Cyndy’s perfect life all changed in an instant however, when her partner was tragically killed in a car accident just outside of Cochrane a few weeks before Christmas in December 1997. Suddenly, Cyndy found herself alone, confused, grieving, without any income, without any savings or insurance, without any job prospects, and because she was a high school drop-out, she didn’t have an education to make up for the lack of work experience (who would hire an uneducated, inexperienced 6-month pregnant woman in any event?)
From this tragic event, Cyndy learned many lessons. She had to bury her partner and take care of his estate matters, wind up his business, and take care of multiple legal needs without the money to afford a lawyer; Cyndy had to do all of this as a self-represented party. From this, Cyndy learned how difficult it is to navigate through the legal system as a self-represented party and the challenges many people face with respect to access to justice. Cyndy also learned the importance of having a Will, at any age. Cyndy and her spouse were young and did not think they needed Wills. A Will, however, would have definitely eased the burden placed upon her had one been in place. During this time, one of her children was also diagnosed with a severe disability, which also required an income to help this child reach necessary developmental milestones.
At the same time that Cyndy was going through the grieving process of losing her partner, her best friend, who also had 2 young children, was going through a separation and heading toward divorce. Cyndy states, “If there is any silver-lining when someone you love dies, it is that I believe the grieving process is easier than losing someone through a separation or divorce.” Cyndy says this is the case because she never had to question whether her partner really loved her nor did she have to contemplate “what went wrong?” or deal with the additional feelings of guilt, failure, shame, in addition to feelings of loss, that many separating partners report feeling. Instead, she needed to grieve the loss and find her own way to say goodbye and be ok at the end of the day. Further, “there is an abundance of support that comes to your rescue when you are widowed” says Cyndy. “People offer to look after your children while you deal with paperwork or the necessaries of daily life such as getting groceries, neighbours offer you casseroles, and there is always an available shoulder to cry on and a hug to get you through.” However, while Cyndy was grieving her loss enveloped with support, she couldn’t help but notice her friend, going through her own grieving process over her separation and pending divorce. The only difference between Cyndy’s grieving process and her friend’s was that no one was coming to the rescue of someone going through a separation or divorce. Her friend’s grieving was dismissed in ways because it was “just a divorce”. Cyndy was also struggling to just stay in her home and deal with the short-term crisis she was facing so she couldn’t even be there for her friend. Cyndy knew she had to make large and urgent life changes in order to be there for her children and survive these losses she was facing. Cyndy immediately borrowed money from family and friends (she had no credit history to get a bank or other 3rd party loan), and enrolled in school to complete her upgrading, and keep a roof over her head in the short-term. She spontaneously reached out to a Calgary realtor, Gary Fayerman with Remax, who was looking for someone to assist him in selling new homes in Airdrie. She explained to Mr. Fayerman that she had no experience, but this was a commission position and she would work hard if he would give her the chance to do so; and he did. Cyndy has always been grateful to him for giving her that chance. Cyndy keeps in contact with Mr. Fayerman and to this day and he participates in the firm’s Step-Forward Program. “It is always important to remember where you come from and who helped you to get where you are – and always give back to your community…” says Cyndy.
In addition to working with Mr. Fayerman, Cyndy also had been given an opportunity to work for Westjet Airlines at night in their call centre. This was in the day before Westjet was a publicly traded company and it was housed in a small building just off of McKnight Blvd. Cyndy always had a love for airplanes and a dream of flying, so working for Wesjet felt like a dream come true. They worked around her children’s schedule and her school schedule and they demonstrated to her how big things can happen when you have the right team. Cyndy also took on contract jobs doing research. It was through hard work, perseverance, a strong support system and her dedication to move her life and the lives of her children in a positive direction that she was able to earn her first degree with distinction while also providing for the needs of her family as a single working mother. Cyndy’s first and earlier career lead her to work with families and youth in psychology and social work areas, as well as young offenders (who she still works with on a volunteer basis through Calgary Youth Justice). Originally, Cyndy was actually hoping to get into the Masters of Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Calgary, but unfortunately was denied a spot despite having a 3.9 GPA and a great deal of experience. Cyndy then took a chance and applied to the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law – this was her “back up plan”. As luck or fate would have it, she received a letter of acceptance, which she has framed in her home office to this day. She hadn’t expected to ever get in to Law School and only applied to UofC. It turned out not only did she get in, but she discovered a passion for the law and it became a better career fit for her. Cyndy jokes and says becoming a lawyer was the best mistake that ever happened to her. “Family Law became such a natural fit for me – being able to help families who face challenges and to help overcome those challenges and thrive…well I can’t think of a better career than that!” says Cyndy.
Remembering the specific challenges her friend faced with her separation and divorce, Cyndy decided that she wanted to develop a way to help families in transition with the best possible legal representation but also with additional supports that they might need to help them through their legal challenges. Cyndy never wanted to see a family struggling through their separation or divorce the way her best friend had struggled.
When Cyndy opened Resolve Legal Group, she wanted to ensure that the firm assisted families with personal areas of law such as Family Law, Wills and Estates, Real Estate, Immigration and Corporate Law with a focus on small family-run businesses. Cyndy wanted the lawyers who worked at Resolve Legal Group to have expertise in each of their practice areas and to be well-trained not only in the law, but also in how to practice compassionately and with a focus to ensure their clients are supported appropriately during their legal matters. When Resolve claims to be “client-centered” and “solution focused” they are not just paying lip service to these claims; The team at Resolve is constantly looking at ways to improve their services based on the feedback received from their clients. Resolve pays attention to the unique needs of each family they work with, which gives homage to what they mean when they say “client-centered”. It is also from client feedback that they have developed many of their additional programs to help clients from all walks of life and varying income levels. With respect to being “solution focused” Resolve’s lawyers are problem-solvers first and legal representatives second. They know that sometimes practical solutions make more sense than legal ones when they pertain to families. They also ensure that they are well versed in all of the dispute resolution processes and legal solutions that are available to help families rather than applying a one-size-fits-all model to their practice.
Cyndy adds “At Resolve Legal Group, we feel privileged and honored when families trust us to assist them through some of the most difficult times of their lives.” Resolve offers everything from full retainer services to limited scope retainers, and more.
For a comprehensive list of all services Resolve Legal Group offers, please visit our website: http://www.resolvelegalgroup.com/cant-afford-a-lawyer/
When Cyndy opened Resolve Legal Group, she wanted to ensure that the firm assisted families with personal areas of law such as Family Law, Wills and Estates, Real Estate, Immigration and Corporate Law with a focus on small family-run businesses.