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Bio

Brian is frequently retained on cases involving complex or highly contested parenting (custody and access) matters, cases with sophisticated financial dimensions (including corporate, trust, and other business and investment structures), and cases involving international disputes and negotiations.

Brian began his legal career summering, articling, and then briefly practicing corporate law, commercial law, and securities law at Torys LLP in Toronto. He then practiced as a tax lawyer for several years at Thorsteinssons LLP in Toronto, working on both structuring and litigation matters with a significant focus on trusts. A Past President of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), Ontario Chapter, member of the AFCC (international) Task Force on Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluations, past member of the joint Ontario Court of Justice-Superior Court of Justice Custody Assessments Task Force, and member of various other justice committees and task forces involving parenting matters, Brian is often retained on complex custody and access cases, including:  cases involving mobility/relocation; international abduction and cases involving other jurisdictional elements; the hearing of the child's voice in the proceeding; issues related to intimate partner violence; cases with concurrent children’s aid society involvement and/or criminal charges; issues relating to substance abuse; and cases where a party is exhibiting features of a personality disorder (narcissistic; borderline; antisocial; etc.) that has a troublesome effect upon the case and/or its resolution.

Brian utilizes whatever mode or modes of dispute resolution best fit the particular case: litigation; mediation; arbitration; negotiation.  He is also fully trained, and takes on select cases, in the Collaborative Practice process model. Brian has extensive training in screening for power imbalances including intimate partner violence, as well as training in mediation and parenting coordination. He is also retained to arbitrate disputes between parties privately, outside the court process.

Brian is a frequent conference speaker and conference chair/moderator on family law topics in Ontario, delivering lectures, talks, workshops, and webinars on substantive and professionalism topics for the Law Society of Ontario, AFCC, the Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Bar Association, and other organizations.

Recognition

  • Best Lawyers in Canada in Family Law

Academic Prizes, Scholarships, and Awards in Law School:

  • J.S.D. Tory Research and Writing Award
  • Borden & Elliot Essay in Constitutional Law
  • Ivan Cleveland Rand Scholarship (twice)
  • Walter Williston Essay Prize in Civil Liberties
  • Cassels, Brock & Blackwell Constitutional Law Annual Award
  • The Part-Time LL.M. Program in Constitutional Law Prize

Speaking Engagements & Lectures

Each year Brian accepts select speaking invitations for various conferences, workshops, webinars, etc.  A list of his prior speaking engagements, as well as his publications, can be found on his curriculum vitaehere

Professional Involvement

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), Ontario Chapter:

  • Board of Directors (2017 to present)
  • Past-President (present)
  • President (2018 – 2019)
  • President-Elect (2017-2018)
  • Treasurer (2017 – present)
  • Secretary (2016 – 2017)
  • Executive Committee
  • Annual Conference Committee
  • Access to Justice Committee
  • Membership Committee
  • Chapter Council Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Walsh Event (Family Law Moot and Negotiation Competition) Committee
  • Tenth Anniversary Committee

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) (International organization):

  • Member, Task Force on Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluations

Program Organizer and Program Moderator Work (apart from AFCC):

  • Law Society of Ontario, Best Practice Limited Scope Retainers (forthcoming; planned for November 2020) — Program Co-Chair and Panel Moderator/Discussant/Presenter
  • Law Society of Ontario, Advanced Strategies to Resolve Family Law Files Part II:  Settling the Family Law Matter Outside the Court Process (2019) — Program Chair and Program Moderator
  • Law Society of Ontario, Advanced Strategies to Resolve Family Law Files Part I:  Settling the Family Law Matter Within the Court Process (2018) — Program Chair and Program Moderator
  • Ontario Bar Association:  Ethics and Professionalism Issues for Family Lawyers (2014) — Program Co-Chair and Panel Moderator
  • Law Society of Upper Canada:  Hot Topics in Ethics for Family Lawyers (2013) — Program Chair and Panel Moderator

Justice Committee and Similar Work (Partial):

  • Member, Steering Committee, Ontario Family Law Limited Scope Services Project (2018 - present)
  • Member, AFCC Ontario Parenting Plan Guidelines Task Force
  • Member, Ontario Court of Justice-Superior Court of Justice Assessments Task Force (and member of several subcommittees of this Task Force)
  • Co-Course Designer and Presenter/Voice Actor, Law Society of Upper Canada Ethical Issues in Family Law e-Course (2014)
  • Member-at-Large, Ontario Bar Association Family Law Section Executive Committee 2013 - 2014; 2014 - 2015
  • Ontario Superior Court of Justice-Ontario Court of Justice Mandatory Information Program (MIP) Presenter (361 University Avenue, Toronto)

Education, Admissions & Designations

  • Called to the Bar of Ontario (2000)
  • LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School (1998). Winner of various academic prizes.  
  • B.A. from Trinity College at the University of Toronto (1995).  With Distinction.