My goal is to help you navigate the legal challenge of any family law matter and make the journey as smooth as possible.
Born in Yorkshire, England, I graduated from the College of Law, York and qualified as a lawyer in 2000.
I wanted to work in an area that had a human element, which has never diminished and after 17 years I decided to open my own firm and pursue the vision I had for how to be the best family lawyer I could be. Mincher Koeman opened its doors in March 2017, and I had the honour of embarking upon this journey with not only a colleague but someone I consider a friend who shared the same vision as me.
When I started to practice, I worked in Criminal Law both as a Defence Lawyer and then as a Crown Prosecutor. As a Criminal Lawyer, I appeared in court daily prosecuting and defending people charged with various offences. I learnt how to build a case and how to look for the weaknesses. This was invaluable training as I ran trials and presented in court daily. I received training in domestic violence, mental health challenges and drug and alcohol abuse, and the impact this can have on families and individuals who may be required to testify. This has proven invaluable in my family law practice, as I understand the different challenges that people face. No two cases or situations are ever the same. I understand how people react when they are scared, anxious, terrified of losing their relationship, their children or their financial security and who are afraid to face their new reality. I understand the need to listen but also to counsel clients to save them from themselves when their decisions are clouded by fear and emotion and how to help them be heard and to advocate for them with resolution.
I worked in the Magistrates Court in England advising the Magistrates and the District Judges on law and procedure and was the principal advisor to the Magistrates on Youth Criminal matters. This experience allowed me to watch some of the best lawyers I have seen present and I learnt how to present a compelling narrative, to apply the facts of any case to the law, to help take away people’s fear of the legal system and the anger, and to help even the most unfortunate people navigate the legal system with dignity and respect.
After moving to Canada in 2005, I worked in Family Law as Director’s Counsel for the Alberta Government, predominantly in the field of Child Protection and enforcement of Support as Counsel for the Director of Maintenance Enforcement. I expanded on my extensive trial experience, representing the Director in all levels of Court, working with mental health professionals and other experts.
It was essential to me when opening Mincher Koeman that we provided a working environment for all our staff to feel supported and for our clients to feel safe. I assist with all files in our office as a supervising lawyer, because as partners it was essential to both me and Andrew to ensure that even if we are not the primary lawyer, our staff have access to the knowledge and experience the two of us have acquired to ensure each client gets the very best representation available, and each lawyer gets the mentoring training and emotional support they need to excel in a challenging area of law.
This approach and philosophy have allowed Andrew and me to create a forward-thinking team who have come together using technology and their individual skills to ensure we can react quickly and efficiently but above all be effective as a group in our litigation and to help us to continue to evolve with the needs of families in turmoil.
As my experience and practise have grown, I have taken on more serious and complex parenting disputes and complex matrimonial property matters and Constitutional Challenges on Aboriginal issues. The legal issues in my cases have become more challenging and technical but the same fears for the clients still exist that were present in my very first case and regardless of how complex the file is from a legal perspective, I understand to each client their file is the most important to that person at that moment in time regardless of the issues.
I offer legal coaching and limited opinions. I know that a powerful client is a knowledgeable one, and I ensure our clients have timely and accurate advice about any positions they take. I also know a client must trust and feel heard by their lawyer. I understand my legal training is not enough. I must be the right fit for that client, the person the client trusts to deal with their most precious assets, their children, their savings and their future.
I have extensive trial and appellate experience, appearing before the Provincial Court, Court of Queen’s Bench and Court of Appeal, as well as assisting clients in mediation and arbitration. I have practiced exclusively in Family Law since 2007, and I have a particular interest in custody disputes including mobility, Hague applications (international child abduction), child protection involving parents, foster parents and extended family, aboriginal rights and Emergency Protection Orders as well as complex property and income matters. I have provided opinions to the High Court in England on Child Protection matters with an international perspective.
I am a trained Mediator and Parenting Coordinator, and I use my mediation and negotiation skills to assist my clients in whatever process best suits their needs. I also represent children who are involved in the Child Protection system, ensuring their voices are heard.
My experience has taught me that generally, family issues are usually better resolved outside a courtroom and litigation may be the last resort both in terms of the financial and emotional cost to the client. However, for some families avoiding litigation is simply not an option if one party is vehemently committed to preventing the dismantling of the relationship at every opportunity due to the hurt they are harbouring. I will work with my clients to attempt to resolve their issues in a family-focused manner, even when domestic violence or addiction issues are present, but I understand that this is not always possible and that hope that the other side will eventually see reason is not always a cost-effective strategy.
I am licensed to practice law in Alberta, England and Wales.
I have taught the Parenting after Separation and Parenting after Separation High Conflict courses. I have volunteered my time as a presenter, instructor and evaluator of the Bar Admission Course for the Legal Education Society of Alberta. I have volunteered at Women’s Shelters providing free legal advice to families unable to access other legal services and where appropriate I have provided pro bono services.
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