Voted "Best Law Firm in 
Southern Illinois" in 2021



R. Brian Harvey is the Managing Attorney at the Beard Law Firm. He practices primarily in the areas of personal injury, nursing home neglect, workers’ compensation and insurance/bad faith litigation. Brian has worked as an attorney for the Beard Law Firm since 2010 and was promoted to Managing Attorney in 2015.

Early life

Brian was born into a coal mining family in West Virginia. His dad taught him that if you wanted to succeed in life, you needed a strong work ethic and that you should try your best at everything you do. This advice has served him well throughout his life, whether he was throwing haybales on the back of a farm truck or deposing a witness in a deposition.

As a child, Brian moved all over the country because his father worked for a mine construction company. As a result, he has lived in West Virginia, Colorado, Utah, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Illinois. He moved to Sparta, Illinois, in 1986, and has lived in the area ever since.

While attending Sparta High School, Brian’s two greatest passions were football and debate. He was an all-conference middle linebacker in his junior and senior years and was invited to play in the All-Southern Illinois All Star football game in 1989. On the debate team, he won numerous trophies throughout high school, including the 1st place speaker position in the 1988-89 Greater St. Louis Area Debate Tournament. As a senior, he earned a trip to the 1989 National Debate Tournament when his team won the District Championships. He first realized he wanted to become an attorney during this time because he loved the competitive nature of debate and excelled at public speaking.

After high school, Brian debated on scholarship for Illinois State University for two years before he had to pause his college career for family reasons. The delay in pursuit of his college degree opened Brian’s eyes to the reality that nothing was guaranteed in life and if you wanted something, nobody was going to hand it to you. You would have to earn it.

While Brian was out of college, he applied his strong work ethic to a variety of jobs, including throwing hay bales, retail, fast food, roofing, construction, factory work, coal mines, sales, and office management. During this period of his life, he gained an appreciation for the struggles of working families in Southern Illinois and knew more and more that he needed to finish college and fulfill his dream of becoming an attorney.

After a time, he went back to college, and graduated with a major in Political Science from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Brian also attended SIU-C School of Law, where he excelled in the Moot Court program. His moot court team finished as the first runner up for the 2007 intramural competition. At the national level, he earned honors as the Best Oral Advocate in the Preliminary Rounds at the McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court competition hosted by the University of Minnesota Law School. His team finished in the top 16 teams that year, and the top 8 teams the following year. Prior to earning his J.D. at SIU in 2009, he was appointed to the Order of the Barristers.

Personal life

Brian’s beautiful wife Melanie teaches 4th grade at a local public school. Melanie loves her work and is an outstanding teacher. Their wonderful daughter Hannah is pursuing her undergraduate degree at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

In their spare time, Brian and Melanie enjoy hiking in the great natural scenery in Southern Illinois with their two dogs, Greta and Marley. They also enjoy photography and antiquing. Another interest they share is a love for travel, with their favorite destinations being the Colorado Rockies and the Florida Keys. When in the Rockies they love to hike, fish, and ride four wheelers. When in the Keys, they love to snorkel in the various coral reefs and relax on the beaches.

Brian and Melanie support various charitable causes throughout the year. Brian supports food drives every fall for local needy families and Melanie is active in environmental causes and helps educate the youth about the need to be responsible environmental stewards.

Why brian became an attorney

In high school, Brian knew that he wanted to be an attorney because he loved to debate. He loved the preparation, the competition and especially the victories. Because he excelled at public speaking, becoming an attorney seemed like a no brainer. “High School” Brian reasoned that if he excelled at the game of competitive debate, he would also excel at the game of court room advocacy.

His years of experience working blue-collar jobs before he could finish college helped ground him in reality. He learned what it’s like to support a family that is sometimes struggling to make ends meet, and he learned empathy for what working families have to endure. It was during this time of struggle that his desire to become an attorney took on a deeper, more mature meaning.
Brian realized that court room advocacy was not a “game,” but a real-life fight for a client’s future. He realized that there is great value in hard fought advocacy that helps his fellow human, and he looks forward every day to “fighting the good fight.” He chose personal injury law because he knows how hard it is for working Southern Illinois families to make ends meet when they lose a bread winner to a serious accident.

So today, if you were to ask him why he became a personal injury attorney, his answer is simple. “I like helping the little guy and I like fighting the good fight.”

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