• Strategically
    • Creative
    • Analytical
    • Knowledgeable

We assist busy family law lawyers and select appeal clients by providing high-quality, creative, and cost-efficient advice and research-related services.  Our strategic and practical services are customized to your particular file, taking into account your timelines and workflow schedule.

By providing research and advice you can trust, you can focus on other critical tasks.


  • Services
Litigation and dispute resolution strategies, brainstorming potential resolutions, and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a case
Drafting factums, statements of law, submissions, and other court documents
Drafting and advising on appeal materials (e.g., seeking or opposing leave to appeal, stay pending appeal materials, further evidence on appeal materials, and substantive appeal materials including the notice of appeal and factum)
Lengthier legal opinions / research memos
Shorter emails / informal memos highlighting relevant legislation, cases, and commentary

Our Approach

We are service-oriented and dedicated to making your practice more manageable. We know how challenging your job can be, and that family law clients rely on their lawyers to handle their private and often most important issues.

We also understand the realities of everyday practice and where research fits within the overall context of a particular file.

More than “Just” Research

We provide a unique service where needed that goes beyond just research – we collaborate with ours clients to help them develop innovative arguments and new strategies to resolve complex and multi-faceted legal and emotional family law issues.

Our clients benefit from our specialized knowledge and focus, honed over a combined 25+ years in traditional and non-traditional family law settings. Given our experiences, we are particularly well-equipped to offer solid and strategic insight, in a helpful and respectful way. This may include advice and research related to:

  • the strengths and weaknesses of a case,
  • creative suggestions on offers/settlement, or
  • the types of evidence a court or arbitrator is likely to find convincing.
  • Appeal Services

    In addition to assisting lawyers with appeals, Lam Family Law provides direct services to litigants involved in family law appeals in select cases. In general, appeals are complex, technical, and extremely challenging to navigate without assistance.

    We strongly believe in providing access to justice for families in the context of appeals. Thus, we provide the following services on appeals:

  • consulting services and/or formal written opinions to help clients assess the potential merits of an appeal, and/or to explain the steps, procedure, and likely costs of an appeal,
  • strategic advising on key appeal decision points, on an “unbundled/limited scope” services basis,
  • drafting appeal materials, on an “unbundled/limited scope” services basis,
  • appearing in court as your agent, on an “unbundled/limited scope” services basis, and/or,
  • full representation on an appeal, including appearing in court on your behalf and corresponding with the other parties/lawyers and the court, as needed.

    • About Us

    About Vanessa Lam

    • Vanessa has been providing freelance legal advice and research-related services to other family law lawyers since 2012.

      By focusing on family law strategy, research, and written advocacy, she’s developed a specialized expertise.  Vanessa can quickly grasp important issues and apply the law and a common-sense approach to a particular scenario based on this expertise and her past related experiences.

      After graduating from Queen’s Law at the top of her class, Vanessa clerked for the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and then worked at a prominent boutique family law firm in Toronto.  She started as a traditional associate, but was fortunate to transition her work to align more closely with her interests in research, knowledge management, and appeal work.

      Vanessa has contributed to various papers and continuing legal education materials.  She co-authors Cohabitation Law in Ontario with Ann Wilton and Gary Joseph.

      She has also developed plain language family law materials for the public through her various roles with CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario).

    • Called to the Ontario Bar (2009)
    • Juris Doctor (JD) from Queen’s University (2008)
      • University Medal in Law – Highest Standing (highest cumulative grade point average for the program)

    • The Law Society of Ontario
    • The Ontario Bar Association
      • Public Affairs Liaison of the Family Law Section’s Executive Committee (2022 to present)
      • Newsletter Editor of the Family Law Section’s Executive Committee (2021 to 2022)
      • Public Affairs Liaison of the Family Law Section’s Executive Committee (2019 to 2021)
      • Volunteer and Member-at-Large of the Family Law Section’s Executive Committee (2018 to 2019)
    • The Canadian Bar Association
      • Member-at-Large of the National Family Law Section’s Executive Committee (2018 to present)
    • Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers

    Recent Presentations

    In the News

    About Maria Golarz

    • Maria provided comprehensive legal research and strategic advice at Legal Aid Ontario for over six years before joining Lam Family Law. She has experience dealing with all areas of family and child protection law, and has litigated on behalf of clients at various levels of court. She also contributes to LexisNexis’ Practical Guidance on family law issues.

      Maria is a dedicated advocate, committed to delivering the best law and strategy for your case.

    • Called to the Ontario Bar (2011)
    • Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Toronto (2010)
    • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Minors in Behavioural Science and English Literature (B.Arts) from McGill University (2006)

    • The Law Society of Ontario
    • Ontario Association of Child Protection Lawyers
    • Family Lawyers Association (Ontario)
      • Board Member (2022 to present)

    About Rebecca Winninger

    • Rebecca has practiced family law exclusively since she was called to the bar in 2014. She worked at family law firms in downtown Toronto and Oshawa, and represented clients in courts throughout the GTA.

      Before pursuing family law, Rebecca held a number of research-intensive positions. While attending the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, she worked as a research assistant, and summered at the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. Rebecca graduated as the silver medallist and clerked at the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

      Rebecca believes that her core skills lie in legal research, analysis, and drafting. She is pleased to be able to combine these skills with her practical knowledge of family law and procedure at Lam Family Law.

    • Called to the Ontario Bar (2014)
    • Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Toronto (2013)
    • Master of Arts in English from Western University (2009)
    • Honours Bachelor of Arts in English, Minor in French Studies from the University of Toronto (2008)

    • The Law Society of Ontario
    • Family Lawyers Association (Ontario)

    About Kayleigh Pink

    • Kayleigh summered, articled, and practiced in the area of family law. She worked at a prominent Ottawa Family law firm, where she represented clients in court and mediation.

      During her studies, Kayleigh focused on honing her research and written advocacy skills.

      In her second year of law school, she won the BLG Family Law Negotiation competition, placing her on the Walsh Family Law Negotiation competitive team. She also worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Ottawa. Since graduating, Kayleigh has returned to the law school several times as a guest speaker in Advanced Family Law.

      Kayleigh is grateful to be able to assist clients by combining her passion for family law, written advocacy, and research.

    • Called to the Ontario Bar (2022)
    • Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Ottawa (2021)
    • Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Law with a concentration in Transnational Law and Human Rights and a minor in Indigenous Studies from Carleton University (2018)

    • The Law Society of Ontario

    • Testimonials

    Our clients range from solo and small firm practitioners to lawyers at larger firms.  They are located in different parts of Ontario.

    Here is what some of our clients have to say about our services:

    “Vanessa Lam has provided me with invaluable support with research and complex drafting of Facta. She is efficient, timely and respectful of the budget that I give her. Her work is thorough and her analysis is detailed and insightful. When Vanessa sends me back the draft Factum, Research Memo or Case Brief it is ready to go to the Court or client without any further work required by me. I have no hesitation in recommending Vanessa for all of your research and drafting needs.”

    Lorna M. Yates
    Cohen Peeters Yates LLP

    “I have a small law firm and outsource all of my research to Vanessa. I have worked with her for many years. The quality and timeliness and analytical rigour of her work is fantastic. I have worked for many years on large national law firm platforms and have not previously seen a researcher as skilled.”

    Brian Ludmer
    Ludmer Law

    “We can not thank Vanessa enough for her support, including legal research, drafting and strategizing in our cases. Vanessa’s work exceeded our expectations in terms of her knowledge and quality of her work. We are beyond grateful and continue to refer to all our colleagues.”

    Ritu and Reena Horra
    Horra Family Law

    Read more testimonials

    • Process

    Usually, lawyers contact Vanessa by phone or e-mail when they have a request.

    If you request work for a specific client file, we need to do a conflict check.  After that, we can discuss the timeline and scope of the project. We will send a short retainer letter to confirm your instructions.

    Our Fees

    We usually charge a reasonable hourly rate, but we are more than willing to discuss an hours cap or flat-fee arrangement.

    Your Preferences

    We work with our client’s preferences in how they like things done.  Our goal is to get you quality work as seamlessly as possible.

    • Contact
    • 647-779-8429

      Service Standards

      We will get back to you as soon as possible, no later than 24 hours or one business day after your call or e-mail. If this isn’t possible, you will get an out of office message.