Peter Woodwark is one of those fortunate people who truly loves his work. His areas of specialization are real estate, wills and estates and corporate/commercial.
Peter cut his teeth searching titles in the Registry Offices of Lanark County and Frontenac County. He is still fascinated by the intricacies of real estate titles and he is the resource for everyone else in the office when challenging issues arise. Although the land registry system has changed to a government-guaranteed Land Titles system, there continue to be many complications and Peter's sharp eye has saved many home buyers from disaster. His years of experience also give him the background to develop creative solutions that will enable buyers and sellers to realize their dreams with the confidence that these complications will not come back to haunt them.
Peter is very committed to maintaining a high level of legal expertise and takes many continuing education courses. However, he also understands that the real challenge of estate planning is to work through the special circumstances of each family and apply his legal knowledge to work out a plan that meets their particular needs.
In the area of corporate/commercial work, Peter has a great deal of experience with small businesses. He can help his clients to incorporate and can assist in the purchase and sale of any business, from a chip wagon on up. He has developed a special expertise in the intricacies of not- for-profit corporations, and is involved with a number of significant Lanark County service providers.
Peter enjoys working with people and his clients will often describe how comfortable he makes them feel. He takes great care to explain complicated legal issues in a way that his clients can understand. He is committed to helping people make informed decisions about their lives.
However, while Peter may be married to the law, music is his mistress. He has been the choir director and organist at St. James Anglican Church for more than 30 years. He has also been the musical director of many community theater productions and his fine tenor voice has appeared in many ensembles from barbershop quartets to chamber choirs.
Peter has been married to Maida, the other love of his life, for more than 40 years, and has two children and three grandchildren, of whom he is very proud. He has been practicing law in Perth since 1978 and plans to continue for many years to come.
David's current practice is the culmination of many years of evolution. When he came to Perth in 1981, he began with a general litigation practice, conducting trials and other proceedings in every local court and tribunal. As time went on, he developed a special interest in family law and began to focus on this area exclusively. He learned that, while every separation is a difficult experience for those involved, it is possible to help people through that process with as little damage, both financial and emotional, as possible. There were always cases where a tough courtroom approach was required but, wherever possible, David has tried to help his clients find a practical settlement.
As time went on, David became increasingly aware of the damage caused by the litigation process, and how it polarized people who were already having difficulty. Where children are involved, this can be quite destructive for them as well. In 1998, David took general and advanced training as a mediator. His intention was to use his years of experience in practice to help families work through the separation process in a constructive and peaceful manner. Over the years, his mediation practice has grown, and he has become convinced that every separation does not have to turn into a war. David has expanded his mediation practice to include Child Protection Mediation, using the same skills to resolve cases involving the Children's Aid Society.
David has been working with Katie Ireton since she arrived in June 2010 and is happy to see the litigation practice in her capable hands. This has left him free to focus upon mediation, collaborative family law, and other out-of-court settlements.
Over the years, David has balanced the stress of a family law practice with real estate, wills, and estates. He has always enjoyed being part of the happy process when families are buying new homes. His experience in family law has also helped him work through the challenges of estate planning with the blended families that are formed after deaths and divorces.
If David is not at the office at 8:30 a.m. to answer your phone call, it is not because he is sleeping in. David copes with the strains of life by running, cycling and swimming. He has completed many triathlons, including the infamous Ironman Lake Placid. In recent years, David discovered yoga as a complement to his other activities. He completed teacher training and now teaches part-time with the Yoga Connection. David is also working on a Theology Degree at Queen's University. David's wife passed away in 2009, after 34 years of marriage. He has two grown children.
Katie joined the firm in 2010 after Peter Woodwark and David Stevens graciously responded to her unsolicited email containing claims of local connections. Since then she has brought a renewed vision and energy to the firm that she is now fortunate to share with her partner, Mark Fendley. She practices in all of the firm's practice areas with a special emphasis on family law and small business and non-profit clients.
Katie's return to Perth comes via a childhood in London (Ontario, not the more exciting one) and a wild student career in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Fredericton. Despite changing majors four times in four years Katie did manage to graduate from Carleton University in 2006 and to complete her law degree at the University of New Brunswick in 2009.
She began her legal career as an articling student with the Federal Department of Justice. There Katie worked on such exciting files as the 2010 amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act and Canada's submissions to the World Trade Organization in relation to Korea's ban of Canadian beef (more on those here). Katie's stint with the federal public service confirmed her desire to practice "real people law" in a smaller community setting.
As a small-business owner herself Katie understands the challenges of growing a small business with limited resources. Having experienced a successful succession plan and turnover from her former senior partners, Katie also understands the planning and effort required for a successful transition to a second generation of business owner. Katie strives to help business owners recognize practical solutions and make cost-effective risk-management decisions in all business areas, whether it involves human resources issues, privacy concerns, or succession planning.
As an experienced family lawyer Katie also understands the stress and anxiety that couples face when experiencing relationship breakdown. Although capable in court, Katie is a trained collaborative family lawyer and is presently completing her accredition as a family mediator. She adopts a practical approach focussed on maintaining communication and positive relationships as much as possible to help parties shift from romantic partners to capable co-parents.
Katie prides herself on being able to meet clients at their level and on making the law accessible. She loves practicing in an office where client care and compassion are valued more than suits, fancy furniture and "lawyer speak". Katie aims to provide an environment that is similar to the comfort of one's own home and where clients feel comfortable expressing their own needs and personalities. You will find her own personality shines through in her perhaps unexpected art selection!
For those of you still wondering - yes, Katie is related to the other Iretons of Drummond Centre, although most would be third or fourth cousins. Outside of the office Katie is actively involved with a number of local charities, most notably Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lanark County. At home her two mischievous young boys keep Katie and her husband, Bruce, constantly entertained.
Mark joined the firm in 2013 and came to Perth from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where he was raised on a farm in the rolling hills of the Bluegrass region. With a cheerful and cherubic demeanor (having once been warmly described as Opie Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show by a noted local jurist), he practices real estate, wills, estates and small business law.
Before moving to Canada, Mark resided in Louisville, Kentucky. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar Association in October 2010 and worked as the staff attorney for a family court judge in the small town of Shepherdsville. Mark earned his J.D. from the University of Louisville in 2010 and his undergraduate degree in history from Duke University in 2007. Mark was called to the Ontario Bar in June 2013 after having settled in Canada in October 2012.
After starting his career in family law, Mark has developed a broad-based practice and strives to provide comprehensive services to individuals, families and small businesses living in small and rural communities.
As an American, but most definitely not a Yankee, Mark has come to appreciate the unique needs of United States residents who own cottage property in Canada and who wish to make arrangements for the next generation. With knowledge of the complex taxation and conveyancing issues that arise in the context of non-resident owners of real property in Canada, Mark is able to provide thorough advice in this area to his fellow Americans, Yankees included.
Mark eschews the traditional formalities of a business suit, and, although he does on occasion impressively style a seersucker outfit, you are more likely to find him behind his lawyer's desk in a cardigan that would make Peter Woodwark proud. While you might take him for an excessively casual dresser, Mark aims to provide a relaxed office environment for clients. Mark believes in a lawyer-client relationship of equals and strives to provide courteous and compassionate services befitting a southern gentleman.
Out of the office, Mark volunteers his time as a board member of United Way Lanark County and the Perth & District Community Foundation. At home, he enjoys spending time with family, traveling and amusing his devious Siamese cat, Grover.
Wendy has been with the firm since it was established in 1987. Real estate is in her blood, and she loves to dive into the complex real estate problems requiring careful attention to detail and a knowledge of a wide range of legal considerations. However, for many years, her principal responsibilities have been wills and estates. She assists Peter, David, and Katie with the drafting of wills and powers of attorney. Wendy is also the main contact person for executors who are winding up estates and, once again, understands the legal issues as well as the sensitivity of the work. For those who want to assume as much responsibility as possible, she provides helpful, strategic advice when needed. However, for those who do not choose that level of involvement, she can assume most of the burden of the estate administration. Wendy is married, with two children and four grandchildren.
Chantele is a multi-tasker who is most effective when she has a large number of balls in the air. This makes her perfectly suited to the high volume real estate practice at Woodwark Stevens Ireton. She has worked in real estate for 20 years and she keeps track of the many aspects of a purchase or a sale, from start to finish, in a highly-charged, deadline-driven environment. Despite these pressures, our clients have appreciated her availability to discuss their concerns in a knowledgeable and understanding way. Chantele is married, with two growing children.
Julie is usually the first person you meet when you come through the doors at Woodwark Stevens Ireton. Many people have come into the office and had their worries eased by her calm, professional manner. Julie works as an assistant to Katie and David on family law and mediation. She has worked in family law for more than 20 years and understands the legal issues, as well as the personal strains felt by clients with family law problems. Her experience and sympathetic approach are a tremendous asset to Woodwark Stevens Ireton, and its clients. Julie is married, with two almost-grown children.