- Suzen Fromstein
STACEY LEE, FAMILY LAWYER, CALGARY, ALBERTA
STACEY LEE, FAMILY LAWYER
“Helping People Navigate Difficult Times”
If you asked a group of children what they want to be when they grow up, most would likely say that they want to be teachers, veterinarians, astronauts and firefighters. Before she was 10 years of age, Stacey Lee had a different career path in mind; she wanted to be a judge. “My father told me that if I wanted to be a judge, I would have to be a lawyer first,” Family Lawyer, Stacey Lee says. “I didn’t believe him. I also didn’t think that sounded like that would be much fun and was determined to figure out a way to skip that step.”
Even though she had a legal career in mind from a very young age, Stacey did not follow a direct path to her ultimate career in law. After having a daughter at a young age, Stacey knew she still wanted to go to University but decided she would become a teacher instead as that timeline seemed to fit better with her parental obligations.
However, when a friend mentioned she was planning to write the LSAT exam, Stacey decided to join her on a ‘why not?’ basis. She did well on the exam and decided to apply to law school, “Just to see what would happen.” She was accepted to the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan in 2002 and obtained her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) in 2005. After graduation, she worked with a number of Western Canada law firms, and for the last several years, as a Family Law Lawyer with Scott Venturo Rudakoff LLP.
“I first became interested in Family Law when I was in law school. However, the firm where I articled, did not practice Family Law so I asked for a brief secondment to another firm so I could gain that experience. Specializing in this area allows me to impact the lives of individuals and families. I enjoy helping people navigate difficult times and am prepared to dispense a little “tough love,” if my clients have unrealistic expectations. The ability to make a difference at a human level became even more important to me after I had a family of my own. Today, I exclusively practice Family Law,” Stacey says.
Helping Clients Navigate a Variety of Family Law Matters
Stacey’s Family Law practice focuses on helping clients navigate a variety of Family Law matters including filing for divorce, negotiating separation agreements and pre/post nuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements, parenting time, and spousal and child support. Her clients range from wealthy individuals with complex business assets to parents seeking help with inter-jurisdictional custody disputes.
““Whether I am advising someone involved in an amicable or acrimonious split, I always encourage clients to navigate the divorce process in a way that ensures both parties feel respected and heard throughout the process. I am committed to ensuring my clients fully understand the law, his or her options and the game plan. My advice is always honest and practical and aims to help clients move past the immediate conflict,” Stacey says.
Stacey uses all of the tools at her disposal, including lawyer assisted negotiation, mediation, arbitration and interim court applications. She also regularly appears in Provincial Court and the Court of Queen’s Bench, and has appeared at the Court of Appeal.
Stacey is a strong proponent of mediation for Family Law matters, in the appropriate situation. Mediation allows people to have a say in the outcome, rather than having a third party, like a judge or an arbitrator, decide for them. “Mediation provides an opportunity and a safe place for people to be heard. More importantly, there is also a greater ability for parties and their legal counsel to come up with more creative and flexible outcomes. Mediation also provides an opportunity to resolve some issues so only matters that the parties failed to reach consensus on need to be taken to court or arbitration. Participating in mediation can also be less costly and stressful on the parties.”
Stacey is just as comfortable in the courtroom as she is negotiating in the boardroom or representing her clients in mediation. “Regardless of the venue, I am always a strong advocate for my clients. Having said that, I am always open to working collaboratively with opposing counsel. However, if things require a more aggressive approach, I am willing and able to switch gears and advocate for my client in court,” Stacey adds.
Stacey’s clients describe her as relatable, reassuring, efficient, well organized, and knowledgeable. One client said, “I can’t express how much I appreciated you having my back yesterday, and you do it so calmly. Your perspective and guidance helped me a lot…It felt like a whirlwind of numbers but you helped me keep perspective as we went along...Thank you again for helping us bring things to closure.”
Stacey currently works with two other matrimonial lawyers and a team of dedicated and knowledgeable support staff. She is optimistic about future growth prospects for the Family Law Group at Scott Venturo Rudakoff LLP (SVR LLP). “Practicing Family Law at SVR LLP offers some distinct advantages to my clients. I am able to offer all of the services that typically come up on a Family Law file including estate planning, real estate conveyancing, corporate transactions, etc. The breadth of knowledge from the entire team here at SVR is also a major advantage; because we are a full service law firm I just have to walk down the hall to engage a wide variety of other legal experts.“
To ensure clients’ needs are met appropriately, Stacey has created and cultivated a wide personal network of professionals and experts that she can refer her clients to if, and when, the need arises. “I also recognize the limits of my expertise. I have an extensive personal network and ensure my clients have access to the appropriate professionals, including child psychologists, financial planners, tax specialists, realtors, mortgage brokers, and the like.”
Up Close & Personal
Stacey is passionate about issues relating to children as well as access to justice and equality issues and regularly writes articles for the firm blog. Her most recent article deals with the changing legal rights for common law couples (https://familylaw.svrlawyers.com/legal-rights-changing-for-common-law-couples).
Stacey is a volunteer mentor for the Canadian Bar Association’s mentorship program, sits on the committee for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and is an Executive Member at Large for the Canadian Bar Association, Family Law Section. She is a volunteer Lawyer with Student Legal Assistance at the University of Calgary and also recently signed up as a volunteer with Youth Law at the Alex.
In 2019, Stacey was nominated for Avenue Magazine’s annual Top 40 Under 40 list which is a celebration of Calgary’s “rising stars.” Receiving the nomination was a very proud moment for Stacey.
Stacey has three children that range in age from 6-21. Two dogs, a German Shepherd named Kona and a Japanese Spitz puppy named Dill, (“Who just ruined Kona’s retirement,” Stacey says with a smile), add hours of fun and love to the whole family. The Lee family enjoys travelling and exploring new experiences.
As a last word, Stacey says, “Between children and their activities, pets and work it’s a busy but fulfilling life. Sometimes when I have to work late, I crawl into bed with one of my little boys and they ask me why I couldn’t be home earlier. I tell them that there was someone who had a problem that needed Mommy’s help. They are too young to understand the specifics, but I hope it instills in them a desire to help others as well and I hope they are proud of me, even if I have to miss story time once in a while.”
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides C
Stacey Lee Family Lawyer
1500, 222 3 Avenue
Calgary, AB T2P 0B4
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