Devry Smith Frank Defends Ethics in Family Law
November 23rd, 2012 by John P. Schuman

A case in which the Devry Smith Frank Family Law Group was involved has received national attention. See the articles: Court finds former mayoral candidate ‘sandbagged’ opposing counsel and Family Law Lawyer Ordered to Pay Costs Personally. While this decision, shows that the lawyers at Devry Smith Frank LLP win even when the other side breaks the rules, the way this case has come to public attention is not something lawyers should celebrate. Lawyers who do not follow the rules do a disservice to the proper administration of the courts, the children involved in family law disputes, their clients and the legal profession. That these events occur, and that judges have to intervene to stop them, is a sad situation.

Equally important are Justice Sherr’s comments:

[71] It is this court’s observation that the overwhelming majority of family law lawyers conduct themselves with integrity, collegiality and professionalism. They do so in the midst of highly-charged emotional situations. Mr. Schuman’s conduct in this case is an example of what lawyers are supposed to do in difficult cases. He kept Mr. Achampong informed about the status of the case in the Ontario Court of Justice. He tried to arrange early resolution. He tried to facilitate service of the court documents promptly, in a manner sensitive to the mother. He was trying to arrange an orderly process for resolution of the temporary parenting issues.

Justice Sherr also laid out what family lawyers should do in their cases. It is important for family lawyers to be a positive force in the lives of their client, the children involved, and, where possible, the entire family. It was important for the DSF Family Law Group to reinforce to the Courts, and the public, that we believe family law should be practiced in a positive, not a destructive, manner. We want our clients to finish off their separation or divorce and start their new lives with a positive outlook.



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