Ogilvie News

Alberta’s Ogilvie LLP adds family law to its practice area roster, with two new senior associates

'The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially impacted some law practice areas more than others, with family law as one of the more obvious examples.'

At the end of December of last year, on the Friday before most offices shut down for a couple of days over the holidays, Ogilvie's Rana Ghanem and Omar Abdulhak sat down with Zena Olijnyk from Canadian Lawyer Magazine.

With the year coming to a close, it seemed an appropriate time to address the heavy effects of the pandemic on the legal industry. And, likewise, what the future holds for the Canadian legal landscape. The conversation narrowed in on Family Law. Over the course of the last few years of Covid, Ogilvie's business has actually grown. The way in which business is practiced has certainly had to be flexible (i.e. remote working, video conferencing, etc.) however, for Ogilvie, the demand for legal services continued to increase in most areas, and the demand for Family Law services was and continues to be a clear area of growth. Ogilvie understands that this growth comes with a very human side that requires compassion and respect.

Earlier this month the finished article was published in Canadian Lawyer:

With the addition of the new practice group Ogilvie has also welcomed two new lawyers, Rana Ghanem and Omar Abdulhak, as part of an "important step forward" in the firm’s growth strategy for Alberta.

"Ogilvie is proud to deliver a diverse collaborative and knowledgeable practice to clients," says Ogilvie managing partner Trevor Reddekopp. The firm has previously represented clients in this area, but officially endorsing and expanding the family law practice group recognizes the firm's "trust and commitment" to clients. Adding family law to the roster complements the areas of law that Ogilvie, founded in 1920, has practiced for years. These include corporate and commercial law, real estate, wills, estates and trusts; administrative law; litigation and dispute resolution; and insolvency and restructuring.

"We are research driven and we use our internal knowledge base to boost productivity and drive efficiencies for our clients," Reddekopp says. Indeed, on January 1, lawyers at Masuch Law LLP joined Ogilive, adding to its real estate and commercial services, along with foreclosures, civil litigation, tax law and wills and estates.

Five partners from Masuch have joined Ogilvie: Anton Suberlak, David Sheckter, Mary Jayne Assaly, Michelle Bullas, and Angela Yee-Hamshawl. Suberlak also becomes a member of Ogilvie's management committee.

In announcing the new family law practice, the firm says that adding Ghanem and Abdulhak as senior associates will bring a "deep understanding" of family law. This includes division of assets and separation agreements; prenuptial, postnuptial and cohabitation agreements; separation and divorce; child support and spousal support; parenting time and decision making. Ghanem and Abdulhak also practice civil litigation law.

Ghanem says that adding family law to the list of services Ogilvie provides "makes sense," not only from a business perspective but from a client perspective, as it allows for the ability to refer a family law client to other legal services internally and vice versa.

"For my own clients, it's really hard for them accept they may have to go to a different firm to deal with a different issue," she says. "And with Ogilvie's existing clients, it enhances the relationship and trust, so that, say, a real estate client can be them referred internally on family law, and kind of maintain that client's comfort level."

Abdulhak agrees, noting that Ogilvie identified the opportunities in the market and demand for family law services very well." It has developed a growth plan that "identifies the firm's goals, the culture of the firm, its challenges and opportunities and is now executing on that plan."

He also points out that family law matters can impact a client's other legal considerations. "For example, there may be issues that stem from the separation of partners in a business venture and the potential impact on marital assets."

"COVID-19 brought dysfunction in some families to a head...they are isolated for such an extended period, working and living at home together, and the dynamic of the household and family relationships changed, which in some cases now require the legal services of family law practitioners."

On family law issues related to the pandemic, Abdulhak says that COVID-19 brought dysfunction in some families to a head. "They were isolated for such an extended period, working and living at home together, and the dynamic of the household and family relationships changed, which in some cases now require the legal services of family law practitioners." Article continues here.