Three Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Law alumni are better because they work and play, together. Based on a foundation of trust, their friendship provided an opportunity of a lifetime.
After more than 10 years of practical experience and insight as legal professionals, Scott Duncan, Joseph (Joe) Iwanicki and Greg von Euw reunited to form Alloy LLP, a law firm specializing in corporate litigation, real estate and personal injury.
Drawn to each other more than a decade ago, the partners fondly remember meeting for the first time.
“Scott grew up next door to my wife’s grandma, and (she) told him to ‘look out for’ me,’” says von Euw. “We met during the first week of school at one of the school socials. Joe and I met through board games. . . . Our love of board games, for all three of us, is still alive and well, and we try to meet weekly to play games together.”
“We became close friends as we had a lot of shared interests,” adds Iwanicki.
The trio has fond memories of their time at TRU, saying creative thinking and diversity provided a positive learning environment while students in the Faculty of Law.
“Experience does not equal excellence,” says von Euw. “TRU Law excels and is blessed with having a younger faculty and younger students. We learned from teachers who didn’t have a 50-year pedigree of teaching law — but as a result they were creative and interesting and thought outside of traditional thinking patterns taught in law.”
“The school has such a diverse group of people in it — it was great to see such a broad spectrum of students and professors to learn from and to be around,” adds Iwanicki.
“There is no one mold to what makes a successful lawyer,” says Duncan. “The diversity of personalities in the faculty at TRU Law reflects that.”
Duncan’s advice to new students is to seize opportunities as they happen. “Every law school in the country offers the same basic legal concepts, so take advantage of the unique offerings your favourite professor(s) offer. You may be surprised how often they come up. I still refer to concepts I learned in one of Professor Jones’ advanced advocacy classes.”
Pathway to partnership
Duncan, Iwanicki and von Euw remained good friends long after graduation. And, after years of practicing law at different firms, they joined forces and opened their own practice.
“We got along well, and each had unique skills and practice areas to build a broad scope for a firm,” says Iwanicki. “We collectively wanted to grow something from the ground up and make it our own rather than following what other people wanted for us.”
“For myself, partnering with Greg and Joe was a decision rooted in trust, a shared vision and fulfilling a personal aspiration,” adds Duncan. “(We) had even joked about (doing this) throughout law school.
“One of the best pieces of advice I was given by several lawyers is that a small law firm partnership is akin to a marriage. Integrity and dependability are crucial. Joe and Greg aren’t just exceptional legal minds, they are friends who I trust implicitly.”
The partners agree there have been some growing pains since starting their business in Calgary over a year ago, but they remain optimistic about the future.
“(It’s been) tough but incredibly rewarding,” says von Euw. “Every day offers new challenges… and new opportunities and possibilities. I’m really enjoying running this firm with Scott and Joe and look forward to many more years of doing so.”