76 Expert Insight LM93-18 www. lawyer-monthly .com You approach cases with a holistic approach – can you share with Lawyer Monthly to what this entails and how you undergo such an approach? Divorce is one of life’s most stressful events and many people going through divorce feel devastated. During this challenging time, clients must make decisions that affect their children, where they will live and their financial wellbeing for years to come – essentially everything important in their life. I approach my clients holistically by looking at their entire wellbeing, not just their legal situation. This means that I not only provide them with topnotch legal expertise, but I ensure that they have the other support they need to get through this challenging time as best as possible. My background in coaching allows me to help clients set goals, move through personal or emotional roadblocks and make more effective decisions during this turbulent time. I also assist them in the aftermath of divorce with such issues as moving forward, returning to the dating scene or returning to the workforce after many years at home. I approach each client individually and their legal and coaching needs will be different. How does this make a difference with your clients? My clients tell me that they feel FAMILY LAW very supported through this process. They are making more effective decisions on the major areas of their life affected by divorce because their needs on a variety of fronts are being addressed. I am comfortable dealing with emotional clients and this ensures better communication and a stronger lawyer client relationship. How does professional coaching tie in with your work as a family lawyer? How does this bring you to more of an advantage? Many of my clients arrive feeling very lost and unhappy, overwhelmed with the emotional and practical upheaval of divorce or other family ruptures. My approach helps clients better heal and move forward with their lives so that they can make more effective decisions on their legal issues and are less likely to get caught up in the past unhealthy dynamics of their broken relationship. Coaching helps clients move forward, remove unhealthy roadblocks and design a roadmap to where they would like to be. Family law clients all too often can get stuck in the past and coaching really helps them to break out of the rut they may be in and move forward with positive changes that they designed themselves with the assistance of a coach. Can you name three things which are important factors to remember when undergoing a difficult situation such as divorce or separation from an abusive relationship? I have significant training and experience working with abused partners as I was a prosecutor for over 15 years and the Domestic Violence Lead in my office for a significant portion of that time. The three most important factors I advise clients to remember are: 1)Abuse is not your fault. It is never okay to abuse someone, and you did nothing to deserve this. 2)Safety is important. Research shows that the most dangerous and volatile time for a victim of domestic abuse is when there is a recent separation. Take your safety seriously and tap into the resources out there for abused partners. 3)Don’t minimise the effect that partner abuse has on your children. You may think that they don’t know what is going on if they are not present when it occurs. Children are much smarter and much more aware of what is going on with their parents than most parents realise. Abuse affects them emotionally and children often grow into adults who model the abuser/victim behaviour. LM Moving Forward after Divorce: How Lawyers Can Help Leanne Townsend, Family Lawyer & Coach, King Law Chambers 43 Front Street East, Suite 400, Toronto, ON, M5E 1B3 | Main: (888) 405-5003 | Direct: (416) 931-5811 Fax: (416) 364-9705 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Web: www.leannetownsend.ca Leanne Townsend Leanne is a graduate of degrees in political sci- ence, education, and law. She has practiced law for over 20 years in- cluding obtaining exten- sive experience working with abused women and children as the Domestic Violence Team Lead in the Crown Attorney’s Of- fice. She worked as an Assistant Crown Attorney prosecuting a full range of criminal cases for over 15 years and has signifi- cant trial experience in both the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice. Leanne has completed profes- sional coaching courses and is currently working towards obtaining her designation as a Certified Family Mediator. Firm Profile Leanne Townsend pro- vides a unique combina- tion of family or criminal law legal services and coaching using a holistic approach. Helping cli- ents as a lawyer, support- ive life coach, or both. Leanne Townsend has a unique approach to tackling the stressful and emotional nature of divorce. Not only does she guide her clients through the legal process, but simultaneously guides them through the personal roadblocks her clients often face, from dating to finding their self-confidence.