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Suzanne S. Williams – Lawyer

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Suzanne is an experienced family lawyer who grew up in Saskatchewan and lived in Ontario before moving to the West Coast in 1995.  She’s a certified family law collaborative lawyer, mediator and child interviewer.

Prior to joining Brown Henderson Melbye Suzanne worked for a BC Crown Corporation, Canada’s Department of Justice, a large national law firm (Vancouver office), an international child rights and development organization based at a university, and her own practice.  She draws on this rich background, including as an experienced family lawyer, to bring a practical approach to helping clients.  

Suzanne is a problem solver who helps you craft solutions to your family law challenges that uphold what’s important to you.  She prefers to work in consensual dispute resolution such as collaborative law and mediation processes, rather than formal court proceedings, but has a depth of experience in both.  As an experienced family lawyer, she strives to help families conserve their resources and minimize conflict, rather than waste their precious time, energy and money.

Suzanne devotes time to initiatives that advance the rights and well being of children such as creating the  Canadian Bar Association’s Child Rights Toolkit, launching the BC Hear the Child Society and Roster, and soon introducing the low bono/pro bono collaborative law initiative to Victoria through the Collaborative Family Separation Professionals group in Victoria that she co-chairs.  

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 in 1995 and then BC in 1996.

 

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 since 1996
  • 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