Russell Alexander’s interview with Winnipeg, Manitoba lawyer Harley Greenberg.
Harley was called to the Bar in 1989 and practices with McRoberts Law Office LLP. Harley received his Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Laws Degrees from the University of Manitoba and has appeared before all levels of court in Manitoba arguing many different matters. His practice continues to be general, with an emphasis on family law. He has extensive experience in family law, real estate and wills and estates.
Russell Alexander: “How often do people ask you for advice or guidance about separation and divorce and in which jurisdictions do you practice in?”
Harley Greenberg: “I meet with client’s on a variety of topics. My main area of expertise is family law and I meet with between 7 and 10 people per week seeking guidance in this area. I practice in Winnipeg, Manitoba.”
Russell Alexander: “What are the biggest concerns people raise with you about separation and divorce?”
Harley Greenberg: “By far the largest concerns people bring up with me is whether or not they are going to be able to keep their kids in the context of a dispute with their spouse. The second largest concern people have is how their finances are going to be impacted by the separation, both in terms of how their assets will be impacted and also in terms of legal fees.”
Russell Alexander: “What advice do you have for people looking for a family lawyer?”
Harley Greenberg: “My advice is that people should be reasonable in terms of their expectations and demands. If you are looking for a family lawyer who is going to promise you the moon and the stars, you are probably going to end up disappointed. Be sure to find a lawyer who has some experience practicing family law, I think hiring an experienced lawyer is the number one criteria for a client’s success. Regardless of who you hire, in Manitoba we have a Case Management system which is set up to give client’s a taste of how their case will progress right away. Every client gets a preview of how their case might progress at a Case Conference with a judge who acts like a mediator and this lets the client get a glimpse of how their lawyer is going to perform. Look for a lawyer who is going to help you understand what you can reasonably expect to get from the courts, which is not the same as people initially expect.”
Russell Alexander: “What are the top 3 tips you have for people going through a divorce?”
1) Be prepared. Having organized paperwork will increase your chance of success and reduce your legal fees.
2) Be reasonable in terms of your expectations and listen to your lawyers advice.
3) Have candid discussions with your lawyer about the costs of legal fees and also about what you may end up owing to the other side right from the beginning.
Russell Alexander: “What do you envision for the future of family law?”
Harley Greenberg: “I believe that the future will have a lessor role for lawyers as technically becomes more and more prevalent in the industry. Each lawyer will be able to handle more clients. I envision a future with an ever increasing number of self-represented parties in the family courts as the cost of legal representation continues to increase. I hope that in order to combat these rising costs that there will be a greater number of sources available to help the lower-middle classes pay for legal representation. Right now there is a pilot program being run by the Manitoba Law Society which allows lawyers who are willing to charge a lower rate ($160/hr) to be paid directly by the law society to provide some assistance to low-mid income parties who do not qualify for legal aid. I envision a future in which this kind of program is expanded and available across Canada.”