Joanne has been licensed to practice law in Ontario since 1983 and in New Brunswick since 1984. She is Certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Family Law; is recognized by her peers in Best Lawyers; is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, one of about 50 Canadians in this international group; is accredited to practice family law Collaboratively; is a mediator and a member of the Ontario Association of Family Mediators; is accredited to Screen for Domestic Violence and Power Imbalance. She served for years on the Executive of the Ontario Bar Association, Family Law section; is a regular writer and speaker on Family Law issues for lawyers and the public; was a guest speaker on What She Said Radio. For 17 years Joanne practiced and managed a leading boutique family law firm in Toronto; and she is presently the Practice Group Leader of the Lerners LLP family law group in Toronto.
Joanne works closely with, and gets along with, her clients. She works hard to listen carefully, be forthright, reliable, responsive, creative, and accountable. What distinguishes her is often her ‘common sense’, ability to get along with others, and her ability to get to the deal. Most of Joanne’s clients return for advice, and refer friends and family, which has made her 35 years in practice a privilege.
Joanne is known for managing bullies, being sensible and plain spoken, creative problem solving, and getting to the deal that works not only in law but in life for her clients. In the collaborative context she brings not only the years of family law experience, but also real comfort by working openly with other professionals and the emotional, parenting, and financial issues that tend to challenge getting the deal done.
Her listening and hearing skills are well developed, as is her ability to read the room. Joanne does not lose sight of the fact that even though the process is collaborative, she is at the table to give legal advice, and she does not blur the lines to become friend or counsellor. Clients appreciate Joanne’s forthright approach. They do not wonder where they are or where they are going because they participate actively in the process and the decision taking, with her advice and often her guidance.
Joanne believes in setting the participants up for success, not failure. As a result, the deals to which her clients come tend to ‘work’ so life can move forward with lifted burdens and restored hope.