Chris is Ottawa born and bred, growing up in the West End and graduating from Woodroffe High School in 1984. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Queen’s University in 1988, and then spent two years working to pay off the debt that went along with that Queen’s B.A. After two years in the workforce, law school beckoned and in 1993 he graduated from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law (Cum Laude). He was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1995, and has been practicing in Ottawa since then.
Chris opened a sole practice in 1995 and built a strong clientele by providing high quality legal work and supportive personal service. Four years later, in 1999, he built another small local firm with John Dickie, called Dickie & Arnold, LLP, which over the next four years grew to four lawyers, coming to a very amicable end in late 2003. He then partnered with others to launch and build Mann & Partners, LLP where he and the firm flourished until 2008, when after another amicable transition on March 31, 2008, Chris sought greater flexibility, new opportunities, and new concepts for the delivery of coordinated supportive holistic services to separating and divorcing spouses – and launched his current sole practice to pursue those goals.
Chris’ practice has changed over time from a general practice in his early days to a greater and greater concentration in family law. This transition happened because he recognized that he both enjoyed the work and that he was acquiring a deeper knowledge and skill-set (especially as a result of a few trips to the Ontario Court of Appeal on various family law matters). Apart from a few remaining litigation matters, Chris now concentrates his practice on family law , collaborative law, and family mediation. This work includes all the services usually needed by separating or divorcing couples: the negotiation (or litigation if necessary) of family law issues such as parenting (custody/access), child support, spousal support, or property division. Chris is equally at home in the realms of either matrimonial rights, or those rights available to cohabiting spouses. Chris can also negotiate cohabitation agreements or marriage contracts. Chris has experience serving the needs of the LGBT community, and can also negotiate cohabitation, pre-nuptual or marriage contracts as well.
Chris particularly enjoys assisting clients in connecting with other supportive services – such as financial guidance, mental health or counselling services, general wellness, as well as other legal services such as real estate transactions, estate and will planning, or assistance with tax issues or corporate shares and structures. Making it easier for his client by connecting them to supportive and trusted professional services – as a way of getting things dealt with and thereby reducing stress – is one of his highest priorities.
Chris’ collaborative family law practice brings him great satisfaction – and why not? He is a well-recognized leader in the field. He has been heavily involved in collaborative law since 2001, and is one of the founders and Past President of The Collaborative Law Network of Eastern Ontario. In early 2008 he ended two years as President of the Ontario Collaborative Law Federation, a group representing more than 550 collaborative professionals across the province. As well, Chris is now an Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law teaching the first course in collaborative family law to upper-year law students. He has given other lectures and workshops at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, the Annual Institute of Family Law, and has appeared as a legal commentator and panellist for various local television and radio programs. Chris has taught for the Law Society of Upper Canada at the Bar Admission Course, and also at Algonquin College. He is an active member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and the County of Carleton Law Association.
Outside of the office, you will mostly find Chris devoted to family activities with his wife and two young boys. Chris has called Orleans home since 2005, and often cycles the approximately 30 kilometers to work along the Ottawa River. That passion for cycling has also leaked over into a serious addiction to the Tour de France. Chris wishes to make it known however that he has not yet tested positive for any banned substances other than caffeine. Other passions include the Ottawa Senators, wine, skiing and collecting music.