Epstein Cole Logo in Black
skip to main content

Philip M. Epstein

Founding Partner (1942 - 2021)


Philip M. Epstein (1942 - 2021)

C.M., O.Ont., Q.C., LL.D. (h.c.), LSM

Philip was a founding partner of the firm. Highly-respected by his peers and sought-after by clients, he was a preeminent litigator, mediator and arbitrator with an unparalleled record of success in resolving challenging family law cases.

As a distinguished litigator, Philip represented his clients at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. His body of reported decisions has had a material impact on the development of family law in Ontario.  He had a particular love of appellate advocacy, aware that precedent-setting jurisprudence was needed to ensure that family law kept up with the evolution of society.  

As a respected mediator and arbitrator, his smart, strategic, and creative problem-solving made him a favoured choice for dispute resolution.  His direct and evaluative approach resulted in practical, beneficial and cost-effective outcomes. With unmatched experience and expertise, Philip skillfully and decisively guided parties through the negotiation and settlement of their family law disputes outside of court.

During the course of his legal career, Philip was a frequent speaker, member of almost every national and provincial family law advisory group, Chair of the Family Law Section of the Ontario Bar Admission Course, Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and Chair of the Family Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association.  Philip was a Certified Mediator/Arbitrator of the ADR Institute of Ontario, a Certified Mediator with the Ontario Association for Family Mediators and a former Dispute Resolution Officer of the Superior Court of Ontario.  For many years, Philip was the Editor of the Reports of Family Law and the author of Epstein’s This Week in Family Law .

Philip has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including: Order of Canada, Member (2020), Order of Ontario (2018), honorary Doctor of Laws from the Law Society of Ontario (2020), Law Society Medal (1999).

Philip's lifelong acts of service and generosity, public, private, and anonymous, are legion.  His kindness,  sense of humour, and ability to relate to anyone made him instantly likeable and ultimately so beloved. 

Philip will be cherished by those who have had the opportunity to know and work with him.  His legacy as a pioneer in family law and Alternate Dispute Resolution will be admired for generations to come. 


  • Member, Order of Canada (2020)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws from Law Society of Ontario (2020)
  • Appointed to the Order of Ontario (2018)
  • Named "Most Frequently Recommended" family law lawyer by Lexpert
  • Alternate Dispute Resolution Excellence Award from the Ontario Bar Association (2012)
  • The Law Society of Upper Canada Medal for service to the profession (1999)
  • The Family Law Excellence Award from the Family Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association (1998)

Education, Admissions & Designations

  • Called to the Bar of Ontario (1970)
  • LL.B. from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law (1968)
  • Queen's Counsel (1982)
  • Law Society Medal (1999)
  • Order of Ontario (2018)
  • LL.D. (h.c.) (2020)
  • Member of the Order of Canada (C.M.) (2020)