Negotiate, Mediate, Litigate: Best Practices In High Conflict Family Law Matters |

Negotiate, Mediate, Litigate: Best Practices In High Conflict Family Law Matters

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Professionalism (Ethics, etc.): 1.5
100 minutes
Cheryl Goldhart
Linda M. Ippolito
Michael Kleinman
Audrey Shecter
Toronto Lawyers Association (TLA)
100 minutes
$129.00 plus tax
Includes Handouts

All family lawyers encounter high-conflict cases.  Whether it’s the timing of the separation or intensity of the conflict, high-conflict separations can hijack a family lawyer’s practice.

With a number of different approaches to handling high-conflict files, the family lawyer must be ever discerning. From the moment a client walks in your office, you need to figure out the best way possible to proceed:

  • Negotiation is appropriate in certain cases.
  • Mediation can be perfect in other cases. 
  • Or, should you litigate right away?

How do you decide and what factors are important to consider?

Join our panel of experienced lawyers who will answer these questions and help you understand processes that are available throughout the life of a high-conflict file or one that becomes high-conflict.


Cheryl Goldhart

Cheryl Goldhart is certified as a Specialist in Family Law by the Law Society of Upper Canada and has practiced exclusively in family law since she was called to the bar in 1987. She specializes in negotiating complex agreements encompassing all areas of family law and litigates in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Ontario Court of Justice, and the Court of Appeal. She is also an accomplished mediator and arbitrator and is an OAFM accredited family mediator.

Cheryl is the past Chair of the Ontario Bar Association, Family Law Executive, and a past member of the Canadian Bar Association (Federal), Family Law Executive. She is Chair of the Dispute Resolution Officer Committee in Toronto and has worked as a Dispute Resolution Officer at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for more than 15 years. Cheryl is a past member of the Panel of the Children’s Lawyer of Ontario, representing children in custody, access and child protection cases. She is a member of the Bench and Bar Committee of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Toronto). She is the director of the Board of the Advocates’ Society.

She has been a family law instructor for the Bar Admission Course of the Law Society of Upper Canada and is a frequent lecturer on various topics in family law. Over her years of practice, Cheryl has written numerous articles for the Bar Admission Course, professional journals, periodicals and magazines. Cheryl has been certified as a “Best Lawyer in Canada” for family law since 2008 and in 2014 was the only family lawyer in Ontario to be awarded the Lexpert Zenith Award. Cheryl was awarded the OBA Award of Excellence in Family Law in 2016 in memory of James McLeod.

Dr. Linda M. Ippolito

Linda Ippolito is a classical pianist, litigation lawyer, dispute resolution practitioner, teacher, and scholar, whose passion lies in the intersection between music and conflict.

She studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music. She has performed throughout North American and Europe as a soloist in recital and with orchestra, as a vocal collaborator and duo pianist, and continues to actively perform.

Linda holds a LL.B., LL.M. in Alternative Dispute Resolution, and a Ph.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. She is a founding and senior partner at the Toronto-based law firm, Sheridan, Ippolito & Associates. Linda has argued cases before every level of Court in Ontario and before various administrative tribunals. A certified collaborative family practitioner and mediator, Linda teaches advocacy, negotiation, and dispute resolution at Queens Law School, Osgoode Hall Law School, and Osgoode Professional Development. Her academic work focuses on shifting dominant culture disputing metaphors and mindsets from war and games to the musical ensemble, and building creative capacities through the use of music-based teaching and learning modalities.

Michael Kleinman

Called to the Bar of Ontario in 1994, after completing B.A. (Hons.) in 1988, and B.C.L., LL.B. degrees in 1992, all from McGill University. Proficient in English and French. Member in good standing of Law Society of Upper Canada, Ontario Bar Association, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and ADR Institute of Ontario.

Articled and practised with Epstein, Cole LLP, 1992-1998. Practised in association with Gregory W. Cooper, 1998-2010. Currently a principal of Kleinman Gordon | Family Law. Appointed a Dispute Resolution Officer (D.R.O.) of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Toronto, 2012.

Frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education programs including, most recently: Law Society of Upper Canada’s Six Minute Family Law Lawyer: “Grandparent Access Claims in Ontario”, 2015; Osgoode Professional Development’s 5th Annual Recent Developments and Complex Issues in Child and Spousal Support: “ ‘Re-Partnering’ and Spousal Support Variation under the Divorce Act”, 2015; Law Society of Upper Canada’s Advanced Issues in Spousal Support, 2016 (C0-Chair); and, Law Society of Upper Canada’s Advanced Issues in Domestic Contracts in Family Law, 2017 (Panelist).

Practice restricted to Family Law advocacy, mediation and arbitration.

Audrey Shecter

Audrey is a partner at Beard Winter LLP and practices exclusively in the area of family law. She is certified as a Specialist in Family Law by the Law Society of Upper Canada. She represents and assists parties with matters such as property division, parenting and access, child support, spousal support, cohabitation agreements and marriage contracts. She regularly appears before all levels of court in Ontario on behalf of her clients, as well as at mediations and arbitrations. She has specific expertise in the area of private adoptions.

Audrey received her LL.B. from Queen’s University in 1998 and was called to the Ontario bar in 2000. In addition, Audrey holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in history, and a Master of Library Science (M.L.S.) degree.

Audrey has moderated family law nutshells for the Toronto Lawyers’ Association for the past 3 years. She is also a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Canadian Bar Association’s Family Law Section, and the Advocates’ Society and acts as an Advisor for the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Coach and Advisor Network (CAN) for lawyers and paralegals.

Audrey is married and is the proud mother of three children.

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