Emma Costain is an associate lawyer at Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP and a member of our Family Law Group.

Emma handles all kinds of family law matters, including custody and access, child and spousal support, and division of property. She understands that issues arising from family breakdown can be stressful, and she is committed to helping clients navigate what can be an emotionally exhausting legal process.

Getting to know Emma. Watch the video

In her practice, Emma endeavours to make clients feel both at ease and well-informed. She strives to be approachable and to give straightforward advice, knowing that clients must fully understand their legal options before moving forward.

As a dedicated advocate for clients, Emma strongly believes in her work. She is committed to being an agent for positive change, and strives to make a meaningful difference in the world and in her clients’ lives.

Before joining the firm, Emma completed a clerkship at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, where she worked with judges on a range of family, civil, criminal, and administrative cases at both the trial and appellate levels.

Emma is passionate about making the law more accessible to the public. In law school, she volunteered with a local community organization to represent low-income tenants in housing disputes, and she served on the executive committees of two social justice clubs. She studied the literacy requirements of court forms as a barrier to access to justice, and she continues to help law students improve their legal writing, advocacy, and client communication skills.

Outside of the office, Emma can be found hiking, cooking, or sitting in a coffee shop with a good book. She loves to travel but also enjoys playing tourist here in Ottawa.


  • >Bachelor of Arts in Politics (Honours), Acadia University (2014)
  • >Juris Doctor (Summa Cum Laude), University of Ottawa (2017)
  • >Call to the Ontario Bar (2018)