Matkovic Allan LLP, Calgary
I have been practicing law for just over 21 years and yet it seems like I was called to the Bar only yesterday. If there is one thing that I have learned (hopefully there is more than just one thing), it is that every day I learn something new, whether it is about me, my clients or about the law. I think that is what this profession interesting, often exciting, and on some days a bit scary. It is also for these reasons that I believe it is so important to have the support of our colleagues to allow us to learn, grow and on those scary days to get us through so that we can do our best for our clients and for ourselves.
I am one of the founding partners of a small family law firm in Calgary called Matkovic Allan LLP. Although I currently practice exclusively in the area of family law, I started my career with a mid-sized national firm where I was fortunate to gain experience primarily as a civil litigator but also in criminal law and family law. In fact, it was there that I was thrown, kicking and screaming, into my first family law file and learned that this was not only an area that I wanted to practice in, but an area of practice where I thought I could make a meaningful difference. It was also there that I had the privilege of representing clients in some of the first Residential School files that were being advanced in this country and learned firsthand how little I knew about our history and about the pride, strength and resilience of our First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
When we started our firm in 2009, not only was I continuing my career as a family law lawyer, I was now also delving into the world of being a business owner. Concepts like payroll, staffing, budgeting and human resources entered my day to day life. I suddenly became very concerned about the cost of paper and whether our staff had the appropriate ergonomic office chairs. It was also during this time that I began to question whether my role as a traditional “diehard family litigator” was always in the best interest of my clients and started to transition my practice to include alternative ways of resolving disputes other than going to court including mediation and private arbitration which often provided better and more cost-effective options for resolving files.
In 2008, I was appointed as a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) with the Court of Queen’s Bench in Alberta. I am a trained, qualified and experienced Mediator and Arbitrator and, when necessary, I am still a “diehard litigator”. I believe that it is my role to provide my clients with the knowledge and information necessary to allow them to make the best choices for their own unique situation. In that regard, I also believe that continuing education, innovation and the innate understanding that we all have more to learn will make us better lawyers. I am proud to be part of this profession and know that when we support each other in being better at what we do through education, mentorship and sometimes, just moments of kindness, it benefits all of us.
I have been honoured to present on various topics for LESA and the CBA. I have been a guest lecturer at the University of Calgary Law School, at Bow Valley College and I have taught courses at SAIT. I have volunteered as an instructor and evaluator for the Alberta Bar Admission Courses and later for CPLED. In my personal life, I value the time I spend with my family and friends, now more than ever. I have traveled extensively and have started (and abandoned) numerous hobbies over the years. I will happily debate politics, the law or the unparalleled genius of early Simpsons episodes over coffee with almost anyone who cares to invite me.