Sharon Crooks participated in and conducted mediations on and off for most of her 30 plus years of practicing law. She was first introduced to mediation and arbitration when she took courses on those subjects while attending her Masters of Law degree at the University of London in England in 1986/1987. During the course of her career Sharon has practiced in the areas of international commercial law including shipping and aviation, international humanitarian law, including war crimes, criminal law, child welfare law, corporate law and offshore structuring, wills and estates and for the last 18 years has specialized in family law and representing children. Sharon’s belief is that Court is a client’s last worst option. Courts were created to deal with contracts and criminals, not families and Courts do not do a good job in dealing with families in conflict. The goal should be to reduce the conflict and not exacerbate it as Courts tend to do.
Sharon is the Vice-President of the Alberta Mediation Society. She is on various committees related to children, mediation and is active in the promotion and development of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Alberta. Sharon enjoys assisting people in resolving their disputes through mediation and/or arbitration. Sharon believes that children’s voices, where appropriate, should be included in mediation and arbitration. She has mediated disputes for private clients, including children client’s and has been appointed by the Court to assist children and their families in various capacities.
Family systems are individual and varied and if the family and where appropriate the children, are not involved in finding a solution that works for the entire family then everyone loses. Sharon is committed to finding “A Better Way” to resolve disputes.
JIM MACSWEEN (CLICK TO READ)
Jim MacSween Jim is a Partner at Rowanoak Law Office LLP and has had a long and successful career in Central Alberta. A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Jim obtained his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta in 1970 and after taking the one-year Honours program in Journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa. Jim received his LL.B. from the University of Ottawa in 1976 and was admitted to the Alberta bar on November 10, 1977.
Jim has taken many Legal Education Society of Alberta Courses including Intensive Advocacy and several Banff Refresher Courses in various areas of law. Jim began his legal career as an articling student with Joseph Shoctor, of Citadel Theatre fame, at Shortreed Shoctor law firm. He then joined the firm Schnell Lawrence in Red Deer as an associate in 1978 and later became a partner of Schnell Lawrence MacSween Hardy in 1980. Jim has been a Partner with Rowanoak Law Office LLP since March 2006 and his practice currently focuses on Family law, Divorce, Civil Litigation, Wills and Estates and Real Estate law.
Jim is an accredited Mediator, having successfully completed Modules 1 and 2 of the Legal Education Society of Alberta courses on Arbitration in Parenting Coordination and Parenting Coordination and Arbitration in Divorce/Separation by January 2013, as well as attending the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association course on Dispute Resolution in 2011.
He believes that Mediation and Arbitration offer a viable alternative to the formal legal process in many circumstances, thereby avoiding court proceedings with their accompanying delays, frustrations, and high cost. Mediation and Arbitration allow for direct input to the decision maker who will determine the outcome to important issues affecting the parties in an informal setting.
He is very active in the community of both Red Deer and Sylvan Lake and currently is a member of the Rotary Club of Sylvan Lake and currently serves as Past President. He has also served as the President and a board member for Central Alberta Refugee Effort (C.A.R.E.) and legal advisor to the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra. He now acts as a board member on the Sylvan Lake Lodge Foundation.
Past involvement includes: involvement with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Red Deer and District, the Board of Directors of Canadian Mental Health Association, the Board of Session of Knox Presbyterian church. He also participated in Conservative Association Provincial and Federal campaigns, took an Outward Bound Mountain School Course in 1980, was a past United Way Campaign Chairman, and was a YMCA board member.
Jim is a recipient of a Canada 125 Medal, and a recipient of Alberta Centennial Medal, and has served as President of Red Deer South Progressive Conservative Constituency Association. He has also assisted with governance and fundraising for Medicine River Wildlife Centre, and the Red Deer College "Affairs of the Arts" Campaign.
Jim has a daughter, Shannon. Jim enjoys sports such as boating, swimming, hockey, skiing and running. His hobbies include scuba diving, hiking, philately, carpentry, paddling and photography. Jim enjoys traveling and has traveled to Mexico, Russia, Austria, Hungary, Indonesia, Singapore, Truk, Palau, Kenya, Uganda, Central America and most parts of Canada including a kayak trip to Ellesmere Island and hiking the "Trail of '98" on the Yukon/Alaska border.
KELLY STEWART (CLICK TO READ)
Kelly Stewart has been a practicing mediator for over 8 years. In addition to practicing law for over 16 years in the areas of family, real estate, wills & estates and small corporate law, Kelly has enjoyed assisting people in resolving their disputes through mediation. She has carried out mediations for private clients and has also been a mediator through various programs available to the public including sitting as a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) in Calgary and the former Family Settlement Services Program in Calgary and Red Deer.
Kelly truly believes there is “A Better Way” to resolve disputes. She believes that involvement of the people in their disputes leads to better resolutions. Kelly Stewart has been a practicing mediator for over 8 years. In addition to practicing law for over 16 years in the areas of family, real estate, wills & estates and small corporate law, Kelly has enjoyed assisting people in resolving their disputes through mediation. She has carried out mediations for private clients and has also been a mediator through various programs available to the public including sitting as a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) in Calgary and the former Family Settlement Services Program in Calgary and Red Deer.
Kelly truly believes there is “A Better Way” to resolve disputes. She believes that involvement of the people in their disputes leads to better resolutions.
ALLISON ROSS (CLICK TO READ) **
Allison Ross is a Mediator who is beginning her mediation practice. Allison has a legal background in family law, corporate law, contract law, real estate law and estate litigation. Allison has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) with a double major in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from the University of Manitoba and a LLB (Bachelor of Laws) from the University of Alberta. Allison articled and spent her first years practicing law in Edmonton where part of her work was acting as counsel for clients in administrative tribunals and arbitrations. Allison completed her mediation training and continues to update her training on an ongoing basis.
Allison wholeheartedly believes after practicing law for 9 years, the bulk of that being a litigator, that mediation can help parties resolve their disputes and leave them with a better ability to communicate and that the end resolution is more tailored to their specific needs.