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Portrait Photo - Eric Fefferman

Darlene's Legal Career

“I have closed my practice and have ceased practising law, as I redirect my energies toward creative endeavours. I continue to be reachable through this e-mail and phone number.”

“It takes courage to make change. Fear of change is not an option. I never knew a single client to regret the choice to leave a loveless or abusive marriage. This applies to all walks of life. On the other side of fear lays freedom.”

Darlene Madott practised for 35 years in Toronto, initially as a downtown civil and matrimonial litigator. She then transitioned her practice to collaborative law and mediation, and finally moved to Toronto′s west end as a collaborative practitioner and peacemaker. She retired from practice on August 1, 2020.

After her call to the Ontario Bar in 1985, Darlene Madott began her career as a litigator, and participated in precedent-setting cases, which included:

  • A Trinidad husband obtains a stay of Ontario proceedings based on Trinidad being the more substantial jurisdiction (Nicholas);
  • A woman obtains the right to sue grandparents for support, based on a contractual concept of the family (Cheng);
  • An international child abduction case raises constitutional and conflict-of-laws issues where immigration legislation conflicts with the Children’s Law Reform Act and the return of abducted children to the home jurisdiction (Maharaj);
  • A mobility case, where an access father successfully resists the move of his children with their mother to North Bay, (Tumino);
  • In an Application for variation of child support and financial disclosure, where the parties had a separation agreement that provided for non-variable child support, special expenses, and waiver of future financial disclosure, the father was ordered to provide financial disclosure as mandated by the Child Support Guidelines and the information was ordered sealed for 12 months. (Quinn v. Keiper).

However, as Darlene Madott developed in the practice of family law, she became increasingly disenchanted with litigation as a way to resolve most matrimonial disputes, sensitized to the lasting impacts of the way people end their relationships:

“What separating couples normally want is a resolution that is fair, respectable and sustainable. Matrimonial clients do not want to be legal precedents. They want life after loss, and in a very deep sense, want their families to survive.”

A published writer, as well as a barrister, Madott’s clients received the benefit of her written advocacy. Returning to the root of the word “advocate,” Madott derived meaning and satisfaction in her work from the concept of "giving voice" to those who cannot tell their own stories. She brought a uniquely creative and caring approach to the practice of family law.

Winners and Losers

Guernica Editions, 2023

To order, please visit any of the following websites:
Guernica Editions, Chapters and Amazon

Bar Admission:

  • Ontario Bar 1985


  • Osgoode Hall Law School, LL.B (1983)
  • University of Toronto, St. Michael's College, Gold medal, Hons. B.A. (1975)
  • Collaborative Law Training (Level 2) Certificate (2006)
  • Family Law Arbitration, Conrad Grebel University

Past Affiliations & Memberships:

  • Ontario Bar 1985
  • Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Toronto Lawyers Association
  • ADR Institute
  • Ontario Association of Family Mediators
  • Collaborative Practice Toronto
  • Canadian Italian Advocates Organization (C.I.A.O.)
  • Writer’s Union of Canada

  » Articles:

Book Review: Truth Be Told (My Journey Through Life and the Law)
Author: Beverley McLachlin, Former Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice
Supreme Advocacy, Feb. 11, 2020

“Darlene Madott, who has practised Family Law for over 30 years in Toronto, wrote a book review for the autobiography: Truth Be Told (My Journey Through Life and the Law), by former Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice, Beverley McLachlin.” (Published by Simon & Shuster (Sept. 24, 2019)); Read More...

Book Review: Fairly Equal: Lawyering the Feminist Revolution
Author: Linda Silver Dranoff
Supreme Advocacy, May 16, 2019

One (among many) of the book's take-away lessons: “Don't wait for permission”.
Darlene's take-away (from the concluding chapter 'Over to You'): the suggestion that “one person can make a difference.” Read more...

Last Word: Three Decades in Private Practice, So Far
Author: Darlene Madott
Supreme Advocacy, Nov. 28, 2018

Work less, think more. It is a privilege to be paid to think for a living. “Lawyers should work less and think more,” was a saying of my late senior partner. Thinking and good judgement, just as character, are not qualities that necessarily come with a law degree. They are slowly built, over time, and time is something that is in ever diminishing supply. Read more...

Opinion: Beverley McLachlin’s Full Disclosure has voice and authority
Author: Darlene Madott
Canadian Lawyer, May 22, 2018

First times are to be treasured. That Beverley McLachlin was the first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada is special. That her first novel, Full Disclosure, written in the first year of retirement is not only expertly and tightly crafted, but one terrifically good read, is also special. Read more...

Opinion: A judge’s words: What wearing a Trump cap means
Author: Darlene Madott
Canadian Lawyer, Sep. 25, 2017

Words matter and have consequences. The words “Make America Great Again” on a baseball cap worn by Justice Bernd Zabel in his Hamilton, Ont. courtroom the morning after the presidential election have compounded through alignment with U.S. President Donald Trump. Read more...

As Darlene Madott creates these next chapters of her life, she wishes you to know it was an honour to serve you and your families.
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