About Deborah Graham
Deborah partners with her clients, combining her expertise of family law and negotiation with her clients’ expertise on themselves, their spouses, and their children. She supports and empowers her clients to reach solutions that meet their short-term and long-term goals. She is strength focused and works towards settlements that make the best use of the resources in the family. Deborah is known as a creative, big picture thinker. She is able to synthesize a large volume of legal, financial and emotional information and distil the essence of the challenge at hand and ‘see the way through.’
Settlement focused from beginning to end, Deborah works exclusively on negotiating settlements through Collaborative Practice or Mediation, where the focus can be on ‘what matters most.’
With a degree in commerce, Deborah has a solid background for working with clients or spouses with owner-operated businesses or franchises. She has extensive experience in working with complex property settlements and high income support cases. She has established strong working relationships with a network of corporate lawyers, accountants, valuators and financial planners to ensure that settlements are practical and tax efficient.
Deborah’s other undergraduate major was psychology. She is sensitive to the difficult emotions involved in separation and is responsive to the needs of her clients.
Deborah is child-focused and creative, ensuring that settlements reached support the well being of the children. She understands firsthand the challenges and joys of raising a child in a two-home family and draws upon her own experiences in having developed a strong parenting partnership with her son’s father.
Deborah has been practicing exclusively in the area of family law for almost thirty years and has received advanced training in Negotiation, Mediation, Arbitration and Collaborative Practice.
Committed to education and sharing her expertise, Deborah has spoken and led workshops at the annual conferences of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Ontario Collaborative Lawyer’s Federation, the Ontario Association of Family Mediators, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the Certified Divorce Financial Analysts and the World Congress on the Rights of Children and Family Law. Deborah is a faculty member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. She was also adjunct faculty at Osgoode Hall Law School where she taught Collaborative Lawyering. She is a guest speaker at Osgoode's LLM program and their Certificate in Family Law where she teaches consensual dispute resolution.
Deborah is passionate about ‘spreading the word’ about Collaborative Practice and Mediation and helping settlement minded professionals build their settlement practices. In 2017, she was the recipient of the Ontario Association of Collaborative Professional's James MacDonald award.
She is the owner of The Settlement Clinic which supports settlement professionals in spreading the word, growing their settlement practices and doing better and better work. She has run strategic planning retreats for several Ontario collaborative groups including Ottawa, Simcoe County and York.
Deborah was on the board of directors for the Ontario Collaborative Lawyer’s Federation and chaired the Outreach Program. Previously, she sat on the board of directors of Collaborative Practice Toronto and chaired the Professional Development Committee.
Deborah has been quoted with respect to Collaborative Practice in the Globe and Mail and Chatelaine magazine. She was featured in Esteem, a Canadian Magazine for Professional Women, for her compassionate approach to assisting separating families. She has also been interviewed about Collaborative Practice on CBC Ontario Today and Roger’s Toronto Speaks – Legal Advice. She has been featured in several videos for the public produced by the Ontario Collaborative Lawyers Federation and the Peel Halton Collaborative Family Law Practice Group. She created an Advanced Settlement Advocacy video for collaborative professionals produced by the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.
When not practicing family law, Deborah is either ballroom dancing or writing. She has an upcoming book (May 2020) for clients who are separating or divorcing and are using mediation and collaborative practice which she has co-written with a family professional and financial professional. Her first book, Dance Me Beautiful, tells her journey to her ‘authentic self’ through ballroom dancing. Her second book, The Magic Comes Back, is an action packed magical adventure story for 6 – 9 year olds.