By Don Fraser, St. Catharines Standard
Thursday, April 14, 2016 6:31:09 EDT PM
Malte von Anrep’s early life was marked by a family close call in Poland during the Second World War.
As Russian troops advanced on his hometown, his family managed to escape — including his father who had been shot. After a stint in Germany, they immigrated to Canada.
A calmer early life unfolded for von Anrep in London, Ont., to be followed by a notable career as a lawyer in St. Catharines after he was called to the bar in 1966.
Von Anrep is a senior partner with Lancaster Brooks and Welch in St. Catharines and been with the firm since 1985.
He is marking 50 years in the business.
The family and civil litigation lawyer continues to practise, although at age 76 he is winding down his trial work and intends to slow things down after that.
“I enjoy good health, enjoy the work and above all the people I work with,” said von Anrep from inside at corner office at the firm’s 80 King St. building. “That makes it easy not to retire.”
Von Anrep is married to Karen and together they have two adult daughters, Cassandra and Katie — both of whom are employed by the firm, but not as lawyers.
The lawyer was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1984, and a year later was part of an amalgamation of three law firms, Lancaster, Mix & Welch; Partington, Hugil & Wormald; and von Anrep & Repei.
By 1988, the north St. Catharines resident became a certified specialist in civil litigation.
He recalled a lawyerly world in those early days that moved at another pace.
In the late 1960s, a solicitor might respond to another via post mail and anticipate a response in two weeks.
“Today, you get something by e-mail and they expect an answer by 4:30 p.m.,” he said. “Of course, the pace has picked up substantially.”
St. Catharines’ legal community is also a relatively small one, he added.
“You do know everybody — I really get along well with them and it’s made the practice so easy.
The lawyer remarked on another recent change that he praises and encourages.
“There’s has been a genuine effort to meet with the other side, to try to reach a reasonable compromise or settlement through mediation or arbitration,” von Anrep said.
“There’s a general recognition that going to court and having a trial should be a last resort,” he said. “I invariably tell clients it’s the most expensive and most unpredictable (way to go).
“You’re far better off working out something that you can live with, where you know exactly what you’re getting.”
Away from working hours, his volunteer work has included serving as president of the Lincoln County Law Association and two decades with the Legal Aid Area Committee. Von Anrep has also served on a number of area boards, while indulging in a sweet tooth for fishing, skiing in Lake Tahoe, golf and far-flung motorcycling.
“What I find invigorating is I have established relationships with friends in each area,” he said. “If I need a break, I have groups to go to Buffalo Bills games, or a golf or ski trip.
“It’s very important to get away from the practice, to let your mind relax and you don’t do any of those activities by yourself — you have to have family and friends to do them with.
“And I have always had that.”