After practicing all aspects of family law and civil litigation since 1983, Doug’s practice now focuses on mediation.
Doug has been involved in mediation since initial training in 1993. He has spoken locally and nationally at family law and mediation conferences and is a past president of both Family Mediation Nova Scotia and Family Mediation Canada. He is also a founding member and a past president of The Association of Collaborative Family Law Lawyers of Nova Scotia. His initial mediation training provided by the Justice Institute of British Columbia encompassed 91 hours of instruction and a competency assessment. As of 2018, he has received a further 209 hours of ongoing professional development in the fields of mediation, interest-based negotiation and collaborative family law.
Doug brings a wealth of experience in family law to his mediation practice. Since 1983, in addition to traditional family law clients, he has represented the Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia (in negligence claims against lawyers practicing family law) and both the Public Trustee of Nova Scotia and the Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia (in matrimonial matters involving estates and persons with legal disabilities). He has dealt with all issues arising from separation and divorce for clients throughout Nova Scotia and has been retained in complex matrimonial matters involving significant business assets and family trusts in Newfoundland and Labrador and in New Brunswick. In addition to practice before all levels of Courts in Nova Scotia, he conducted trials before the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador and the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench.
Over the first 20 years of his career, Doug’s civil litigation experience included property disputes, serious personal injury matters, and estate litigation. He also served as an arbitrator for the provincial Department of Justice, dealing with claims for compensation arising from allegations of institutional abuse.
Following on his undergraduate degree in developmental psychology, Doug has been active in parent education and the impact upon children of separation and divorce. With the Center for Divorce Education at the University of Ohio, he coordinated what was believed to be the first “parent education” program provided by a law firm. He contributed to the formation of the Parent Information Program running at the NS Supreme Court, Family Division and served on a national committee dealing with the best practice issues in this area. Doug served on the Supreme Court Family Division Liaison Committee.
While family law and civil litigation have been the focus of Doug’s career, he has worked with corporate and tax issues throughout his practice and he understands how these issues impact family law files and financial settlements. He has authored and delivered Continuing Legal Education presentations on claims against business assets and the impact and use of family trusts, as well as various corporate and tax structures in advancing and defending these claims. He presented at the CBA 2017 Annual Conference on Dispute Resolution Options in Family Law Matters.
Doug has been listed in the respected peer review publication “Best Lawyers” as a Best Lawyer in Family Law annually since it was first published in Canada in 2006. He has been recognized as a Best Lawyer in Family Law Mediation in every edition since 2013. As of 2018, he is recognized as a Best Lawyer in the overall category of Alternate Dispute Resolution.
As a negotiator, mediator or litigator I see myself as a “fixer”. I believe in farmer’s logic and practical solutions that work on the ground. The beauty of mediation is that options can be fully explored, and tested against all relevant information, so that the “solution” selected is one to which both parties are committed. They implement the solution recognizing they have done all they can to meet their respective needs.