We are lawyers with decades of litigation and conflict resolution experience. We are passionate about resolving disputes in a civil manner and outside of the confines of conventional litigation. We are “molders of consensus”.
We believe in preserving important personal and professional relationships, espousing transparency in the resolution process, and increasing your participation in the process for a greater degree of control and knowledge.

Renee Collins

“A peace is of the nature of a conquest; for then both parties nobly are subdued, and neither party loser.”- William Shakespeare

Career Experience

Renee’s passion and skill for resolving disputes has been developed over a  30-year period as a practicing lawyer, mediator, senior manager and legal instructor. While she has appeared at all levels of court, including discoveries and trial work, her clients and colleagues appreciate her most for her uncanny ability to settle disputes before they go to trial.

Renee brings a broad range of legal experience to her mediation practice. Her private practice work has included corporate commercial litigation, insurance, medical malpractice, personal injury and family law. She has worked with all walks of life including executives, members of aboriginal communities, entrepreneurs, medical professionals and private individuals.

In addition to practicing law and mediating, Renee has occupied senior managerial roles with both the Law Society and Mediate BC.  At Mediate BC she was the Manager of the Civil and Family Rosters, and in this capacity oversaw all aspects of Roster membership, liasing with law groups, corporations and legal interest groups to raise awareness of and proficiency with mediation, and responding to public inquiries regarding mediators and mediation generally. At the Law Society she was the Manager of Governance and Board Relations, directly supporting the Benchers and Executive Committee in all aspects of Law Society corporate governance. She currently is also a sessional instructor with PLTC, the Law Society’s Professional Legal Training Course, teaching a broad range of substantive law and practical skills to newly graduated law students prior to their call to the Bar.

Following just three years of her Honours English and Classical Studies degree, Renee was accepted into the Faculty of Law at UBC in 1989, received her law degree in 1991 and was called to the British Columbia Bar in 1992. She has done her mediation training through the CLEBC as well as the Justice Institute of BC, has completed the Provincial Court Practicum through the Dispute Resolution Innovation Society (now Mediate BC), and is a proud member of the Civil Roster of Mediate B.C. She is also a trained coach, having achieved the Advanced Level coaching training through the Justice Institute.

Dispute resolution approach

Renee’s litigation practice was different from many other lawyers who focus on the prescriptive litigation process and related procedures. Instead, Renee saw an opportunity to settle disputes differently, putting the goal of resolution before the long and expensive process of litigation, and her settlement rate was a testament to her approach.

Each conflict, and each party involved, calls for unique strategies; Renee has developed many methods to draw from and has settled hundreds of legal disputes without going to trial. A colleague describes her legal resolution skills this way: “She finds the best approach for each situation, an approach that is informed by the parties themselves and tailored to their interests.”

Renee has worked to avoid the adversarial nature of litigation, which can result in resolution but also tends to damage relationships, sometimes irrevocably. Instead, her methods are focused more on communication and facilitation, which tends to result in the preservation of relationships, to the greatest extent possible. A former client adds, “To know Renee is to know that she will be focused on the objective of reaching a resolution that all parties will feel they have been fairly treated with respect and understanding and find that they are able to reach a consensus where they will feel the right thing has been done.”

Renee’s approach to mediation differs depending on the clients and the issues. Some call for a more facilitative approach, one that allows the parties and their lawyers freedom to discuss and collaborate with neutral guidance from the mediator. Others benefit from a more actively involved mediator, one who can intuit the needs of the clients and assist with goal setting and reality checking. Renee is flexible with her approach and happy to work with counsel and clients to determine the most effective and productive path to resolution.

When she’s not working…

During her personal time, Renee plays soccer and sings – just not at the same time. As a singer, she has appeared on TV, and in a variety of live musical performances, including singing the Canadian anthem for the B.C. Lions’ 1990 season. She has also performed with an assortment of musicians including big band orchestras, jazz ensembles, Michael Creber and his band, The Irish Rovers and symphonies. And as lead singer of the Falcon Band, she and her band mates celebrated their win of the Battle of the Bar Bands at the Commodore Ballroom in 2017.

Renee also has a passion for soccer. She has played competitive and recreational soccer since she was eight years old and has coached both adult and kids teams. When not singing, playing soccer or doing yoga, she can also be found hiking trails with her dog Wilson and hanging out with her daughters, her two favourite humans.

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Elyn Underhill

In 2009 Elyn decided it was time to expand her skill set into the area of mediation. This was an obvious choice for her as a lawyer as she was able to effectively and efficiently resolve many disputes before trial and enjoyed working with clients and opposing counsel to work out settlements that suit all parties needs. Elyn is a proud member of the Civil Roster of Mediate B.C. and enjoys mediating and facilitating the resolution of issues where such is in the interest of the parties.

Elyn’s background is diverse. She obtained a bachelor of arts degree at Trent university in 1981 and the went on to get a law degree from Osgoode Hall law school in 1984. She articled at one of the big law firms in Vancouver in 1985 and then decided to do graduate studies in England and obtained a master of laws degree with merit from the London School of Economics in 1988. After obtaining that degree she worked mainly in the area of marine law with forays into other areas of transportation such as rail, air and road. She has handled a wide variety of cases including personal injury, insurance coverage issues, cargo claims, ownership disputes, product liability, and repair’s negligence. She has practiced law for over 25 years taking matters to various levels of the supreme and federal courts. On the solicitor’s side of the practice she has drafted and reviewed various commercial documents such as charterparties, letters of credit, bills of lading, marine mortgages, passenger tickets and settlement agreements. Elyn continues to sharpen her communication and resolution skill set by attending various courses and participating in workshops designed for that purpose.

Elyn is a keen competitor and sport enthusiast having played volleyball at an international level and received an athletic scholarship to an American university. Currently she enjoys her tennis and is a keen rower. Elyn loves to travel and enjoys most outdoor activities. She was able to combine these interests on a recent 14 day trek through the Mustang Valley on the Tibetan Plateau.

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“It is not by chance that Renee has settled hundreds of legal disputes outside of a courtroom. She genuinely believes that settlements are possible in almost all circumstances. She finds the best approach for each situation, an approach that is informed by the parties themselves and tailored to their interests.”

– Kevin Lee, Lawyer, Ratcliff & Company


“Renee is confident… She has a clear understanding of the principles of interest-based mediation and demonstrated a high level of skills.”

– Wendy Lakusta


“Renee has a very relaxed and professional manner that puts the parties at ease.”

– Sally O’Sullivan, Mediator


“There are many aspects of Renee’s character and her values that make her eminently qualified to be engaged by those clientele who are seeking to resolve their issues. Renee always has the most realistic and high level view of the entire situation. It does not take Renee very long to know and understand all the elements of any particular situation.

She was very well versed in the primary elements and educated herself on any supplementary elements so as to become more knowledgeable that all other parties at the table, myself included. Renee always managed a strong positive demeanor while pushing forward on her well-developed strategy and presentation to the parties at the table.

The ethics and professionalism that are a very significant part of her makeup are amongst the highest one will ever find in her business undertakings. Renee somehow commands respect from everyone who has the pleasure of interacting with her. She has a sensitivity that always seems to be on the mark. It is impossible to work with Renee and not feel her strength, highest of values and related attributes.

If you ever have the pleasure to meet and work with Renee, you will find her to be focused, professional, fair and well balanced, very ethical and honorable. To know Renee is to know that she will be focused on the objective of reaching a resolution that all parties will feel they have been fairly treated with respect and understanding and find that they are able to reach a consensus where they will feel the right thing has been done. Agreement is inevitable and the outcome will most assuredly be fair, balanced and reasonable.”

– Don Osman, FEIC, P.Eng. (Ret) (former client)

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