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A.W. McGarvey Law Office - Team BIOs

A.W. McGarvey and his staff are a dedicated team of professionals who work diligently to represent your best interests. We provide the highest level of personal service and we are often referred files from other legal counsel when our level of service and expertise is required. We have the experience, resources, and connections to handle the most complex cases.

A.W. McGarvey

A.W. (Al) McGarvey was born and raised in East Vancouver, B.C. In the eighth grade he first parted company with traditional high school. He then spent eight years occasionally at school and mostly travelling in North America. He obtained a form of education not offered in the formal school setting. From age 12 to 20, and during the turbulent sixties, Al “broadened his horizons” by traveling extensively throughout Canada and the United States, obtaining interpersonal skills through dealing with people “from all walks of life” and acquired extensive mechanical, motorcycle, and automotive skills through his numerous employment experiences.

Following his return to Vancouver, Al achieved his high school equivalency, via King Edward alternative school and attended Langara College (East Vancouver) and subsequently U.B.C. where he continued his major in Psychology. He had the privilege of completing a directed studies program, in the psychology of personality assessment, with the distinguished professor, Dr. Jerry S. Wiggins, at U.B.C. Following receipt of his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1977, he was offered a position at a number of law schools across Canada, and chose to attend the University of Windsor in Ontario. He received his law degree in 1980. Previous to continuing with his legal career, he then elected to spend two years in the pursuit of alternate interests, “because there would be no opportunity to pursue that after starting a practice". He then spent two years working in sawmills along the Fraser River, managing an auto body shop, managing a motorcycle repair shop, and working as a child care worker and key counsellor in a residential treatment center caring for a group of significantly disturbed and criminal youth.

In 1983, Al articled with a local Courtenay lawyer, Ted Holekamp, and was called to the bar in 1984, when he then joined Holekamp, Greyson & McGarvey. From 1983 to 1986, Al practiced in criminal defence and personal injury. From 1987 and to 1994 he worked as an ad-hoc (assigned) Crown Prosecutor, while maintaining his private practice in criminal defence and personal injury. He has practiced on the lower mainland, throughout British Columbia, and on Vancouver Island.

Al has appeared before the Provincial and Supreme Courts. He is an advisor for treatment programs for both offenders and victims of crime or the wrongful acts or negligence of others. He is fortunate to be able to draw on his experiences across a broad spectrum of society.

Memberships and Associations

  • Canadian Bar Association – current member for 40 years: executive of CBA Criminal Bar Subsection (Nanaimo County)
  • Member: Association of Criminal lawyers (Ontario)
  • Sustaining Member of Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia (Personal Injury and Criminal Law– current member since 1983
  • Law Society of British Columbia – current member (since 1984)
  • Washington State Trial Lawyers Association – former member
  • American Bar Association – former member
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America – former member
  • National Association of (American) Criminal Defence Lawyers – former member


On the rare occasion that he is not at work, Al can be found long distance motorcycle riding. He also enjoys motorcycle and automobile customizing, and he has a significant interest in film history and production.


Amanda is our legal assistant with primary conduct of our client files, and assists with court preparation. She maintains contact with clients, Crown Counsel, lawyers, the judiciary, court registry staff, agents, investigators, and our numerous consulting experts. She organizes and maintains client files and keeps clients up-to-date regarding upcoming court dates, assessments, deadlines, and other appointments.

Amanda enjoys outdoor activities such as kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking.


Michelle is our legal assistant with primary accounting duties. She has similar duties of contact with clients, Crown counsel, other lawyers, the judiciary, court registry staff, agents, investigators, and our numerous consulting experts. She manages all criminal and personal injury client accounts. Michelle receives and records all client information and documentation, and provides financial management by collecting, analyzing, and summarizing accounting information. She also assists with daily administrative tasks and duties.

Michelle has a background in graphic design, and is an avid photographer of nature and animals.


Chrissy is our legal assistant with current duties similar to Michelle and Amanda, and with less day-to-day involvement in client files. In the past she has performed both the duties now handled by Amanda and Michelle. She is currently employed on a part-time basis with our firm and is available for task specific assignments as well as holiday relief. Chrissy has been an instructor at our local college, training new legal assistants in all aspects of law office duties. Our office is frequently called upon to service as an example for legal assistant College students to observe (respecting our client confidentiality).

Chrissy is a proud mom of two boys aged 7 and 11, which collectively have conspired to remove her from full time employment.