Bencher Profile Series: Ryan Anderson, QC
Ryan Anderson, QC, is keen to continue his second Bencher term representing the different pressures and responsibilities that come along with practising in smaller firms, cities and rural communities.
“I come from a small town and I feel like there’s a need for me to be able to meet the needs of that community, not just one client but you’re relied on to have a vast range of knowledge to be able to help the community in any way that you can.”
Ryan obtained a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta and law degree from the University of Calgary. After law school, he returned to his rural roots and lives in his hometown of Magrath while practising in the Lethbridge area. He is a partner with Huckvale LLP and his practice consists of agricultural transactions and finance, wills and estates, and family law disputes, including work as a mediator.
He first joined the Bencher table in 2018 and now with his first term under his belt, Ryan says he is confident that his past learnings and experiences bode well for the three years ahead. Armed with a better understanding of the issues faced by the public and the legal community, he looks forward to focusing on the Strategic Plan.
“It’s an interesting dynamic because you’re elected by your peers but then once you are a Bencher, your goal is to protect the public interest. One of the best ways we can protect the public is by having a strong and healthy legal profession where lawyers have the ability to meet all of their needs, both business-wise and mentally being able to deal with all of the pressures.”
So, while we regulate in the public interest, one of the best ways to do that is to communicate with and hear from Alberta lawyers so we can better understand the issues that will impact the delivery of legal services in Alberta.
Ryan has served in many areas including serving for eight years as the Chair of SASH, a not-for-profit society that provides community access and home living supports to individuals with developmental disabilities. He has taught numerous legal education seminars through the Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) and Lethbridge Public Legal Education and is a casual instructor of Business Law at Lethbridge College. He also serves as a board member of LESA, where he has also presented on a range of topics. Ryan is also actively involved within his church. His vast experience with the community and profession reinforces the underlying reasons behind the Law Society’s Strategic Goals.
“All of the areas that we’re focusing on are great because I think they help strengthen the legal community and services provided to the public. Seeing some of the experiences in my professional and volunteer work makes me better recognize the issues. I’ve had the opportunity to work with continuing education for lawyers, and this provides an opportunity to make sure lawyers are properly trained and have the resources necessary to succeed.”
While Ryan has always recognized the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion within the legal community, the past three years as a Bencher have opened his eyes to the struggles that continue to be faced, based on factors such as race and gender.
“In talking with some of the accomplished and senior female lawyers in the profession and at the Bencher table, I don’t think I ever fully realized the struggles they faced. This has been huge for me to see things from that perspective. Taking that to a personal level, I have a daughter who is 18 and just started college. I am now realizing how much I would like things to continue to change for her benefit. She has chosen to pursue being a doctor and is hoping to get into medical school. Some of the things I hoped wouldn’t happen to her, may still happen as she goes through that process, such as people assuming you’re the nurse and not the doctor.”
Despite all the work that lies ahead in addressing these issues, Ryan is optimistic about what it means to be a lawyer and to serve his communities.
“Generally, I think we’re very blessed to be within the legal profession. It is a long road to get to where we are. The profession is harder than most of us assumed it would be and it is difficult trying to balance all the requirements and responsibilities. I think we really are lucky to be lawyers and serve the public by playing our role within the legal system. It is certainly something I feel proud and lucky to be a part of.”