Goldwater, Dubé, a Canadian leader in family law since 1981, and senior partner Me Anne-France Goldwater, are honoured to announce the appointment of fellow senior partner Me Marie-Hélène Dubé to Judge of the Quebec Superior Court.
Honourable Justice Dubé, 53, is one of Quebec’s leading family law experts. She has twice appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada over her 31-year career and helped to set historic precedent, including on discrimination faced by LGBTQ couples, helping them obtain the right to marry partners of the same sex (Canada was only the third nation to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004).
Judge Dubé is fluent in French, English and Créole. The native of Montreal’s ethnically diverse Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood is a graduate of l'Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Law and was called to the Bar in 1991. She took a particular interest in the discrimination faced by single mothers and their children, pushing for more generous Child Support Guidelines in Quebec. She has authored articles for legal and media publications, and has given conferences on legal issues such as the rights of common-law spouses, child support guidelines and systemic societal discrimination.
A devoted mother of three, her personal experiences have enhanced her perspective on family law. She is a certified mediator and as a lawyer has provided counsel to clients about divorce, custody, parental alienation, international abduction, alimony and child support, common-law partners and filiation cases, frequently appearing before the Superior Court and Court of Appeal.
The appointment is an important milestone in the history of Goldwater, Dubé, an over 40-year-old downtown Montreal law firm founded by Me Goldwater, who first took on Judge Dubé as her private practice’s first stagiaire in 1991. As the stage came to an end, Me Goldwater invited Judge Dubé to join her as partner of the young firm, and together they grew the practice to a team of over 25 legal professionals devoted to the safety of children, the rights of women and men, and equal access to justice for all Quebec citizens.
“The brilliance of our relationship has always been its complementarity,” explained Me Goldwater. “To this day, there are landmark appellate and Supreme Court judgments over which we argue until the wee hours of the morning. Where I look for novelty, she cautiously argues for respect of precedent and incremental change. Arguing a point in law with Marie-Hélène is as intellectually challenging as you could ever imagine!”
Judge Dubé’s appointment brings mixed emotions for the close-knit team, for which she provided invaluable, inspirational leadership. The change comes as Goldwater, Dubé is in the midst of many changes, expanding the firm beyond its traditional speciality of family law. Though she is unable to provide comment about her appointment, Judge Dubé recently reflected on her law career and time co-leading the firm as it enters a new phase:
“When I was a teenager, I gave myself the task of defending my little sisters and cousins but I didn’t necessarily think about making it my career,” Judge Dubé told Goldwater, Dubé videographers. “What the practice of law helped me discover was that despite my stature and reserved personality, when it comes to defending my clients, sometimes I have the perhaps exaggerated impression that I can move mountains; that is to say that it made me discover strength within myself that I didn’t know was there.”
Judge Dubé’s contributions have not only advanced the success and growth of the firm but to women’s and minority rights in Canada, causes which thanks to her efforts will always remain part of the fabric of the organization.
“The key to success in forming a good team when people are very different is to give the space for each person to be themselves,” Judge Dubé recently said, leaving a bit of advice for the young lawyers she mentored. “It’s a cardinal value in my life, for each person to define themself, and to not be categorized by others.”
Photo: Tingey // Unsplash