might be a constellation of loyal and hardworking accountants, business partners, corporate lawyers, a surviving "King/Queen regent" family member, family-run board of directors (and so forth) that will ensure the business empire does not fail - kind of like the Roman Empire under incompetent and aloof emperors, guarded by capable and loyal generals (until Third Century Crisis lol).

 

More Professionals and More Parties

You will find yourself on conference calls with a classroom of people sometimes (I am not kidding). Corporations 1-20 and their respective lawyers. Family members 1-10 and their lawyers (when family business and trusts are involved). Countless experts - both litigation and participant, accountants, appraisers etc.

Your client can also afford therapy such as "divorce coaching," which is in a nutshell - "how do I continue to live my life while my family falls apart and keep up appearances in front of kids, business partners, and mistresses."

 

Sophisticated and Protracted Files

These files are often "cut-throat" because both sides can afford the veteran family law lawyers in Canada supported by an army of accomplished and hardworking junior/mid-level associates and senior clerks. I was once part of that army.

The file opening moves are sharp; often involves serving an oppressive "Request to Admit" with an Application/Motion to Change. There might be immediate motion for "Mareva Order," "Declaratory Orders," "Injunctions," and "Freezing Orders."  You get into sophisticated orders such as an "Anton Piller" on business properties and corporate records in the other spouse's possession.  You can use rarely used Family Law Rules to your advantage then fight over it (such as Rule 19 then argue over issues of "privilege')

Disclosure issues are of course, often a growing tumor that spreads throughout the file. Many play games of "useless disclosure" - providing the other side with boxes of useless information ("cost of office renovations and furniture") - this is part of game of financial attrition to see who folds first. There is a game of "guess what I own and how much I make" that goes on and on.

Legal jousting - arguing over technicalities of "privilege," "adding a party," "date of separation," "beneficial-legal ownership," "goodwill trusts" etc. Motion after motion after motion (yes, long motions too).

There is a battle of experts, boxes of expert reports (updated as they go), countless questionings (and motions following questions to compel performance of undertakings), and of course, equally high number of pre-trial voir dires to qualify and disqualify experts.

Assets, business interests are often in faraway places where Canadian family law can't effectively reach - Middle East, India, Russia, Eastern Europe, China, Latin America, Africa... Don't get me started on tax shelters in Panama, Switzerland, Lithuania etc. A lot of shifty and suspicious transfers of shares, assets, business sales etc.

A lot of waiting for other professionals to complete their work - valuators, appraisers, parenting assessors (s.30), forensic accountants.

Greater use of arbitration - even in divorce, many try to stick it to the Canada Revenue Agency by keeping their financial and tax planning hidden. Of course, appeals of arbitration awards follow.

Last Minute Surprises - Wait, you have another trust owning the trust which holds your holding company which owns four companies which pay dividends to those five weird cousins who pay you as an employee? (You get my drift?) We all have trust issues. If I need another trust valuation, I will lose it.

Toxic Behavior x 10 - Forget about nasty text messages, alienation of children, and revenge porn, why don't a wealthy spouse restructure so that the other spouse would be on the hook for $5 million dollars worth of CRA tax debt? Why don't I run your business into the dirt? I will declare bankruptcy so you get nothing!

Long trials - let's summon everyone involved in a messy corporate debacle involving a family business to testify - expert testimonies alone can take a week.

Concurrent Legal Proceedings - There might be a parallel civil/corporate/estates/trusts action happening at the same time.

Multiple change of lawyers - sometimes these files jump from law firm to law firm which can take forever to resolve.

Appeals - because if you didn't get what you want in the first instance, why not try again in appellate court? (by the way, this is not how appeals are supposed to work, it's not a re-litigation of the first instance)

Microscopic Precision - Lifestyle analysis often involves looking at corporate credit card bills line by line to determine someone's income and post-separation need. Did I mention some people spend more money per year in exotic spas and massages than a down payment for a detached house in Toronto?

Headaches of Judges - I think this is self-explanatory given what I have described above. The combined continuing record on a messy file might amputate someone's foot if dropped from a desk. Did I mention decisions over 200 paragraphs?

I conclude with some examples of such files:

Spoiler

Halliwell v. Halliwell, 2017 ONCA 349

Di Sabatino v. Di Sabatino, 2021 ONSC 4901

Di Sabatino v. Di Sabatino, 2022 ONSC 334

Altman v Altman, 2021 ONSC 6610

Plese v. Herjavec, 2020 ONCA 810

Berta v. Berta, 2014 ONSC 3919

Habibi v. Aarabi, 2022 ONSC 240

 

Edited by Aureliuse
Grammar, because I throw that out the windows sometimes
  • Like 1
  • Hugs 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aureliuse
  • Lawyer
5 hours ago, babylawyer said:

Thanks for doing this! I am (probably) starting law school in the fall and at this point I'd say I'm most interested in family law. Wondering if (apart from the classes suggested) there is anything you would suggest doing during law school to prepare more for being a family lawyer. I was also wondering how you knew you were right for family law—are there specific traits that you think are helpful or essential to succeeding in the field?

Practice mindfulness and self-care. I cannot stress this enough. The skills you develop in this area in law school will keep you sane when practising family law.

Maintain a hobby or two so you can distract yourself from devastating losses in court. In family law, you often lose important court appearances when you think you have it down.

Have a supportive network of law school friends that will follow you into practice. When I need help in corporate law, criminal law, immigration law, I have some of my friends from law school working in reputable firms on quick dial. Likewise, if they have family law files, I often get the call first.

5 hours ago, Whist said:

1. Would you say that lawyers in family law tend to be a certain character type, or are there certain qualities one just does/should develop given the nature of the work? (In this line of questioning, how do you decompress from the emotional weight of the files?)

2. How do you navigate advocating for your client's "story" while remaining honest to them, and acknowledging the other side's "story"?

3. Are you happy with your choice to work in family law? Do you find the work fulfilling? 

1. Hmm, this is hard to say. I think some qualities that run through most of us is that we are compassionate and patient people. Some of us are very good "people-person" and "good listeners." We might all have a high threshold tolerance for nonsense. In short, "we care about the wellbeing of others."

Like any other areas of law, family law is "learnable" so long as you have the stomach for this kind of work and these kinds of people as clients. Many lawyers in Bay St corporate worlds make the jump into family law and have been doing well. 

I can only speak for myself, I learned over time through mistakes and harsh lessons. I also had the privilege of working with some brilliant family law counsel in Toronto on some files that changed the law in family law.

Hard work and dedication will help you along the way, like in any difficult career. Finding a good mentor just softens the learning curve.

 

2. Look at objective evidence that cannot be disputed. Keep in mind that there is always multiple "sides" to this story. This also comes with experience. Discuss with colleagues at socials and in the office to catch your own blind spots and assumptions.

Know the other lawyer and his/her style of practice and presentation. If your opposing counsel is an honest, brilliant, and hardworking lawyer who does not put nonsense into affidavits; it's very likely that your client has not been telling you the whole story. A lot of credibility is conveyed by how precise and well-drafted an affidavit or factum is.

 

3. I think it's too late to end my suffering. But there might be hope for others yet.

Yes, the feeling of performing a killing "180" on a file is awesome. When your client has been losing motions after motions, then you suddenly win massively at trial; it's a great feeling.

Walking home late at night knowing that your client would receive the proper support and their children could enjoy a higher standard of living is rewarding too.

Oh did I mention gifts from appreciative clients? Yes, those are nice too around Christmas.

Edited by Aureliuse
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

artsydork
  • Lawyer
18 hours ago, Whist said:

Thank you all for doing this! I hope I'm not repeating any questions that are too similar, but I've noticed some recurring themes in the answers already given above. 

1. Would you say that lawyers in family law tend to be a certain character type, or are there certain qualities one just does/should develop given the nature of the work? (In this line of questioning, how do you decompress from the emotional weight of the files?)

2. How do you navigate advocating for your client's "story" while remaining honest to them, and acknowledging the other side's "story"?

3. Are you happy with your choice to work in family law? Do you find the work fulfilling? 

 

19 hours ago, babylawyer said:

Thanks for doing this! I am (probably) starting law school in the fall and at this point I'd say I'm most interested in family law. Wondering if (apart from the classes suggested) there is anything you would suggest doing during law school to prepare more for being a family lawyer. I was also wondering how you knew you were right for family law—are there specific traits that you think are helpful or essential to succeeding in the field?

Answering both of y'all.

I always strongly urge people to gain client management and interview skills. This can only be achieved through practice. Moots are great and all but family law is very much people driven. Work in a legal clinic, volunteer at a shelter, do the family law project if your school offers it, etc. Anything that gets you talking to people, honing in through their stories to get salient facts and learn how to get people to open up. Also, learn how to speak to different people and start getting yourself used to sensitive topics.

As others have said, there are a range of personalities in family law. The "everything can be hugged out" collaborative types, the hard-core litigator that will try to bury you, the wholy incompetent counsel asking for nonsensical relief, the dump truck lawyer just trying to get a quick resolution, and everything in-between. I would say you will notice commonalities amongst lawyers that exclusively practice family law while some of the more litigious personalities come from the dabbles.

I would say empathy, thick skin, and adaptability are essential traits for a family lawyer. Our clients are often telling their truth but that's not necessarily the actual truth. And no matter how much you prep, new facts will always be discovered or the judge will make a comment that completely changes everything. You gotta roll with the punches and try to keep things moving.

On the flip side, another good trait is to know when to leave things be. People become waaaaay too reliant on their lawyers. I routinely tell opposing counsel to have our clients communicate about basic parenting issues before coming to run to counsel (where appropriate. I have a sizeable domestic violence practice and recognize the power dynamics in those families may require more counsel intervention).

It takes time to build up skills to not burn out. Every family lawyer that I know has burned out or come very close at some point in their career. Mindfulness has been helpful for me, as has been reminding myself that this is not my family. My ckients problems are their own and I can't fix everything (nor should we). Build up a rolodex of referrals where appropriate. Have a thick skin, and learn to let go. Opposing counsel sends a super aggressive letter? Sleep on it before responding. 

Client stories are tough. I often remind clients that I was hired for my expertise. I don't let my clients "approve" my correspondence, and I only allow for minor revisions. I fired a client who sent me back a draft on a conference brief as she essentially changed everything to be all about why her ex was dangerous. She truly believed that this was key to "winning" despite all of our conversations. Judges don't want attack ads, so I tell people up front my drafting style - background section (high level rundown of the relationship and court proceedings), then sections by issue (decisionmaking and parenting time, support and all that jazz). I always start with the awesome things my client has done, delve into the children's routines and then pick at some of the concerns or issues. This brings out the client's story while also giving the court relevant information. And well, we don't always acknowledge the other side's story so much as deny though I do try to get my clients to acknowledge opposing parents strengths or contributions where appropriate. Judges HATE hyperbolic pleadings.

I like my practice and continue to seek to evolve it. I'm building my private practice and am diversifying to keep up with current trends in family law, as well as keeping myself marketable to distinguish myself from the inevitable tide of paralegals entering the field.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Asianinbanking
  • Law School Admit
On 2/11/2022 at 8:21 PM, Aureliuse said:

Practice mindfulness and self-care. I cannot stress this enough. The skills you develop in this area in law school will keep you sane when practising family law.

Maintain a hobby or two so you can distract yourself from devastating losses in court. In family law, you often lose important court appearances when you think you have it down.

Have a supportive network of law school friends that will follow you into practice. When I need help in corporate law, criminal law, immigration law, I have some of my friends from law school working in reputable firms on quick dial. Likewise, if they have family law files, I often get the call first.

1. Hmm, this is hard to say. I think some qualities that run through most of us is that we are compassionate and patient people. Some of us are very good "people-person" and "good listeners." We might all have a high threshold tolerance for nonsense. In short, "we care about the wellbeing of others."

Like any other areas of law, family law is "learnable" so long as you have the stomach for this kind of work and these kinds of people as clients. Many lawyers in Bay St corporate worlds make the jump into family law and have been doing well. 

I can only speak for myself, I learned over time through mistakes and harsh lessons. I also had the privilege of working with some brilliant family law counsel in Toronto on some files that changed the law in family law.

Hard work and dedication will help you along the way, like in any difficult career. Finding a good mentor just softens the learning curve.

 

2. Look at objective evidence that cannot be disputed. Keep in mind that there is always multiple "sides" to this story. This also comes with experience. Discuss with colleagues at socials and in the office to catch your own blind spots and assumptions.

Know the other lawyer and his/her style of practice and presentation. If your opposing counsel is an honest, brilliant, and hardworking lawyer who does not put nonsense into affidavits; it's very likely that your client has not been telling you the whole story. A lot of credibility is conveyed by how precise and well-drafted an affidavit or factum is.

 

3. I think it's too late to end my suffering. But there might be hope for others yet.

Yes, the feeling of performing a killing "180" on a file is awesome. When your client has been losing motions after motions, then you suddenly win massively at trial; it's a great feeling.

Walking home late at night knowing that your client would receive the proper support and their children could enjoy a higher standard of living is rewarding too.

Oh did I mention gifts from appreciative clients? Yes, those are nice too around Christmas.

Thank you so much for sharing! I applied for law schools with the goal of becoming family law lawyer one day. Would you happen to have any experience working at family law clinics? If yes could you describe how it work out for you and the clients there? I have a strong interest going into legal aid. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aureliuse
  • Lawyer
6 hours ago, Asianinbanking said:

Thank you so much for sharing! I applied for law schools with the goal of becoming family law lawyer one day. Would you happen to have any experience working at family law clinics? If yes could you describe how it work out for you and the clients there? I have a strong interest going into legal aid. 

Take it one step at a time. Don't laser-beam into a practice area so soon because law school exposes you to many other practice opportunities and interesting courses. Family law also happens to be a practice area where many lawyers quit after 4-5 years due to how stressful it is working with clients, lawyers, and the court. You don't want to have to start from "0" in a new practice area whereas your friends who stayed in their practice area would have accumulated significant experience - it affects your pay; and a transition to a new area is not that simple.

Although I was not involved in a family law legal clinic (for example, UofT's Downtown Legal Services, Queen's Family Law Clinic, and Osgoode's CLASP), I was my law school's chapter leader for Pro Bono Students Ontario Family Law Project.

Overall, you will get hands-on experience working on the front lines with real people who experience real legal issues under the direct supervision of one or two legal counsel. You CANNOT give legal advice and any question you have should be directed to your supervisory counsel (because clients sometimes don't appreciate the difference between you as a student and a lawyer).

Some clinics carry limited files (like lawyers in private practice) whereas others don't and only offer summary advice or prepare documents only.

Note that Legal Aid family law files do not pay well (if you are on a certificate - your billable hours are limited). If you want to work for legal aid, you will most likely work as a duty counsel or at a Legal Aid funded legal clinic.

Please let me know if you have further questions.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

artsydork
  • Lawyer
19 hours ago, Asianinbanking said:

Thank you so much for sharing! I applied for law schools with the goal of becoming family law lawyer one day. Would you happen to have any experience working at family law clinics? If yes could you describe how it work out for you and the clients there? I have a strong interest going into legal aid. 

Western used to have a program where students prepared family law pleadings under the direction of London duty counsel. One student would be hired to lead the project/act as liason, with the remaining students volunteering in pairs to draft pleadings. Some students gave no fucks and others took it seriously and worked hard. The students learned how to interview clients and draft family pleadings.  That would be a great way of gaining experience in the field. As a family lawyer, if a CV came across my desk where a student had actual drafting experience and actually knew what the various forms were, I'd likely send out an offer to them over a "stronger" candidate.

You CAN build a legal aid practice (in Ontario). I did. In 2021, it was about a 70%/30% split (LAO/cash). Pretty sure my first 2 years were something ridiculous like 90% LAO, 10% private. My private practice is growing (last 5 months have been about equal with 3 months now higher in private billing) as I'm tired/don't want to be only dealing with high volume, but it absolutely can be done. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Arrowtotheny
  • Law School Admit
On 2/10/2022 at 6:10 PM, Aureliuse said:

I did my stints at two Bay Street family law boutiques then moving on to smaller full-service firms to run their family law practice. I have experience assisting high net worth families and those earning minimum wage.

(1) How important has your experience at Bay Street boutiques been for your overall career? Is there any compelling reason for someone interested in legal aid/sole practice to article or work at these firms to develop competency?

(2) Other than everything that has already been mentioned, how does one become a excellent family lawyer who can best serve their clients?

15 hours ago, artsydork said:

You CAN build a legal aid practice (in Ontario).

(3) Do you know if this is possible in BC? I heard legal aid in Ontario is better funded by a sizable margin.

(4) Is it easier to build your own family law practice in big cities or small towns?

Thanks in advance!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

artsydork
  • Lawyer

I'll leave it to BC lawyers to speak about their experience with Legal Aid. I honestly don't know how billing is their for family law. I know that Ontario criminal law tariffs are more generous than BC's, and assume it's the case for family law as well. 

Small towns can be tough markets to break into if you're an outsider. Word of mouth and local connections/network are really important, and there can be a sense of protectionism in smaller markets. Other counsel are leery are referring conflicts and are more guarded. Once you break in, though, I found it easier to build the practice. Larger cities have a lot of competition and it can be difficult to get your name out there given the sheer number of lawyers. Pros and cons to each! 

To also address your question to Aurielese, bay street experience is NOT necessary if you want to develop a legal aid practice. You can develop competency in the area at any boutique/small firm. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aureliuse
  • Lawyer
13 hours ago, Arrowtotheny said:

(1) How important has your experience at Bay Street boutiques been for your overall career? Is there any compelling reason for someone interested in legal aid/sole practice to article or work at these firms to develop competency?

(2) Other than everything that has already been mentioned, how does one become a excellent family lawyer who can best serve their clients?

Please note that my personal experience is not representative of all leading Bay St.-tier family law firms. Different firms run their practice differently. This also includes what kind of work a junior lawyer gets to do.

1. Let me be clear that you need not have Bay St family law experience to develop competencies. There are so many amazing family law lawyers outside of Bay St (who have never worked on Bay St) who could handle any kind of file and any kind of lawyer on the other side.

The Good: I did get a lot of experience watching top family lawyers argue motions, run voir dires, conduct questioning, run trials, and prep clients, including how the partners of large firms handle client management and intake etc. 

However, watching someone who is swimming is not the same as swimming yourself. I think I learned much more about family law doing it on my own. In other words, there is NO substitute in this world for personal experience.

Also, I think I need to constantly do something to reach top tier quality of advocacy. Practice, practice, practice! Prep prep prep! No amount of past exposure to top advocacy can be maintained if you do not engage in litigation/drafting/negotiation yourself AND CONSTANTLY.

I also get to see some top-tier legal drafting when opposing counsel is from another leading family law firm.

The clerical support network is also top notch, when I leave something with a clerk; I no longer have to worry about it.  They caught my errors and warned me of imminent deadlines which saved my rear more times than I can count.

You can collect almost all hours you bill.

Clients have financial resources to permit lawyers to employ rarely used litigation/discovery techniques and retain countless experts from various professions.

I learned how to handle difficult opposing counsel and some underhanded legal tactics.

 

The Meh:

You feel like a "cog" in a giant machine all the time. You don't feel a professional connection with any particular file because you are thrown into whichever file happens to need attention. This is not the same as you handling the file from the beginning until the end. You lose a bit of that "human" element of family law - which can be good and can be bad.

You rarely go as counsel of record, get to speak with clients independently, or make important decisions on files.

Your work hours are insanely long and the expectations of you get higher and higher with time. It can feel suffocating. Then there is the silly office politics at big firms.

Not every lawyer is "amazing." You often wonder how some lawyers can continue to practice the way they do. You can read into this however you like.

There are certain lawyer practices I disagree with and are questionable imho.

Personal rivalries between lawyers sometimes get in the way of settling a file. The letters back and forth can be nasty. Sometimes, in my view, lawyers lose focus of the client and latched onto trying to "one up" the other lawyer.

 

2. This is hard to answer because the family law bar is often divided on how family law should be practiced - for example, how aggressive should you be? When do you settle? Should you engage in practice X,Y,Z even if you are permitted?  It's like asking me "How to be an excellent parent?" You will get hundreds of different answers from hundreds of different parents.

I do not consider myself an excellent family lawyer. I still have a long way to go. There is so much I don't know how to do (or have never done it), and so much to learn.

Aside from the usual good qualities of a lawyer such as professionalism, competence, passion, integrity, hard work (and so forth...), I think what is also important in family law is resilience. This is a quality which I see manifest in all family law lawyers I respect.

You will lose cases for the most sympathetic and blameless client. You will have a judge who would not see things your way. You will get clients who backstab you when you least expect it. You will get judges who do not like your client. You will get opposing counsel who twists your words or is selectively tone deaf. You will get nasty reviews out of nowhere.

Often, I come home feeling awful. I feel like everything I have done, everything I have learned, and everything I have believed were pointless. Sometimes speaking with a colleague make me feel like "OMG, did I just realize that I F---ed up this file badly?"

Regardless of all these feelings, I still get up early in the morning to greet every new file that comes in like my "first" family law file that deserves my best efforts. No matter what the client said about me behind my back (which came into my ear), I still maintain my professional relationship and let "bygones be bygones."

I developed "easy to forget, easy to forgive" attitude toward opposing counsel, judges, and experts over past bad experiences because each file is not about our professional relationship, but it is about our respective clients; their children etc.

EDIT: One more point I feel like is important and it is a quality which I always get from fantastic family law lawyers imo.

The quality is "being courteous and polite."

Many fantastic family law lawyers are polite and courteous to the court, to opposing counsel, to opposing party, and to experts. This point CANNOT BE OVER-EMPHASIZED in family law. Far too many lawyers act like their clients' attack dog or act whichever way their clients tell them to act.

Great lawyers apologize when their client is clearly in the wrong, give reasonable indulgences, concede arguments/facts unfavorable to their cause, and advise the court of unfavorable caselaw against their case. They treat self-reps with a lot of respect and give them a lot of breathing room in the court.

In one long motion I argued, opposing counsel and I each conceded about 3-4 points, settled 2-3 minor issues, and went in with an Agreed Statement of Facts which permitted us to finish the motion wayyy ahead of time (20 minutes ahead of time) to the great pleasure of the presiding judge.

I had a trial where my client wanted to settle everything mid-trial. Opposing counsel and I both waived costs and settled the entire case which had a litigation history of 4+ years.

In short, "play nice and don't be a dick to people."

Edited by Aureliuse
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Phaedrus
  • Lawyer
15 hours ago, Arrowtotheny said:

(4) Is it easier to build your own family law practice in big cities or small towns?

From my observation, it can be challenging to develop a family law practice in small towns or rural communities (like Artsy said). You're more likely to have clients of modest means, or are clients who were given a legal certificate. Side note, if it isn't abundantly clear, legal aid certificates for family law matters never match the actual time put into files. It's a cost you have to eat, and you'll eat a lot more of it in the early stages of your career as you build your competency.

That said, many small towns lack a deep roster of family lawyers. There are 2 or 3 that everyone knows, and those lawyers have worked opposite each other for years - and people form opinions of who are good or bad. If you do good work, have reasonable billing practices, and can have good rapport, word will get around and the work will come naturally. In small towns, you're also more likely to find small/solo shops where the family lawyer is looking to retire in ~5 years. These can be great opportunities for mentorship, practice development, and client/practice inheritance - which can make it easier to give it a go.

Small town lawyers are more likely to be generalists too. Family might comprise 1/2 of your file load, while you dabble in Wills & Estates, Small Business, Municipal, and Civil Litigation. Over time, you might shift toward full-time family as word spreads and your practice grows. 

Edited by Phaedrus
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Asianinbanking
  • Law School Admit
On 2/23/2022 at 10:34 PM, Aureliuse said:

Take it one step at a time. Don't laser-beam into a practice area so soon because law school exposes you to many other practice opportunities and interesting courses. Family law also happens to be a practice area where many lawyers quit after 4-5 years due to how stressful it is working with clients, lawyers, and the court. You don't want to have to start from "0" in a new practice area whereas your friends who stayed in their practice area would have accumulated significant experience - it affects your pay; and a transition to a new area is not that simple.

Although I was not involved in a family law legal clinic (for example, UofT's Downtown Legal Services, Queen's Family Law Clinic, and Osgoode's CLASP), I was my law school's chapter leader for Pro Bono Students Ontario Family Law Project.

Overall, you will get hands-on experience working on the front lines with real people who experience real legal issues under the direct supervision of one or two legal counsel. You CANNOT give legal advice and any question you have should be directed to your supervisory counsel (because clients sometimes don't appreciate the difference between you as a student and a lawyer).

Some clinics carry limited files (like lawyers in private practice) whereas others don't and only offer summary advice or prepare documents only.

Note that Legal Aid family law files do not pay well (if you are on a certificate - your billable hours are limited). If you want to work for legal aid, you will most likely work as a duty counsel or at a Legal Aid funded legal clinic.

Please let me know if you have further questions.

Thank you so much for the honest review of family law practice area! I think I will keep your advice in mind and go into school this fall with an open mind and explore more 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Asianinbanking
  • Law School Admit
On 2/24/2022 at 11:15 AM, artsydork said:

Western used to have a program where students prepared family law pleadings under the direction of London duty counsel. One student would be hired to lead the project/act as liason, with the remaining students volunteering in pairs to draft pleadings. Some students gave no fucks and others took it seriously and worked hard. The students learned how to interview clients and draft family pleadings.  That would be a great way of gaining experience in the field. As a family lawyer, if a CV came across my desk where a student had actual drafting experience and actually knew what the various forms were, I'd likely send out an offer to them over a "stronger" candidate.

You CAN build a legal aid practice (in Ontario). I did. In 2021, it was about a 70%/30% split (LAO/cash). Pretty sure my first 2 years were something ridiculous like 90% LAO, 10% private. My private practice is growing (last 5 months have been about equal with 3 months now higher in private billing) as I'm tired/don't want to be only dealing with high volume, but it absolutely can be done. 

I will for sure explore what program Osgoode has to offer - the Western program sounds amazing and would definitely give me the hands on experience that I am looking for. And I appreciate you sharing your experience with your legal aid practice! I read through all the answers above and honestly the insights are really what I need as my first lesson from law school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Arrowtotheny
  • Law School Admit

Ditto! All the comments in this thread are so on point and thoughtful. Really look forward to law school if this is reflectively of the actual education.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

artsydork
  • Lawyer
On 2/26/2022 at 2:33 PM, Arrowtotheny said:

Ditto! All the comments in this thread are so on point and thoughtful. Really look forward to law school if this is reflectively of the actual education.

Family Law class is nothing like the practice. You really learn this field by doing. The class will give you a general/historical overview of the "big" concepts, like spousal support/child support and why they exist, perhaps jump into academic understandings of kinship and feminist/post modernist theories regarding paternity/family. Maybe you'll address best interests and some property issues related to it. I quite liked my family law and family property class though it gave me the foundational knowledge and articling/practice gave me the rest.

Family law is huge on client management, so getting those skills in is crucial, as well as being exposed to many different scenarios. Taking the classes + getting practical experience, even if only tangentially related, will be key.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Phaedrus
  • Lawyer

A brief thought. If you're attending school in the Province you want to practice, you should take Family Law even if you don't intend to practice family law ever. Issues covered in family intersect with a lot of other practice areas, so having familiarity with collateral issues such as asset division (including pensions) will help cover blind spots you might have other practice areas. It's nice to have a few extra questions to ask, and appreciate covering all the bases. The class is also a helpful primer for topics such as undue hardship, unjust enrichment, and other equitable claims. Learning how the law applies to and effects people is always a valuable skill. 

Oh, and it's nice to have some answer when you're inevitably asked questions while on vacation and trying your best to avoid talking about the law... 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

cherrytree
  • Articling Student
5 hours ago, Phaedrus said:

A brief thought. If you're attending school in the Province you want to practice, you should take Family Law even if you don't intend to practice family law ever. Issues covered in family intersect with a lot of other practice areas, so having familiarity with collateral issues such as asset division (including pensions) will help cover blind spots you might have other practice areas. It's nice to have a few extra questions to ask, and appreciate covering all the bases. The class is also a helpful primer for topics such as undue hardship, unjust enrichment, and other equitable claims. Learning how the law applies to and effects people is always a valuable skill. 

Oh, and it's nice to have some answer when you're inevitably asked questions while on vacation and trying your best to avoid talking about the law... 

Seconding this, I found some of the key cases taught in family law helpful to my understanding of trusts and equity

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By accessing this website, you agree to abide by our Terms of Use. YOU EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YOU WILL NOT CONSTRUE ANY POST ON THIS WEBSITE AS PROVIDING LEGAL ADVICE EVEN IF SUCH POST IS MADE BY A PERSON CLAIMING TO BE A LAWYER. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.