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Stay up-to-date on news and events from our Young Advocates' Standing Committee (YASC) with Keeping Tabs.

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KEEPING TABS<br />

The Advocates’ Society<br />

WINTER <strong>2023</strong>


What the TWEET is this?<br />

When you see this icon, throughout the publication,<br />

click on it to see what members are tweeting about.<br />

CONTENTS<br />

The Advocates’ Society is proud to announce a<br />

new online mentoring program exclusively for TAS members.<br />

A key goal of this new mentoring program is to create a simple way for our Junior Members to<br />

feel more connected to their professional community and obtain some career advice from more<br />

experienced members of the bar. This program model is convenient, efficient and effective:<br />

√<br />

√<br />

√<br />

No long-term commitments.<br />

No extensive questionnaires or matching.<br />

No heavy agendas, minute taking or long-term planning.<br />

NEW TAS<br />

MENTORING<br />

PORTAL<br />

Just simple connection and conversation for junior lawyers to get some tips and connect with<br />

someone new.<br />

04<br />

07<br />

11<br />

16<br />

18<br />

20<br />

Chair Chat<br />

Claudia Cappuccitti, Dyer Brown LLP<br />

Trial Advocacy For Junior Litigators<br />

Flora Yu, Waddell Phillips<br />

The Law of Trolling: Publication Bans in<br />

Regulatory Proceedings<br />

Evan Rankin, Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP<br />

Fit to practice: Four tips for keeping in shape,<br />

even when busy<br />

Byron Taylor-Conboy, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP<br />

The Litigator’s Guide to Transfer Pricing Trials<br />

Nicole Lynx, Deloitte Legal Canada LLP<br />

Interview with Sarah Strathopolous<br />

Aly Haji, Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP<br />

More information is available on<br />

the TAS mentoring<br />

website page.<br />

Mentee registration for TAS Junior Members<br />

is now open! Click here!<br />

****At this time, the program is only available in English but we are working with Mentorship Rocket to build a bilingual (English and French) site for later in <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Editor: Khrystina McMillan, Ontario Securities Commission | kmcmillan@osc.gov.on.ca<br />

Deputy Editor: Sania Chaudhry, Forte Workplace Law | sania@fortelaw.ca<br />

<strong>Keeping</strong> <strong>Tabs</strong> Editorial Team: Eric Blay, Pallett Valo LLP, Nina Butz, Bennett Jones LLP, Michael Ding, WeirFoulds LLP, Aly Haji, Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP, and Sean<br />

Petrou, McCarthy Tétrault LLP<br />

The Young Advocates’ Standing Committee (“YASC”) is a standing committee of The Advocates’ Society with a mandate to be a voice for young advocates (advocates<br />

who are ten years of call or fewer) within the Society and within the profession. We do this through networking/mentoring events, by publishing articles by and<br />

for young advocates, and by raising issues of concern to young advocates as we work with the Society’s Board of Directors. The opinions expressed by individual<br />

authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Advocates’ Society.<br />

2 3


CHAIR CHAT<br />

Chair Chat<br />

Claudia Cappuccitti, Dyer Brown LLP<br />

Traditionally the start of the new year is a<br />

time for reflection and self-improvement.<br />

In this edition of <strong>Keeping</strong> <strong>Tabs</strong> we have<br />

some inspiration to kick-start your year.<br />

Flora Yu provides her top trial advocacy<br />

tips for junior litigators. We have an interview<br />

with the ever-inspiring Sarah Strathopolous,<br />

winner of the inaugural Patrick D.<br />

Schmidt Future of Family Law Award. Byron<br />

Taylor-Conboy has unlocked the secret to<br />

finding both more time in the day and the<br />

energy to get everything done. Evan Rankin<br />

walks us through publication bans in regulatory<br />

proceedings. Finally, Nicole Lynx<br />

gives us a run-down of the TAS event, The<br />

Litigator’s Guide to Transfer Pricing Trials.<br />

If, after making it though this edition of<br />

<strong>Keeping</strong> <strong>Tabs</strong>, you’re hungry for more inspiration<br />

and self-improvement, please<br />

consider applying for a spot on the Young<br />

Advocates’ Standing Committee (YASC).<br />

YASC is the voice of young advocates within<br />

The Advocates’ Society and in the profession<br />

at large. We are a community dedicated<br />

to providing young advocates with a<br />

platform and opportunities for mentoring,<br />

networking, and skills-improvement. We<br />

are committed to improving diversity and<br />

equity within profession, across the country.<br />

YASC is also, simply, a lot of fun. Applications<br />

open late January at advocates.ca<br />

to those within their first ten years of practice.<br />

Please do not hesitate to reach out to<br />

me at cc@dyerbrownlaw.com for more information.<br />

You can also continue you journey to<br />

self-improvement by contributing to an<br />

upcoming edition of <strong>Keeping</strong> <strong>Tabs</strong>. Please<br />

email our editor, Khrystina McMillan, at<br />

kmcmillan@osc.gov.on.ca for more details.<br />

If you’re looking to get involved, you<br />

can join our Volunteer Roster by reaching<br />

out to Katrina Crocker at katrina.crocker@<br />

queensu.ca.<br />

Be sure to check your inboxes or follow<br />

The Advocates’ Society on Twitter, LinkedIn,<br />

and Facebook for the latest on our events<br />

and initiatives.<br />

LINK TO SIGN-UP FORM<br />

PBO HOTLINE<br />

Key YASC contact: Nina Butz, 416-777-5521, butzn@bennettjones.com<br />

4<br />

5


TRIAL ADVOCACY<br />

Trial Advocacy for Junior<br />

Litigators<br />

Flora Yu, Waddell Phillips<br />

Despite being in my first year of call, I have<br />

had the opportunity to act as second chair in<br />

three major civil trials. Trials are a “final exam”<br />

of sorts, testing nearly every major lesson in<br />

advocacy learned in law school and our day-today<br />

practice as litigators. In this article I would<br />

like to share some of the insights I have gained<br />

through trial and error (mind the pun) on how<br />

to support your team through this gruelling<br />

process, and come out as a better litigator.<br />

Plan, but not too far in advance<br />

Time is a precious commodity in civil trials. Planning<br />

in advance helps ease the pressure, but trials<br />

are unpredictable: preparing too much and<br />

too far in advance may result in otherwise excellent<br />

work becoming obsolete and the client<br />

being billed unnecessarily. This is why it is important<br />

to work backwards from a big-picture<br />

timeline with direction from senior lawyers who<br />

can fill you in on the overall trial strategy, the<br />

core arguments on which to focus your efforts,<br />

and the areas that will most likely be subject to<br />

significant change.<br />

With that guidance from senior counsel, you<br />

should prepare an outline of closing submissions<br />

in advance. A helpful outline should contain<br />

the legal arguments and excerpts of the<br />

documentary evidence on which you are most<br />

likely to rely, with clearly demarcated spaces<br />

where you require more research or evidentiary<br />

support. It is important to identify gaps in<br />

your case early and communicate them to senior<br />

lawyers, as these gaps may impact their<br />

strategy at trial.<br />

You should also brush up on key evidentiary<br />

issues that may come up at trial including<br />

hearsay, other anticipated objections (and responses<br />

to anticipated objections), impeaching<br />

witnesses, expert qualifications, and business<br />

records. Investing in the latest edition of Sopinka’s<br />

Law of Evidence in Canada (or other similar<br />

resource) will yield guaranteed returns at trial.<br />

6 7


Discovery will come back to haunt<br />

(or reward) you<br />

Procedural mistakes and sharp practice at<br />

the discovery stage can resurface at trial<br />

resulting in real consequences to your client’s<br />

case. Improper questions, as well as<br />

incomplete answers and productions, can<br />

result in sanctions by the court such as adverse<br />

costs, an inability to tender favourable<br />

evidence, or the striking out of pleadings.<br />

It is important both as advocates and<br />

officers of the court to take our responsibilities<br />

seriously, and ensure fulsome, proper<br />

examinations and documentary production<br />

in advance of trial.<br />

Carve out your role and take ownership<br />

Being second chair can be a valuable opportunity<br />

to establish yourself as the trusted<br />

“right hand” to the senior counsel on<br />

your team and venture outside your comfort<br />

zone to develop new skills. As a junior<br />

litigator, you are in an ideal position to proactively<br />

coordinate with your colleagues<br />

to ensure that there is no duplication of<br />

work or confusion of responsibilities. The<br />

time required for essential tasks such as<br />

inserting footnotes, swearing affidavits, or<br />

uploading documents to Caselines is often<br />

underestimated. Exercising leadership by<br />

managing these details may be one of the<br />

best ways in which you can contribute to<br />

the team and prevent last-minute disasters.<br />

Aside from providing timely high-quality<br />

work product, you may also be able to<br />

carve out smaller, discrete aspects of the<br />

case over which you can take ownership.<br />

For example, you can become an “expert”<br />

in key legal issues of the case and prepare<br />

case summaries or bench briefs (see below)<br />

for quick reference when the need arises.<br />

There may be an opportunity for you to argue<br />

a motion or prepare and/or examine<br />

a witness. It is a good practice to express<br />

your interest well in advance and schedule<br />

time for senior counsel to supervise and review<br />

your work.<br />

Set up a system for in-trial<br />

communication<br />

Prior to trial, you will need to coordinate<br />

with your teammates to find a minimally<br />

intrusive system for conveying real-time information.<br />

For example, imagine that you<br />

notice a mistake that needs prompt correction<br />

as another member of your team is<br />

making submissions to court, or you have<br />

a case or document that is helpful to the<br />

point being made. Whether it is a tug on<br />

the robe, post-its, emails, or messaging<br />

platforms, you should devise a system that<br />

will quickly get the message across with<br />

minimal disturbance.<br />

Brief the bench<br />

I credit my mentor, John Kingman Phillips,<br />

for introducing me to the concept of “bench<br />

briefs” – minimalistic memos on a discrete<br />

issue. These documents are designed to be<br />

digested in seconds and can be submitted to<br />

court in a moment’s notice. Because bench<br />

briefs lay out discrete issues in an intuitive,<br />

user-friendly way, they can be indispensable<br />

tools for counsel and court alike.<br />

No rest for the wicked<br />

It probably comes as no surprise that trials<br />

are fast-paced, labour-intensive, and highly<br />

unpredictable. There never seems to be<br />

enough time to accomplish all the tasks to<br />

the exacting standards that we set for ourselves.<br />

A few times I have had to turn in a<br />

factum, on unfamiliar topics that must be<br />

served within 24 hours.<br />

Despite all the positive developments<br />

in our industry when it comes to mental<br />

health and self-care and the best efforts<br />

of our colleagues to share our burdens,<br />

trials are still undeniably taxing. Even if<br />

you manage to find downtime, you may<br />

not be able to summon the mental or<br />

emotional energy to be a good partner,<br />

parent, child, sibling, or friend. It is important<br />

to give your loved ones a headsup<br />

prior to entering this tough period and<br />

to give yourself lots of grace for not accomplishing<br />

everything to a standard of<br />

perfection. It may be tempting to forego<br />

sleep, nutrition, and exercise in favour of<br />

short-term productivity. However, your<br />

physical health is vital to your ability to<br />

undergo a long trial. Try to find opportunities<br />

to recharge and reward yourself<br />

whenever you can.<br />

Ed: Looking for more tips on being second chair? The Advocates’ Society’s Second Chair not Second Fiddle program is<br />

available on-demand here.<br />

8 9


CASE BRIEF<br />

The Law of Trolling:<br />

Publication Bans in<br />

Regulatory Proceedings<br />

Evan Rankin, 1 Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP<br />

Where regulatory personnel and potential witnesses might face aggressive online trolling as a result<br />

of their involvement in an investigation, can a publication ban be obtained over their names?<br />

According to a recent decision by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice the answer is that witnesses’<br />

identities may be protected, but not those of “public officials.”<br />

Background<br />

In College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario v O’Connor, Ontario’s regulator of physicians<br />

sought publication bans over the name of a Medical Officer of Health (“Dr X”) who had reported<br />

concerns about another physician to the College, the names of two other physicians who had provided<br />

information to the College (the “Potential Witnesses”), as well as the names of the College’s<br />

investigators (the “Investigators”). The motion occurred in the context of several applications for<br />

statutory injunctions which were heard together.<br />

The request was prompted in part by a concern that if the names of these individuals became<br />

public, they would be subjected to intense online harassment. This concern was not baseless. The<br />

physician being investigated, Dr. Phillips, maintained a substantial Twitter following and had earlier<br />

disclosed the names of the Potential Witnesses in a tweet. Several Twitter users began tagging<br />

the Potential Witnesses in Tweets featuring statements such as “You’re complicit in Nuremberg<br />

code violations. The trials will come for you. I will make sure of it” and “Murderer.”<br />

The Decision<br />

Publication bans are only granted in Canada if: (1) court openness poses a serious risk to an important<br />

public interest; (2) the order sought is necessary to prevent this serious risk to the iden-<br />

10 11


tified interest because reasonably alternative<br />

measures will not prevent this risk; and, (3) as<br />

a matter of proportionality, the benefits of the<br />

order outweigh its negative effects. 2<br />

With respect to Dr. X and the Potential Witnesses,<br />

the College argued the important public interests<br />

at stake were (i) encouraging the reporting<br />

of misconduct, (ii) fostering witness candour,<br />

and (iii) ensuring the integrity of the College’s<br />

investigation. With respect to its Investigators,<br />

the College argued that the important public<br />

interest at stake was ensuring the efficiency of<br />

the College’s enforcement function.<br />

With respect to the Potential Witnesses, Justice<br />

Morgan accepted that there is a public interest<br />

in encouraging the identification and reporting<br />

of misconduct. He held that fostering<br />

witness candour was also an important public<br />

interest which could justify a limitation on court<br />

openness, and noted that “[p]atients and physicians<br />

alike require some assurance that they<br />

can register complaints and report to the [College]<br />

without public exposure.” 3 Of significance,<br />

Justice Morgan noted that “even the spectre<br />

of harassment” could have a chilling effect on<br />

witness candour. 4 The “spectre of harassment”<br />

language suggests that a publication ban may be available where online harassment has not yet<br />

occurred, but is reasonably anticipated.<br />

However, insofar as Dr. X and the Investigators were concerned, the examples of Twitter trolling<br />

provided by the College did not fit the bill because Dr. X and the College’s investigators were<br />

public officials who “must bear a higher level of public accountability in carrying out their duties.” 5<br />

Weighed against this interest, the trolling in evidence should be dismissed as mere name calling: 6<br />

“The social media name calling identified by the Applicant is excessive<br />

and insulting, but it is not fear-inducing. Without some perspective<br />

on such hyperbole, “the inflation of language…detracts from<br />

precise consideration of what is involved here”: […] If being called a<br />

“Nazi” on Twitter could actually paralyze regulatory officials in the<br />

course of their duties, one can only imagine what it would do to a<br />

Prime Minister or provincial Premier who are targeted non-stop. In<br />

the current social media-dominated world, all of government would<br />

have to operate in secret in order to avoid such language.”<br />

12 13


Using a publication ban to shield the identities of Dr. X and the Investigators was too great a cost to free<br />

expression because anonymizing their names prevented public scrutiny of their performance. 7<br />

Takeaways<br />

It appears that the identities of witnesses in regulatory proceedings can now be made subject to publication<br />

bans where online trolling and harassment is occurring, and perhaps even where it is just reasonably<br />

anticipated. Though the O’Connor decision appears to be the first time that an Ontario Court<br />

has found that “encouraging the reporting of misconduct” and “fostering witness candour” justified imposing<br />

a publication ban in the context of a regulatory proceeding, 8 the Divisional Court has recently<br />

accepted Justice Morgan’s approach in another case involving the College. 9<br />

On the other hand, even severe online trolling directed at regulatory participants – including accusations<br />

of Nazism – may be insufficient to warrant a publication ban if those individuals are “public officials”,<br />

a term which will need to be fleshed out in future cases.<br />

Notes<br />

1. Evan Rankin together with his colleague Peter Wardle served as counsel to the College in this case.<br />

2. Sherman Estate v Donovan, 2021 SCC 25 at para 38.<br />

3. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario v O’Connor, 2022 ONSC 195 at para 59 [O’Connor].<br />

4. O’Connor at para 60.<br />

5. O’Connor at para 62.<br />

6. O’Connor at paras 71-72.<br />

7. O’Connor at para 62.<br />

8. Although the Divisional Court has previously been willing to entertain “fostering witness candour” as a “theoretical” important public interest in Turner<br />

v Death Investigation Council, 2021 ONSC 6625 (Div Ct) at para 56.<br />

9. Kilian v College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, 2022 ONSC 5931 (Div Ct) at para 94.<br />

14 15


PHYSICAL HEALTH<br />

Fit to practice: Four tips for<br />

keeping in shape, even<br />

when busy<br />

Byron Taylor-Conboy, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP<br />

We get it, physical exercise is important. But finding time and energy for it<br />

can be a real challenge, especially for us young advocates. Here are four<br />

concrete steps you can take right now to become more physically active:<br />

Focus on small gains<br />

Some exercise is better than no exercise.<br />

Remember this when you’re tempted to skip<br />

the gym or that yoga class because you don’t<br />

have a full hour for it. Instead, try going to<br />

the gym for 30 minutes or going for a brisk<br />

walk around the office—you’d be surprised<br />

how beneficial that little bit of exercise can<br />

be.<br />

Early bird gets the worm<br />

Yes, it’s cold, it’s dark, the bed is warm. But<br />

for most of us the early morning is the only<br />

time when life and work won’t get in the way.<br />

If you’re serious about carving out time for<br />

taking care of your body—at least 2.5 hours<br />

of moderate-to-strenuous activity a week,<br />

say the experts—consider moving up your<br />

alarm.<br />

Develop your routine<br />

It’s one thing to get 2.5 hours of exercise<br />

one week; it’s another thing to get it week<br />

after week. What you need is a routine that<br />

aligns with your practice and lifestyle. Try<br />

experimenting to find what works best. I<br />

love running at lunch or after work, but I find<br />

it hard to do so consistently on weekdays.<br />

And while I’m not exactly thrilled about my<br />

morning routine, it works—and that’s what<br />

counts.<br />

Create microhabits<br />

According to the Harvard Business Review,<br />

one of the keys to forging a new habit is to<br />

develop “microhabits,” which are incremental<br />

adjustments that get you closer to your<br />

goals. These microhabits have worked for<br />

me:<br />

1. Setting out my running gear at bedtime<br />

the night before a morning run;<br />

2. Programming my smart speakers to command<br />

me to go to bed earlier; and<br />

3. Making friends with the regulars at the<br />

gym.<br />

Kick off <strong>2023</strong> with YOU being your priority.<br />

Share your tips for fitting fitness into your<br />

week @Advocates_Soc using #TASLawTips<br />

16 17


EVENT REPORT<br />

The Litigator’s Guide to<br />

Transfer Pricing Trials<br />

Nicole Lynx, Deloitte Legal Canada LLP<br />

On November 17, 2022, the TAS TAX Litigation<br />

Practice Group held a vibrant session<br />

devoted to the intricacies of transfer pricing<br />

litigation. “The Litigator’s Guide to Transfer<br />

Pricing Trials” featured speakers from both<br />

private practice and the bench who discussed<br />

the nuances of conducting transfer<br />

pricing trials as well as tips for effective advocacy.<br />

The session was moderated by Marie-Claude<br />

Marcil of EY Law LLP.<br />

The first portion of the session focused<br />

on top tips for litigators conducting transfer<br />

pricing trials and Osler’s Amanda Heale provided<br />

a helpful recap of the transfer pricing<br />

rules and their operation.<br />

The dispute resolution process for resolving<br />

transfer pricing matters can be confusing<br />

as there are multiple resolution options<br />

that are available which have competing<br />

timelines. A taxpayer can opt for relief under<br />

an applicable tax treaty, utilize the traditional<br />

domestic appeals and tax litigation<br />

processes or both. However, if a practitioner<br />

is not aware of how these different<br />

regimes operate, certain deadlines may be<br />

missed. Daniel Sandler of EY Law LLP delved<br />

into the different dispute resolution processes,<br />

clarifying the different options that<br />

are available to taxpayers as well as their<br />

pros and cons.<br />

Of particular interest was a group discussion<br />

on timely issues such as litigation<br />

of hybrid debt matters, the benefits of case<br />

management and whether there should be<br />

mandatory mediation in transfer pricing appeals.<br />

Expert witnesses often play a significant<br />

role in transfer pricing litigation. When<br />

choosing an expert witness, it is particularly<br />

important to properly vet potential candidates<br />

in order to ensure that they have<br />

relevant credentials and experience, strong<br />

communication skills and an appropriate<br />

demeanor.<br />

BLG’s Laurie Goldbach engaged in a lively<br />

discussion with the Honourable former<br />

Justice D’auray regarding the role of expert<br />

witnesses in consideration of the Tax Court<br />

Rules, and in practice, as well as the effectiveness<br />

of expert witnesses in the context<br />

of transfer pricing appeals. Of note was the<br />

commentary regarding best practices for<br />

managing expert witnesses and the degree<br />

of assistance that counsel can provide in<br />

drafting expert reports and witness preparation.<br />

The second portion of the session featured<br />

another special guest, the Honorable<br />

Justice Boyle. During a convivial fireside<br />

chat with Olivier Fournier of Deloitte Legal<br />

LLP, J. Boyle provided his thoughts on topics<br />

such as the role of counsel in designing<br />

questions to ask experts, the use of expert<br />

evidence to encourage out of court resolution<br />

and principled bases for settlement in<br />

transfer pricing cases.<br />

Get Involved!<br />

Interested in getting more involved with TAS?<br />

Applications are now being accepted for<br />

our Young Advocates’ Standing Committee<br />

(YASC).<br />

The Young Advocates’ Standing Committee<br />

seeks engaged, hard-working volunteers to<br />

promote the interests of young advocates<br />

(within their first ten years of practice) by<br />

planning and implementing mentoring/<br />

networking programs, administering YASC’s<br />

publication (<strong>Keeping</strong> <strong>Tabs</strong>) and participating<br />

in the work of The Advocates’ Society.<br />

The Society welcomes applications to YASC<br />

from Society members who are in their first<br />

ten years of practice. Successful applicants<br />

will serve a two-year term starting June <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

Parental leave will be accommodated.<br />

Deadline to apply: March 3, <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

APPLY FOR YASC <strong>2023</strong>/24 TERM<br />

CLICK HERE<br />

Questions? Please contact Chris Hunter at<br />

ckhunter@torys.com<br />

18 19


INTERVIEW<br />

Sarah Strathopolous, Recipient<br />

of the Patrick D. Schmidt<br />

Future of Family Law Award<br />

Q. How did your practice in family law begin, and how has it evolved?<br />

A. I began my family law practice in a boutique family law firm that focused on intense litigation. I was<br />

immersed in my practice, working very long hours. The experience I gained was immeasurable. As<br />

my practice has evolved, I am also now able to act as a parenting coordinator, mediator, or arbitrator<br />

to help families resolve disputes in a cost-effective and thoughtful way. This has provided a nice balance<br />

with the continued litigation side of my practice.<br />

Compiled by Aly Haji, Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP<br />

20<br />

Sarah Strathopolous is a Partner at Epstein Cole LLP, where she practises in all areas of family law. Sarah<br />

was the inaugural recipient of The Advocates’ Society’s Patrick D. Schmidt Future of Family Law Award<br />

in 2022. This award honours the legacy of Patrick D. Schmidt and promotes excellence in the profession<br />

by supporting junior lawyers in their first ten years of practice who have chosen to dedicate their practice<br />

to family law, and have demonstrated excellence advocacy, civility and giving back to the profession<br />

through teaching and/or mentoring.<br />

Q. What drew you to family law?<br />

A. As cliché as it sounds, like many young lawyers coming out of law school, I was drawn to family law as<br />

a way of making an observable impact in clients’ lives. And, frankly, family law files are just so interesting.<br />

Every case is different. Every day is different.<br />

Q. As a family lawyer, what challenges do you face in your practice and how do you manage them?<br />

A. Three main challenges come to mind: For me, perhaps the most challenging aspect of practicing<br />

family law has been working on files where I represent the spouse that is acting badly. However,<br />

I have come to realize that, in these cases, I can make just as much of a positive impact –<br />

and perhaps more – by working with my client to minimize, or even prevent, this type of conduct<br />

from continuing.<br />

Second, family law is one of the areas of law most impacted by emotions. I have found that<br />

keeping advocacy focused on long-term goals, not getting bogged down with irrelevant drama or<br />

positioning, and carefully crafting arguments in a way that does not immediately set off defensive-<br />

21


ness from the opposing side, greatly help to de-escalate the emotion.<br />

Finally, family law files are not just about one incident or one transaction: they involve all aspects<br />

of a family’s life and are ever-evolving as children age, market conditions vary, etc. This<br />

makes family law interesting, but it also requires an immense amount of organization and planning<br />

to ensure that advocacy strategies are constantly being reassessed and updated.<br />

Q. What can young advocates do to help improve access to justice?<br />

A. I believe it is important for young advocates to devote even a small amount of their time towards<br />

access to justice initiatives – whether that is pro bono work, or “low-bono” work, volunteering at legal<br />

clinics, etc. I, myself, volunteer with the Family Justice Center and Luke’s Place, and that experience<br />

has highlighted how much of a need there is for these programs. Even a few hours a month can have<br />

a profound impact.<br />

Q. What role has mentorship played in your career?<br />

A. I have been incredibly fortunate to have worked under, and been mentored by, some of the<br />

best practitioners in this area, who were willing to devote the time to helping me grow professionally<br />

and personally including Alfred Mamo, Harold Niman, Philip Epstein, Ken Cole and many<br />

others. I have also found mentorship through opposing counsel on certain files. Patrick Schmidt<br />

was one of these mentors and I had the great fortune of being challenged by him and being able<br />

to learn from him on files. I am extremely humbled to be the inaugural recipient of the “Patrick D.<br />

Schmidt Future of Family Law Award” and I view it as a responsibility to practice law in a manner<br />

that carry on even a small part of the tremendous contributions Pat made to our profession.<br />

Q. What advocacy tips do you have for young advocates?<br />

A. The difference between a good lawyer and a great lawyer is preparation and practice. Hard<br />

work pays off, and your knowledge will be your greatest source of confidence and persuasion.<br />

You need to be confident in your advocacy before you can gain other people’s confidence in you.<br />

Q. What do you feel are the most important traits of a good mentor to a young advocate?<br />

A. I think there are two important traits: First, mentors should go beyond helping their mentees succeed.<br />

They should also encourage their mentees to pay it forward by helping to develop the next generation<br />

of young advocates to ensure the profession continues to flourish long-term.<br />

Second, experience and knowledge of not only substantive law, but also legal processes and advocacy<br />

techniques. This is important because practicing law requires not just ability to quickly assess<br />

challenges and to develop and adapt strategies to address them.<br />

Q. What have been some memorable high and low points of your career? What learnings<br />

did you take from these experiences and how have they led you to this milestone?<br />

A. My most memorable high point was reading the decision following my first contested motion, where<br />

a controlling husband was attempting to use the justice system to continue his control. The decision<br />

had a profound impact on the wife and the children and was my first experience with how rewarding<br />

this job can be.<br />

The most memorable low point happened early in my practice. I returned from my honeymoon to an<br />

arbitration that was not properly prepared. The stress of feeling unprepared was significant, as was the<br />

intensity of preparing an entire arbitration in a short time period. This experience, however, made me<br />

acutely aware of the need to be prepared; to prepare early and to prepare more than might be necessary.<br />

This is a lesson I have not forgotten and has served me well.<br />

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