This month’s spotlight is on CLEBC contributor David Halkett of McQuarrie.
How did you first get involved with CLEBC?
My first involvement with CLEBC was taking courses over the years. I was then offered an opportunity to revise a chapter in the BC Family Practice Manual in 2005. Afterward I was offered an opportunity to chair a course on family law for junior legal assistants and, as the saying goes, the rest is history. I have now chaired that course four times, and presented at other programs and appeared on CLE-TV. I continue to revise chapters for the BC Family Practice Manual and this year also revised a chapter for the Family Law Agreements Manual.
What are you currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?
My most recent work with CLEBC was chairing and presenting for junior legal assistants in February 2019.
How did you decide to focus your practice on family law?
It is actually quite ironic that I practice in family law as when I was at UBC law school, this was the one area in which I did not want to practice. I took the family law course at UBC (it fit my schedule) and liked some of the interesting fact patterns in the cases we studied, but it was not something that really interested me.
I did a little family law as an articled student but I actually thought I wanted to be a solicitor at the time. However, during articles I realized I wanted to practice litigation. I did some family law for my first three years but switched firms and the practice available was family law. I liked the firm so I started in family law. 23 years later, I’m still practicing in that area.
What is your advice to a young lawyer interested in practicing in this area?
My best advice is not to become the client and to remain detached from the sometimes highly emotional issues we deal with on a daily basis. I have seen many lawyers almost become their clients and take on the client’s problems. That is a sure fire way to an early burnout.
My second best piece of advice is to set boundaries with clients, don’t take their calls or emails out of work hours except in extreme emergencies. We need a mental break after work.
In addition to practising law, you’re a blog writer for a website devoted to the Montreal Canadiens. What inspired that?
I stopped doing that a few years ago due to my son’s hockey schedule but I still comment a lot on various social media sites regarding the team. Being from Montreal, the Canadiens are a religion for me.
You’re also a big fan of movies. What’s the best film you’ve seen in the past year?
I really liked Bohemian Rhapsody. I was never really a huge Queen fan growing up but I always appreciated the music Queen produced and Freddie Mercury’s singing ability. Rami Malek became Freddie in the movie and earned a well deserved Oscar. A close second was The Green Book.
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
There are many things but first, of course, would be my wife Ann and our son Brandon. They are my world. Second would be my son’s hockey. Balancing the life of a busy lawyer and rep hockey player dad is not always easy, and many a time I have had to bring work to the rink while he practiced, or done work in the car while he was getting ready for a game. I also wouldn’t change anything. It will be a sad day for me when I no longer have to take him to the rink. Other passions, history (I have a B.A. in History from UBC) so I read a lot of history at lunch and in my spare time, Montreal Canadiens, Dallas Cowboys and dare I say collecting Archie comics.