Laurie H. Pawlitza
Laurie is a partner in our Family Law Group, acting on behalf of a range of clients in disputes involving high incomes, significant property, and parenting issues. A results-oriented advocate, Laurie uses her practical and creative skills to find the most appropriate resolution for each client’s specific needs. She adeptly and comfortably appears before courts at all levels, and under appropriate circumstances, uses either mediation or arbitration as a means to resolve matters for her clients.
To complement her law practice, Laurie is a frequent contributor to the National Post and writes a regular column on current family law issues. In addition to her column in the National Post, Laurie’s family law expertise has been reflected through multiple articles in which she has been quoted, including in the Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, Canadian Living Magazine, Law Times, The Lawyers Weekly, Canadian Lawyer and Precedent Magazine. She also serves on the editorial board for the Canadian Lawyer Magazine. She is a sought-after speaker on a wide variety of law-related and professional issues in far-flung places, such as Australia, Ireland, Scotland, India, and throughout Canada.
As a way of giving back to the profession, Laurie has held numerous leadership positions within various legal associations. She was recently elected by the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) to act as Vice President of the Americas, a position that contributes to the CLA’s goal of advancing the rule of law in various areas in Commonwealth countries. On the heels of her election as Vice President, Laurie was appointed as co-chair of the Family Law Committee, whose mandate is to advance the practice of family law by promoting the modernization of legislation and alternative dispute resolution across the 54 Commonwealth countries. Between 2010 and 2012, Laurie served as the 63rd Treasurer (President) of the Law Society of Ontario, the regulator governing all lawyers and paralegals in Ontario. She was only the third woman since the founding of the Law Society in 1797 to hold this office. Throughout her time as an elected bencher (director) of the Law Society of Ontario (2003-2012), Laurie chaired projects related to legal education in Canada, and co-chaired the Judicia Project, which advanced women lawyers within the profession.
As a testament to her excellence in family law, Laurie has been repeatedly recognized by the most prominent legal directories in the profession, including Best Lawyers in Canada and The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory in the area of Family Law. She was also honoured as one of the “Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada” in 2012, and received an Honourary Doctorate from the Law Society of Ontario in the same year.
As an extension of her practice, Laurie co-founded The Minerva Group, an association of senior family law lawyers in Toronto who provide timely access to family law mediation, arbitration and litigation management services. Laurie brings an empathetic and innovative approach to conducting mediations, using foundational best practices for both mediation and arbitration, as developed by The Minerva Group. To book a mediation, arbitration or litigation management with Laurie, or to inquire further about her mediation or arbitration agreements, her rates and availability, please reach out to Michelle Fields.
Credentials & Affiliations
- Community Involvement
- Ontario Bar, 1986
- LLB, University of Saskatchewan, 1983
- BA, University of Saskatchewan, 1980
- Vice President, Americas, Commonwealth Lawyers Association (2023 - current)
- Executive Committee, Commonwealth Lawyers Association (2019 - current)
- Council Member, Commonwealth Lawyers Association (2017 - current)
- Member, Editorial Board, Canadian Lawyer (2021 - current)
- Law Society of Ontario, Treasurer Emeritus and Ex-Officio Member of Convocation (current)
- Federation of Law Societies of Canada (FLSC), Ontario Council Member (2012 - 2016)
- Chair, Canadian Common Law Degree Approval Committee (2012 - 2016)
- Member, National Admission Standards Steering Committee (FLSC) (2013 - 2016)
- Dean's Council, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan (2014 - current)
- The Law Society of Ontario, Treasurer (President), (regulator of all lawyers and paralegals in Ontario (2010 - 2012)
- The Law Society of Ontario, Elected Bencher (director) (2003 - 2012)
- The Law Society of Ontario, Chair, Professional Development and Competence (2006 - 2010)
- The Law Society of Ontario, Co-Chair, Retention of Women in Private Practice (Justicia Project) (2005 - 2014)
- The Law Society of Ontario, Vice-Chair, Government Relations (2005 - 2010)
- Director, LawPRO, Board of Directors
- Family Law Rules Committee (2001 - 2007)
- The Lawyers Club, Trustee (2000 - 2007)
- Ontario Bar Association - Family Law Section Executive (1999 - 2003)
- Adjunct Professor, Family Law Course, Queen’s University Faculty of Law, Winter 2022/2023
- Member, Board of Trustees, Royal Ontario Museum, 2012 - 2014
- Chair and Director, Casey House Foundation 1995 - 1999
- Chair and Regional Council Member, YMCA, 1988 - 2002