I was called to the bar in 2001 and have practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2004.  After 20 years in the courts I had my last court appearance in 2019. My practice is now exclusively focused on out-of-court settlements; through negotiation, mediation, and collaborative practice.

My goal is to minimize the impact of separation and wherever possible maximize the opportunity for a creative resolution that benefits both parties.

 In Guelph you can choose from sole practitioners to law firms with dozens of lawyers. I have worked in large firms, in partnership, and on my own. I prefer to work by myself and have done so since 2007. 

Why Ian Brown Family Law - Sole Practitioner

As a sole practitioner who does not go to court I have complete control over my practice and have a much more open and flexible schedule than when I was litigating. Sole practitioners often have lower overhead (expenses) than larger firms. I have a modest office with one part-time assistant. I do not have a receptionist or additional support staff.   By keeping my expenses down I can limit the number of clients I act for which, in turn, allows me to better serve the clients I choose to represent.  I do not have minimum billing requirements, nor do I have to justify the amount of time I spend on a case to anyone except my client.

When I was litigating I was often in court two or three days a week and sometimes in trial for weeks at a time and therefore unavailable for other clients. 

 You can establish a working relationship with me and not have to worry about a new lawyer being assigned to the case or multiple staff working on your file. The majority of my clients are referred to me by other lawyers in Guelph who do not practice family law; by larger firms that have a conflict in acting for one spouse against the other; and of course by former clients.  



 “You owe it to yourself to check out Ian Brown.  I had another meeting with him earlier today and he truly is an honest lawyer.  He is 'emotionally neutral' and actually seeks an amicable solution (if we get one is another issue).  He and his assistant - in my opinion - are a great team to have representing your interests.”

S.P. - past client

“Ian Brown does an excellent job for his clients and gives sound, practical advice. It is a pleasure to refer work to him.”

Senior member of the Bar

“As I explained to a friend who is hesitating to pay for a lawyer, you aren’t just paying for the work the lawyer does, you’re also paying for all the stress the lawyer takes off you, and it’s that second thing that makes it especially worthwhile.  If I hadn’t had Ian Brown, the process would have been much more difficult for me.”

E.C. - past client

“When I was looking for a lawyer to assist me in my family law matter a lawyer in Guelph recommended that I contact Ian Brown.  In court Ian argued a well-researched and flawless case on my behalf.  He was highly professional in the courtroom and genuinely cared about the final outcome of my matter.  I would recommend him to anyone looking for a family law lawyer in the Guelph area.”

A.J. - past client

“Just wanted to take a minute and thank you both so much for helping me get through all of this.  It is all completely done!  If I had decided to fight it would have been longer, but I am so glad with all the advice I had from you.  I now have complete closure and can move on from here.  I know you both helped speed it along and I sure felt the support from you.  I felt that you both almost wanted this done as much as we did!!!”

B.U. – past client


A significant advantage in hiring a sole practitioner is the personal attention clients receive. You do not have to worry about essential details being lost in translation from associate to partner. We will communicate regularly on important issues and you will meet with me and not my assistant or a junior lawyer. Because I no longer spend several days a week in the courthouse I am accesible to clients in a way that was impossible when I was litigating. As a result, matters move quickly to resolution.

One of things that distinguishes me from other lawyers is my billing process. If you become a client I will require you to maintain a financial retainer (i.e. money on deposit that I hold in my trust account) until the conclusion of your matter. I bill according to the time I spend on your case and do not wait for certain milestones or results before sending a bill. I review my accounts every week and send bills to each client for whom I have invested more than $500 worth of time (Most lawyers bill monthly and some only send bills out when everything is finalized). No one likes to receive a large bill. Regular billing helps avoid unpleasant surprises. In my experience regular billing helps remind clients of the cost of legal services which, in turn, encourages a business-like approach to the process.

Ian Brown Family Law, Training and Associations Guelph

I received training in mediating disputes at Harvard Law School’s Negotiation Institute in 2014.

I am an active member of the Speed River Collaborative practice group. I was first trained in Collaborative Family Law in 2003 and have Level II and interdisciplinary training. I am a member of the International Association of Collaborative Professionals and attended the International Forums in 2011 and 2012.

 I am a past executive member of the Wellington Law Association, having served as Secretary from 2004 to 2009. I am a past member of the Ontario Legal Aid Area Committee for Guelph and Wellington County and served as Chair from 2006 to 2009.

I have a B.A. (honors) in history from Western (1993) and an LLB from Western (1999).

Active in the community, I am a past member of the Guelph Museums Board of Management (1999 to 2009) and served as its Chair from 2005 to 2007.

Through my work on the New Museum Steering and Fundraising Committee I was involved in efforts to secure the former Loreto Convent for the new Guelph Civic Museum.

From 2013 until its disoltion in 2019 I was a volunteer Director of the Guelph Junction Railway, Canada’s largest municipally owned railway.