Michael is a skilled and strategic litigator, negotiator, and problem solver who provides tactical, sensible, and proactive advice to his clients. He meticulously prepares clients for mediations, hearings, arbitrations, and trials, taking the necessary time to explain the finer details of each case. He is experienced in dealing with cases at all levels of court, including the Divisional Court, the Ontario Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada.
As a partner at Epstein Cole, Michael’s practice focuses on family law and the defence of professional negligence claims against family law lawyers as Preferred Counsel for the lawyer's insurer, LawPRO. He regularly deals with complex family law parenting and financial issues involving appeals, contested facts, inter-jurisdictional matters, abduction, parent-child contact problems, stock options, private businesses, pensions, bankruptcy, and more. Michael works to minimize conflict, focusing on problem solving, loss prevention, and repairs, often working on behalf of LawPRO, lawyers, and other professionals.
Michael has been recognized by Best Lawyers as 2023 Lawyer of the Year in Family Law - Toronto.
Michael is an Associate Editor of the Reports of Family Law, and the co-author of "Franks & Zalev, This Week in Family Law", a weekly family law newsletter published in FamilySource by WestlawNext Canada. He has been appointed as a Dispute Resolution Officer for the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. He is also the co-chair of the annual Walsh Family Law Negotiation Competition that is run by the Ontario Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and he regularly presents at continuing legal education programs about family law and professional negligence issues.
Michael’s previous work as a clerk for the Judges of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has given him unique insight into how contentious decisions are made in court and this experience has positively shaped how he approaches all legal matters. For Michael, the first step is determining how best to set up the case, build a factual record, and synthesize it all without sacrificing quality. He is quick to assess the state of any legal matter, effectively evaluating how to achieve the most desirable outcome for his clients.
- 2023 "Lawyer of the Year" (Toronto) in Family Law - Best Lawyers in Canada
- Recognized by Best Lawyers in Family Law
Publications & Speaking Engagements
- "All You Need to Know About Life Insurance" - Presentation at the Ontario Bar Association's Family Law Institute - Serving the Family: Critical Insights on Issues Impacting Families in Corporate, Estates and Family Law (2021)
- "Examination-in-Chief of Expert Witnesses" – Presentation at Conduct of the Family Law Trial (2021)
- "Family Law, a Year in Review" – Presentation at the Thunder Bay Law Association Fall Conference (2021)
- "Alternative Dispute Resolution In Family Law" - Presentation at the Thunder Bay Law Association Fall Conference (2021)
- "Perspectives from Advocates" – Presentation at the Thunder Bay Law Association Fall Conference (2020)
- "Private Enforcement of Support Orders – How to?" – Presentation at Family Law Basics (2020)
- "Family Law, a Year in Review" – Presentation at the Thunder Bay Law Association Fall Conference (2019)
- "Private Enforcement of Support Orders – How to?" – Presentation at the Family Law Toolkit to Enhance your Practice (2019)
- "The Latest Developments in Family Law" – Presentation at the Family Law Refresher (2018)
- "Essentials of Trial Preparation" – Presentation at the Conduct of the Family Law Trial (2018)
- "The Latest On Life Insurance Disputes After Separation and Death" - Presentation at Critical Issues at the Intersection of Family Law, and Trust and Estate Law (2018)
- "Settlement Privilege and Family Law" (Or: What I Wish I'd Known before I Sent That Letter) – Presentation at the Six Minute Family Law Lawyer (2017)
- "Co-Chair of 2017 Ontario Bar Association's Family Law Institute" (The Pitfalls of Family Law and How to Avoid Them)
- "Co-Chair of the 2016 Ontario Bar Association's Family Law Institute" (As the Family Law World Turns: Critical Advice for Family Lawyers)
- Associate Editor of the Reports of Family Law; Co-Author of Franks & Zalev,This Week in Family Law
- Ontario Bar Association
- Canadian Bar Association
- The Advocates' Society
- The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
Education, Admissions & Designations
- Called to the Bar of Ontario (2005)
- LL.B. from the University of Western Ontario, Faculty of Law (2004)
- B.A. (Economics and Media Information and Technoculture) from the University of Western Ontario (2001)