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Suzanne S. Williams – Lawyer

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Suzanne helps clients advance the best interests of children, structure agreements, and resolve disputes.  She draws on a diverse background acquired over the past 20 years in family law as well as child rights and development, Aboriginal, public and commercial law.   Suzanne is also a member of the B.C. Hear the Child Society and Child Interviewer Roster.

Prior to joining BHM Lawyers Suzanne worked in her own legal practice, for Canada’s Department of Justice, for a large national law firm, and with an international non-governmental organization based at a university.   Suzanne has advised a wide array of clients to resolve legal challenges, negotiate and draft agreements as well as appear before trial and appeal courts.  Her diverse legal experience also includes commercial and securities litigation and 15 years of Aboriginal law expertise.

Over the past two decades Suzanne has worked in child rights and protection, often working with multi-disciplinary teams in Canada and internationally to strengthen the way governments and professionals implement the legal rights of children.  This included leading work for more than 10 years in BC focused on advancing children’s rights within the family justice system and improving how adults hear from children and consider their views in decision-making.  Her research, education, training, and pilot practice on hearing the views of children were instrumental in developing the provisions contained in the Family Law Act as well as establishing the BC Hear the Child Society in 2010 and the BC Child Interviewer Roster in 2012.

More recently Suzanne co-chaired with the Honourable Justice Donna J. Martinson QC (retired) a ground breaking Access to Justice for Children Conference with the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, and is working with the Canadian Bar Association’s National Children’s Law Committee to develop a Child Rights Toolkit to improve how the rights of children are respected and implemented in Canada.

Suzanne received her law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1993 where she was awarded the McNeil Sinclair award for outstanding oral advocacy, and her Bachelor of Arts (honours) from the University of Western Ontario before being called to the bar in Ontario and then BC.  She also has in-depth mediation training from the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, the Justice Institute of BC, and private providers, and is also trained in Collaborative Law.

Throughout the experience of separation Suzanne was compassionate, professional, thorough and very service oriented. My separation was complex, emotional and involved a child with disabilities; in order to reach an agreement I needed a humanistic yet assertive lawyer with experience in negotiating an agreement that was the very best for my child. Suzanne far exceeded my expectations; I would not hesitate recommending her.

Professional Highlights (Law)

  • Member, Law Society of British Columbia
  • Former Member, Law Society of Upper Canada (1995 – 2013)
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association
  • Member, Victoria Bar Association
  • Program Chair and Presenter, Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia
  • Founder and Member,  BC Hear the Child Society and Child Interviewer Roster
  • Guest Lecturer, University of Victoria Faculty of Law
  • Invited Presenter: National Judicial Institute of Canada, Family Law Program; Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Annual Conference; Canadian Federation of Law Societies Family Law Conference; Third World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children; World Congress on Family Law and Child Rights; Native Investment and Trade Association; Pacific and Business Law Institute

Professional Highlights (Child Rights and Development) 

  • Associate, Former Legal and Deputy Director, International Institute for Child Rights and Development
  • Expert and Team Lead, Strengthening Justice Systems, European Union & Russian Federal Children’s Ombudsman
  • Director, Child Protection Partnership, Brazil and Thailand
  • Director, Meaningful Child Participation in Family Justice Processes
  • Invited Expert, International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children
  • Researcher and Advisor, Plan International, Because I am a Girl (2010)
  • Witness, Canada’s Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, Canada’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Community Involvement Highlights

  • Board of Directors Member, Organized Response to Child Abuse Society
  • Member, Victoria Chapter Groyourbiz
  • Former Board of Directors Member: James Bay Child Care Society; Centre for Integrated Healing (now Inspire Health), UNICEF BC
  • Founding Director: BC Hear the Child Society; International Institute for Child Rights and Development