Zara Suleman, Family Law Lawyer
Zara Suleman practices family law exclusively and is a certified family law mediator and collaborative law practitioner. Zara has also been actively involved in presenting, training, writing and editing materials on family law issues. Zara was called to the Bar in British Columbia in 2007 and articled with the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre. She has worked as an independent legal researcher and consultant and was the Director of the Family Law Project for the West Coast Women’s Legal Education & Action Fund (LEAF). While at West Coast LEAF she coordinated their research and intervention application in the Supreme Court of Canada case, Rick v. Brandsema. Before launching Suleman Family Law, Zara was an associate family law lawyer working on the North Shore.
Zara has done extensive professional development and academic research in the areas of family violence, specifically violence against women and children. In addition, she has received specialized training regarding couples and families in crisis, working with survivors of trauma, mediation and conflict resolution. Zara has successfully represented clients at the BC Provincial Court, BC Supreme Court and the BC Court of Appeal.
EDUCATION – Zara holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Women’s Studies from Simon Fraser University (1994); a Law degree from the University of Ottawa (2004); and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Victoria (2006).
ASSOCIATIONS – Zara currently sits on the Trial Lawyers Association of BC (TLABC) Board of Governors, and the West Coast LEAF Board of Directors. Zara is also a member of the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch Family Law Section and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference (SOGIC) Section.
PRESENTATIONS – Zara has presented at a variety of venues, some of which have included the University of British Columbia Centre for Feminist Legal Studies Lecture Series; University of Ottawa, Ten Years After Touchstones Conference; the National Black Law Student’s Association Conference; the Law Foundation Advocates Training Conference; and the National Family Law Program Conference (2010 and 2014).
Zara was also a CLEBC (Continuing Legal Education Society of BC) Faculty Member for The Family Law Act: Everything You Always Wanted to Know* But Were Afraid to Ask and co-presented on the topic of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and Legal Parentage (2013). In addition, Zara has presented at the Charter Values in Family Law Webinar (West Coast LEAF) (February 2014) and the Family Law Act: The Times are Still A’ Changing Seminar – presentation on Family Violence (Trial Lawyers Association of BC – TLABC) (May 2014).
PUBLICATIONS – Zara has published articles, academic research and poetry in various magazines, journals and anthologies in Canada and the United States. Please visit Our Publications to view some of Zara’s work. She has also authored materials for the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC (CLEBC), including CLEBC’s B.C. Family Practice Manual (2010, 2014), the Family Law Act Transition Guide (August 2012) and Annotated Family Law Practice (2014). Some of her other work includes a chapter in the anthology Calling For Change: Women, Law, and the Legal Profession (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2006), Invisible Strings: Considerations for Judicial Case Conferences, a paper co-authored with Patricia Bond and Megan R. Ellis, Q.C. (May 2009), and a co-authored chapter in the anthology Faces of Violence in the Lives of Girls (Ontario: Western University, 2014).
BACKGROUND – Prior to law school Zara was a front-line community advocate for over a decade, working extensively on issues involving violence against women and children, anti-racism, immigrant and refugee issues, legal aid reform, custody and access advocacy, anti-poverty initiatives and specific coalition work with South Asian women.
Through the years, she has served on a variety of boards, advisories and steering committees. Some of these have included being a Board Member of Povnet, the South Asian Women’s Centre, the Vancouver Custody and Access Support and Advocacy Association, Elizabeth Bagshaw Women’s Clinic, Developmental Arts Society, Women In View Festival, and LaLuna Theatre Society. Zara has also served on the Domestic Violence Unit Advisory, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women’s Regional Anti-Violence Steering Committee and the Family Relations Act Reform Advisory Committee for SPARC BC.