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About Us

Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide timely legal services tailored to the needs of our clients.

Our Values

We accomplish our mission by:

  • Earning the trust and loyalty of our clients
  • Providing timely and strategic legal services
  • Treating clients with respect and compassion
  • Offering practical legal solutions
  • Continually building our knowledge and skills
  • Striving to provide cost effective legal services
  • Supporting Calgary’s communities

Our Team

Few lawyers enjoy a career as storied and constructive as Patricia. Over the last 43 years, Patricia Daunais has participated in landmark cases that have shaped the larger legal landscape in the areas of division of matrimonial property (Campbell v. Campbell) and on the defense of prenuptial agreements (Mastalerz v. Mastalerz and Tardif v. Campbell).

Her extensive experience has made her a sought-after mentor, and for over 30 years Patricia has helped new lawyers gain their footing in the field. Patricia views mentorship opportunities as a way to stay on top of her game and share the benefit of her experience with others. She enjoys seeing younger lawyers become competent and leading lawyers in the Calgary community.

Patricia is one of few lawyers in Alberta that specialize in both family law and will/estate planning, making her uniquely positioned to estate plan for blended families using a combination of prenuptial agreements/marriage contracts/testamentary contracts/spousal trusts/children’s trusts, in conjunction with wills, enduring powers of attorney and personal directives.

Patricia actively participates in various community and professional organizations:

  • Member of the Calgary Bar Association and Canadian Bar Association
  • Member of the Calgary Estate Planning Council
  • Member of the Association of Women Lawyers
  • Former President of the Calgary Estate Planning Council, Association of Women Lawyers, Enviros Group Homes
  • Member of the Executive Committee for Fundraising for the University of Calgary Law School

In addition to the above associations, Patricia also lectures for the Legal Education Society of Alberta (and other organizations) on topics that include:

  • Drafting and practise consideration under the new Wills and Succession Act
  • Law and Practise Update – All Things Joint
  • The new Estate and Administration Act
  • Estate Planning for Blended Families
  • Drafting Wills and Trusts

In 2012, Patricia was awarded with an award from AWL for leadership in the community.

Heather McKay practises exclusively in the area of Family Law and is recognized as a leader in her field. Her practice focuses on negotiated resolutions of complicated property and support matters. She has extensive training in dispute resolution including training as a mediator and as a collaborative law lawyer. She also has years of experience as a litigator with a long list of reported decisions to her credit. She understands the emotional and financial toll that divorce takes on her clients and their families and works closely with each client to ensure a process that works for them.

Heather received her law degree from the University of Calgary in 1983. She was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 2002. She has been included in “The Best Lawyers in Canada” annually since 2006 in the area of Family.

Heather has been an instructor, speaker, panellist and lecturer, for a number of organisations, including the Canadian Bar Association both Nationally and Provincially, the Legal Education Society of Alberta, the University of Calgary Law School and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. She has written and presented a number of academic papers at conferences all across Canada.

Heather has been an active member of the Canadian Bar Association at both the provincial and national level. She has chaired both the South Alberta Family Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association and the National Family Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association. She was a member of the National Sections Counsel Executive and sat on the Child Support Guideline Advisory Committee for 5 years.

Her memberships include the Law Society of Alberta, Canadian Bar Association, Calgary Bar Association, American Bar Association and American Trial Lawyers Association, as well as the Association for Collaborative Family Lawyers in Calgary. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Nickle Arts Museum.

Diane practices a “no nonsense” approach to advocating for a sensible, fair and just resolution for her clients. Her objective is to provide strategic guidance and sound legal advice to clients who find themselves in complicated family situations.

Diane’s extensive litigation and appellate experience – spanning over 25 years – is a foundational element of what makes Daunais McKay + Harms a leader in the Calgary legal community.

Outside the courtroom, Diane has an expansive body of work and numerous professional achievements. Some of these include:

  • Co-author of legal articles
  • Instructor for CPLED and Trial Advocacy courses
  • Recipient of Contribution Award from Alberta Law Society (2012)
  • Listed in Best Lawyers International 2012 to present
  • Appointed Queen’s Counsel (2016)

Adam Singer never planned to be a family lawyer when he began practising law in 1987. In fact, he spent most of the first two decades of his legal career as a criminal defense lawyer and civil litigator. But since 2005, Adam has focused his practice on divorce and family law because he knows that family disputes are among the most difficult challenges people can face, and he gets great satisfaction in helping his clients obtain the best achievable outcomes.

A seasoned litigator and negotiator, Adam is highly skilled in both oral and written communication, for which he credits his pre-law experiences as a newspaper and magazine reporter and a writer for CBC radio, as well as his Master’s degree in literature. Because he believes that every client and family dispute is unique, he is highly attentive to his clients’ interests and employs an individualized approach to obtain the best outcomes. Adam is equally comfortable in the courtroom or in alternative dispute resolution settings, such as mediation and arbitration.

Adam values the importance of community institutions in people’s lives and has contributed significant time and expertise to various organizations. Within the legal community, he has served as an Editorial Board Member of the Alberta Law Society Newsletter, Vice-Chair of the Canadian Bar Association Calgary Health Law Subsection, a Member of a Canadian Bar Association (Alberta) Fault/No Fault Insurance Task Force, and a Volunteer Lawyer with Calgary Legal Guidance.

Outside of the legal profession, Adam’s extensive volunteer work has included leadership roles as President of the Calgary Jewish Federation, Vice-President of the Calgary Jewish Academy School, and President of Temple B’nai Tikvah Synagogue.

A lifelong learner, in July 2017 Adam was awarded the DELF B2 (Diploma of French Language Studies, or Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française) by the French National Ministry of Education. The B2 Diploma certifies that the individual is able to communicate in French with spontaneity and ease, and is the level of language proficiency that French universities require from undergraduate foreign students.

Deni is an experienced lawyer and accomplished mediator, having spent the better part of two decades practicing law in Alberta, and with a career that spans over 30 years. She graduated with honours from the University of Toronto, finishing her law degree at Queen’s University.

Called to the Bar in Alberta in 1996 (after calls to the bar in Ontario and New York), Deni leverages her considerable experience as she strives to provide excellent service to her clients. She can be counted on to provide competent, sound advice that is resolution-focused. Whether through lawyer negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation, Deni aims to ensure that her clients’ interests are well represented and protected.

Deni began practicing law in Calgary in 2001 at Shennette Leuschner McKay (which merged with Daunais McKay Harms in 2012). Her professional associations and accomplishments include:

  • Best Lawyers in Canada, 2018, recognized for her work in the area of family law
  • Distinguished service award from Calgary Legal Guidance for 10 years of volunteer service
  • DRO (Dispute Resolution Officer) – Appointed by the Court of Queen’s Bench in 2009
  • Calgary Bar Association – Family Law Executive (since 2012)
  • Association of Collaborative Professionals – Board Member
  • Children’s Counsel
  • Association of Women Lawyers
  • Former roster lawyer for Legal Resources for Children and Youth (LRCY)

Deni also volunteers with several other organizations:

  • Legal Clinic – Calgary Legal Guidance (since 2006)
  • University of Calgary Faculty of Law Bar Admission Course – CPLED Instructor
  • University of Calgary Faculty of Law – Guest Student Coach for Mediation and Negotiation
  • YWCA Sheriff King Legal Clinic
  • Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA)

Patricia has a B.A. in Psychology from Carleton University, and was called to the Alberta Bar in 2000. Patricia utilizes within the legal forum, her education and past work experience with families and dually diagnosed youth. She is patient and thoughtful when working with families to address parenting, support and property division issues in a manner that reflects their expressed concerns and desired outcomes.

Patricia has always practiced exclusively in the area of Family Law and focuses on processes which are cost effective, promote family wellness, are client focused and keeps clients from having to engage in costly litigation battles. Patricia excels at using (ADR) alternative dispute resolution techniques to assist clients to achieve effective results. Patricia is a trained mediator and a registered collaborative law lawyer who is very skilled at ensuring clients understand the process, are communicated with in a timely manner, and understand their options while supporting them to constructively manage conflict in a way that builds family structure.

Patricia understands the emotional impact that clients experience, whether negotiating the start of a relationship through the use of a cohabitation agreement or pre-nuptial agreement, or negotiating the breakdown of a relationship. She assists clients during the negotiation process to have difficult conversations and successfully express their interests at a time when they feel uncertain about finances, their future, and how they will co-parent in the future. When the results of that negotiation are drafted into an Agreement, the parties can move on with their lives, knowing they have a practical road map to follow not only for themselves, but also for their children in a way that promotes family wellness. Patricia’s goal is to minimize the toxic stress that can paralyze families when they are unable to find effective solutions, and to provide families with resources so they are not stuck in the legal system.

Patricia has an excellent track record for mediating issues involving child custody and parenting time. She was a participant (as a member of Innovation Team 21) in the Palix Foundation Initiative to develop and bring the Breakup Earthquake story to each and every Albertan to highlight the impact of toxic stress on children as a result of relationship breakdown:

Patricia ensures that her client and the needs of the children are a priority and recognizes the importance of the roles that each parent plays in the ongoing healthy development of a child. Patricia believes that every family is unique and requires resources and guidelines that meet their unique needs. No one parenting plan can fit for every family and Patricia assists families to generate creative options that provide children with a strong foundation and supports their healthy development. Patricia recognizes the benefit of a parenting plan early in the negotiation stages which minimizes potential trauma to children while their parents work through the other challenges which arise when there is a breakdown of the family unit.

Patricia has supported many clients to navigate settlements which involved high income, complex property division, and child and spousal support issues. Patricia believes in families negotiating in a manner that helps them to preserve assets and income for the benefit of the family future rather than engaging in exhausting and expensive litigation, leaving both parties unsatisfied and with more debt. Patricia supports her clients to divorce respectfully, build and maintain healthy parenting relationships, identify their priorities and negotiate in forums which are non adversarial and not financially and emotionally draining.

Patricia is a Member of the Law Society of Alberta, Collaborative Divorce Association, Alberta Family and Mediation Society, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Calgary Bar Association, Association of Women Lawyers and the following subsections of the Canadian Bar Association: Alternative Dispute Resolution; Family Law; Wills and Estates; and Immigration.

Patricia is currently a board member and acting secretary for both the Association of Collaborative Professionals and the Canadian Bar Association Law Firm Management and Practice Committee subsection.

Elise Lavigne graduated from the University of Calgary, Faculty of Law in 2000 and has been practicing law since 2001. She has a broad range of Family Law experience, in Provincial Court, the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal. Elise is a registered collaborative family lawyer, a trained mediator and a trained parenting coordinator. She is strongly committed to providing her clients with alternative options for resolving their disputes in as amicable and cost effective a manner as possible. Elise is committed to Collaborative practice and mediation, both of which promote the values that she supports when helping families work through separation and divorce.

Prior to attending law school, Elise was a manager in the Oil and Gas Industry and president of a consulting firm that assisted private sector companies, governments, communities and NGOs across Canada with public consultation, conflict resolution and impact assessment work related to a wide range of energy development projects and community economic development, and the development of environmental legislation and policy.

Elise is a volunteer with the Calgary Women’s Centre having served both as a board member and currently as a volunteer lawyer for the Centre’s Legal Clinic. Elise also has extensive volunteer experience in the area of family violence having worked both as a Peer Support Volunteer with abused women and as Facilitator of the Men’s Domestic Violence Education Program with Probation Services. Elise was appointed a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) for the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in 2009.

Crystal graduated from the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law in 1999 with dean’s list standing. She was called to the Alberta bar in 2001 and has been practicing family law ever since.

Crystal has appeared at all levels of Alberta’s Courts and she has recently been successful in three major custody appeals.

While she prefers to operate as a collaborative lawyer and mediator – seeking resolutions that minimize financial impact and place familial well-being first – she is also an effective litigator, having appeared in all levels of Alberta’s courts. Her commitment to effective litigation is best demonstrated by her successes in appeals, including notable judgments involving parental custody and child welfare.

Crystal is a member of many professional and community organizations, including:

  • Law Society of Alberta
  • Canadian Bar Association- Family Law and Wills and Estates subsections
  • Association of Collaborative Professionals
  • Dispute Resolution Officer- Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta
  • Instructor- Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education
  • Board Member and Treasurer- Association of Collaborative Professionals
  • Contributor- Legal Education Society of Alberta Family Law Practice Manual
  • Guest Lecturer- University of Calgary, Faculty of Law, Advanced Family Law
  • Volunteer lawyer and Instructor- Calgary Legal Guidance
  • Past Instructor- Parenting After Separation Seminar

In her free time Crystal enjoys camping, hiking, and golf.

Suzanne drives amicable settlements whenever possible, though she will pursue litigation when efforts to mediate or otherwise negotiate have failed. She is a skilled negotiator who is known for pushing for solutions that are reasonable for all parties involved.

Her clients appreciate her empathetic approach to law; her concern for reasoned and cost-effective solutions is a big part of what makes Suzanne so effective. Despite her preference for settlement and mediation, Suzanne brings a powerful voice to legal conversations to ensure her clients best interests are properly addressed.

Suzanne specializes in quickly defusing acrimonious environments, offering reasonable solutions that satisfy involved parties, and resolving middle/late term negotiations that have stalled.

Professional associations and volunteering include:

  • Law Society of Alberta – Member
  • Canadian Bar Association and Calgary Bar Association – Member
  • James Short Memorial Committee – Co-Chair
  • EFry Society Volunteer

Michael received his B.A. (hons) in history from McGill University in 1997, and his M.A. in history from University College London (U.K.) in 1998. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law in 2001. Michael was admitted to the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2002 and the Law Society of Alberta in 2003. Michael articled at a full-service law firm in Toronto and started his practice in the commercial litigation department of a national law firm. Since 2004 Michael has focused his practice on family law and related civil litigation.

Michael enjoys the challenge of seeking solutions to complex legal problems. He believes it is important to educate his clients about the legal process, thereby helping them to be informed participants and to understand issues affecting their lives.

Professional Associations

  • Law Society of Alberta
  • Canadian Bar Association – Family Law Subsection
  • Alberta Law Conference 2008 – Member of Spousal Support Panel
  • Legal Education Society of Alberta, 2009 Banff Refresher – Member of Child      Support Panel
  • LESA Education Society of Alberta, 2012 Wills and Estates for Support Staff –      Member of Panel Respecting Matrimonial Property

Current Community Contributions

  • Co-Chair of Calgary United Jewish Appeal
  • Director of Calgary Jewish Federation and Calgary Jewish Community Foundation
  • Director of Southern Alberta Freestyle Ski Club

Noteworthy Cases

  • S v. S, [2013] A.J. No. 271 (ABQB)
  • M.O. v. C.O., [2012] A.J. No. 1042 (ABCA)
  • D.W.G. v. P.L.D., [2012] A.J. No. 541 (ABProvCt)
  • M v. M, [2011] A.J. No. 1054 (ABCA)
  • F v. F, [2010] A.J. No. 1421 (ABQB)
  • T v. T, [2009] A.J. No. 1384 (ABQB)
  • A.R. v. A.M.R., [2009] A.J. No. 1332 (ABQB)
  • G v. G, [2009] A.J. No. 1529 (ABCA)

A 12-year family-law veteran, Collin works with his clients to separate and move on with their lives in constructive and positive ways. If there’s a positive and mutually-beneficial way for two parties to resolve their legal dispute, Collin will work to find and advocate for it.

Collin is known for his quick and timely communication with his client, something that he feels helps his clients feel secure in their paths forward.

Outside of his client work, Collin is passionate about social justice and volunteers with non-profit organizations that address inequality and injustice.

Lainie was called to the Calgary bar in 2008 and has been practicing with Daunais McKay + Harms since 2015.

Lainie has practiced in many areas of law ranging from immigration, personal injury, wills and estates, employment and family. She chose to specialize in family law because of the difference she can make in her clients’ lives.

Lainie approaches all files with the goal of obtaining practical, client focused and efficient results. Lainie strives to minimize unnecessary conflicts and stress for her clients and achieves this by maintaining communication with her clients, keeping them informed about the progress of their file, ensuring they understand their legal rights and by analyzing different options with clients to find a solution best suited for each individual.

Lainie continues to serve her clients in areas of real estate, immigration, wills and estates and family law. She is also fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin.

She is committed to the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process and works with her clients to obtain fair outcomes.

Lainie is a member of several professional organizations, including:

  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Calgary Bar Association
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

Lainie volunteers with organizations that support Calgary’s communities, including Alberta Seniors, Calgary Legal Guidance and the YWCA Sheriff King Legal Clinic.

Roxanna Petts graduated from the University of Calgary, Faculty of Law in 2010, and has been practicing law since 2011. Prior to attending law school, Roxanna graduated from the University of Victoria in 2007 with an Master of Arts focused on anthropology and dispute resolution. She also has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Victoria (physics major).

Her work experience prior to law school was in a variety of areas – she was a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Victoria from 2005 to 2007, she maintained her own business for 20 years tutoring high school and university level math, physics, calculus and chemistry which included a stint as a physics instructor at Camosun College in Victoria in 2001, and she worked for a decade in the health services field with people with eating disorders, developmental delays, schizophrenia, and other various challenges.

Rachel joined Daunais McKay & Harms in 2015. Having been called to the Alberta bar in 2012, and working in family law since her career began, Rachel thrives when faced with a challenge.

Understanding that matters of family law are often stressful and emotionally challenging, Rachel leverages her background as a trained mediator and collaborative lawyer to seek cost-effective solutions for her clients.

Rachel has undergone extensive ADR (alternative dispute resolution) training – specifically around communication, conflict resolution, and mediation – and prefers to take a collaborative approach to family law when possible. This approach saves time, money, and ultimately provides the fastest path to a fair outcome.

Rachel is member of several professional organizations, including:

  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Calgary Bar Association
  • International Association of Collaborative Professionals
  • Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

Areas of Practice

Contact Us

Daunais McKay + Harms An Association of Independent Lawyers Suite 2050, 645 - 7th Avenue S.W.
Calgary, AB T2P 4G8
  • P 403-218-6275
  • F 403-218-6299
  • E contact@dmhlaw.ca