Career and History

David M. Morneau Jr.: My Career and Professional History

Since 1999, I have practised law with empathy, compassion and integrity, helping families through challenging circumstances with considerable care. I apply innovation and creativity in assisting clients in determining what they need to overcome the obstacles they are facing. I empower them to do so with dignity, honour and a focus on the future and communication, ensuring that they have all information and advice to make informed decisions.

I am a formally trained and Accredited Family Mediator (through OAFM) and a Collaborative Legal Professional (through Collaborative Divorce Waterloo Region and OACP).

Morneau Family Law & Legal Innovation

My approach to family law

My process focusses on you, your family and working towards a solution that works for your family, avoiding the need to go to court.

  • 1
    Personalized consultation to design a holistic process specific to your family’s needs and your readiness, values, objectives, hopes and worries
  • 2
    Gathering information that will assist your family
  • 3
    Generating options for consideration specific to your family
  • 4
    Making decisions best suited for your family after consideration of options
  • 5
    Creating an agreement unique to your family.

Why a different approach is required

I have observed and analyzed our legal systems and has spoken widely about reform and change. I have acted as counsel for parents and children in the family justice system – and it was often punishing for all involved.

The traditional family justice system is heavily reliant on court. It tends to be punitive and retributive, predicated on a notional concept of “winning” and an attempt to apportion blame. It is often referred to as “all-or-nothing” and “zero sum”.

In 2016, I focused my expertise and my energy towards an integrated communications process. My process uses mediation, collaborative law and other techniques to help people navigate conflict, resolve issues and facilitate agreements. It also allows them to maintain their own control and autonomy.

This is not to say that there is no place for court. In some circumstances, it is the only option. I can help you determine that. However, when one considers that 95%-99% of court cases are resolved before trial, it seemed like court was often viewed as a first resort option rather than a last resort.

My approach to conflict also required an expansion and evolution of my knowledge: becoming emotionally intelligent and trauma-responsive. Recognizing patterns of communication in conflict and how they arise.

Years of experience, education and research have prepared me for the journey I am now on.

I changed my approach and, briefly, my career

I have always worked within the family justice system. I was a successful litigator for about 17 years – and I usually “won”. Yet, I was able to see the devastation that this approach often created. From financial and emotional bankruptcy to the loss of life, the toll can sometimes be great.

Like many others, I realized that there was no winning and the casualties were often the families the system was meant to assist. After watching family after family go through what was often an unnecessary sacrifice, I walked away from litigation. I realized that we could do better.

After seeing little desire for things to change, in 2020 I even walked away from practising law completely. That break was short-lived. My departure gave me an opportunity to analyze how I would show up on my return. I gained a renewed sense of purpose.

I say this all the time; I work in a human business. And yet, the usual approach to resolving family law issues tended and still tends to be anything but. This is not to minimize the important role that lawyers play, but I want to see this role enhanced, augmented, made better and more holistic.

My hope is that we can transform the practice of law. We have that ability. I hope to restore the humanity in this human system one situation, one family, one dispute at a time. We would all be better and healthier for it!

THAT is why I returned to law, and that’s what I work toward in my practice each and every day.

Find out more about Morneau Family Law & Legal Innovation

View David’s profile on the Collaborative Divorce Waterloo Region website.