The Role of Family Law Counsel

  • April 11, 2023
  • Michael J. Marra

Recently on the Family Lawyers’ Facebook Group a discussion arose based on the practice of some lawyers to market themselves as a lawyer who “will fight for the client’s rights."

This brings to mind the comments of Chief Justice Strathy in Sean Fine’s article in the Globe and Mail on July 18, 2022, titled “Ontario Chief Justice says ideal of ‘gladiator’ courtroom lawyer destructive to mental health." 

In June 2020 while at WEL Partners, I wrote a blog, “Time to Revisit Role of Counsel” based on Justice Kurz’s reasons in Alsawwah v. Afifi, 2020 ONSC 2883. Those reasons were widely shared amongst the family law bar and generated some discussion.                

The “lawyer as a gladiator” discussion retriggered my own deeply held views and observations regarding the role of counsel in family law disputes, and I updated my June 2020 thoughts in a piece in Vol 36, Number 3 of the Ontario Family Law Reporter. I am hoping that sharing some of these thoughts within the OBA Family Law Section will generate a re-thinking of the role of counsel in family law.