The Canadian Bar Association
Family

Katherine Robinson: family lawyer with a wide range of experience

For Toronto family lawyer Katherine Robinson, there was never really a question about dedicating her practice to all aspects of family law.

Despite her undergraduate background in genetic science, Robinson was passionate about working with people and hearing their stories, and she knew family law was for her.

“It’s about a desire to help people. It’s the client contact,” says Robinson, an associate lawyer with Shulman Law Firm who was called to the bar in 2012.

While Robinson says she uses none of her unique scientific knowledge in her practice, it’s the skillset that sets her apart.

“I use zero science,” she says with a laugh. “I suppose where my science background benefits me is it’s analytical. It’s more the skills than the content.”

Most lawyers with undergraduate degrees in the arts must polish up their abilities in logic while obtaining a law degree. For Robinson, it already came naturally.

Robinson, who received both her law degree (J.D.) and a bachelor of science in genetics from the University of Western Ontario, says she has been focused on family law from the outset of her career.

While in law school, she participated in the Family Law Project with Pro Bono Students Canada, providing assistance to unrepresented family law litigants. She is also a member of the Family Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association.

She now works on a variety of cases, ranging from child custody issues involving police and child protection services to financial issues around the matrimonial home.

“Often, people just can’t afford to get divorced,” says Robinson, who also has trial experience. “When you separate a family, you’re using two incomes to now support two households instead of one, plus paying your lawyer.”

Robinson has also worked on cases involving couples with assets located outside of the country, or people splitting up who weren’t married, raising issues around trust claims with no presumption of property sharing.

But in general, she says, family law cases can be boiled down simply: “People are fighting about money and kids.”

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