Rob Harvie, of Huckvale Wilde Harvie MacLennan, has been practicing in the area of Family and Divorce Law since 1986. A LESA volunteer, Rob is one of five committee members working on our Alberta Family Law Practice Manual.
Born and raised in Lethbridge, Rob attended law school at the University of British Columbia and graduated in 1985. He is married with two children, one attending University of Alberta and the other attending Lethbridge College. After having articled with Paterson North in Lethbridge, Rob opened his own office with Parry McDonald back in 1993, which expanded, and eventually merged with the long-standing Huckvale office in 2002 – his office and its predecessor having now served Lethbridge since 1906. Rob practices solely in the field of Family and Divorce law, and has been very involved in helping to promote the practice of Collaborative Law or Collaborative Practice – helping people resolve family issues through interest-based solutions as opposed to litigation (though continuing to engage in litigation where necessary).
Read on to to learn more about Rob and how the new Alberta Rules of Court have impacted his practice.
You have been a loyal supporter of LESA. What makes you want to volunteer?
I suppose it’s a mix of wanting to help improve the practice of law generally, wanting to expand my life experience beyond the typical day to day experience of the practice of law, and also enjoying the opportunity to meet and get to know people from beyond my typical professional and social circles.
How are you using technology to provide better client service?
To some extent – email is a big part of my client contact, and I have now began to move my practice to a ‘digital only’ practice – very thin files now, much less desk clutter. This also makes for an easier transition of documents to clients and other counsel – though it is not without its own frustrations as we evolve the process.
How have the new Alberta Rules of Court affected your practice?
They have, it would appear, created a stress for the courthouse staff as they adapt to new procedures, and, particularly in family law, I have encountered a few examples where the rules have seemed to, oddly enough, made it more difficult for litigation to progress in a timely fashion. Personally, I think that while the organization of the rules is a good idea – to make it more consistent with the progress of a litigation file, many of the changes were, perhaps, not as well thought-out or as helpful as they were intended. But such is the practice of law – not everything that comes to us from the legislature makes sense and we just adapt to those changes as they arise.
What advice would you pass on to a newly called lawyer?
Take advantage of mentoring opportunities if at all possible. The practice is more than what you learn in law school and in your bar course. Work hard – to become good at what you do doesn’t come without sacrifice – that hard work will pay off in your future practice. I have seen, particularly in the last decade or so, a desire to establish greater balance between the office and a home life – which is laudable – but if a new lawyer uses that as a pretext not to fully develop their skills and to be fully and properly prepared – it will show soon enough in their practice, with a resulting loss of respect from your clients and your fellow counsel.
Do you have an experience while volunteering for LESA that is particularly memorable for you?
Probably, I would have to say, the most memorable and enjoyable aspect of my volunteer work has just been the many colleagues that I’ve got to know outside of my local area.
Thanks again to Rob Harvie for taking the time to share a bit of himself with us. His contributions to our Alberta Family Law Practice Manual are invaluable.