THE ADVOCATE 737
VOL. 76 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2018
plishment for both Rob and Shelley was that their marriage survived law
school. This has never been a given, as any law school graduate knows.
Upon graduation in 1982 Rob secured articles with the venerable firm of
Clay and Company. His principal was the revered Pamela Murray, Q.C. Rob
thought the world of Pam and was devastated when she succumbed to a
lengthy illness at age 50. Rob remained at Clay and Company for the duration
of his career. He felt very fortunate to work at a firm which promoted
work–life balance and was very generous with its students and young
lawyers. He also drew considerable comfort from working with other principled
individuals who shared his Christian faith.
Clay and Company also featured some eccentrics (including Rob himself).
He would smile when describing Trevor Alexander’s usual way of
summoning him by banging on the wall between their offices and bellowing,
“Rob!” Apparently, Rob was a worthy bunkmate for Mr. Alexander, as
Rob’s negotiation style was so “enthusiastic” that extra soundproofing was
installed in the adjoining wall of his office to ensure “client confidentiality”.
From time to time, his zeal would cause a bookshelf in his office to collapse,
unloading his library on his head. Rob was also taken by Pam Murray’s
habit of saving scrap pieces of paper on which she took notes. He was happy
where he worked and he was immensely fun to work with.
At the same time, Rob was a perfect mix of tenacious litigator and problem
solver. He had a finely tuned sense of what the real issue was in a matter.
As Justice Alan MacFarlane of the Court of Appeal once said, “Mr.
Richey is an effective advocate because he focuses on what was important
and ignores what was not.” If you litigated a matter with Rob Richey, you
were treated to a good, honest fight about the issues that deserved to be
His former partner, Bob Gill, tells a story about another side of Rob’s professional
Rob had a remarkable ability to empathize. I once took on a complex medical
malpractice case involving a misdiagnosis of cancer leading to the
death of a husband and a father of a pre-teen. I decided the case needed
two lawyers and asked Rob to assist me. I remember the first time I introduced
Rob to our client. His acknowledgement of her grief was so profound,
so sincere, he had both the client and me in tears. The experience
was cathartic. After a group hug we went forward in the ensuing months
to negotiate a very favourable settlement.
Another colleague, Neil Vallance, recalls:
Rob was my kind of barrister. As a solicitor, I would send him files that
were about to explode. He would quickly move to acquaint opposing
counsel of our position in his extremely matter-of-fact way, which
seemed almost always to unnerve opposing counsel, who would quickly