So What Does the CBA Do For Me?
by Frank C Kraemer
“I don’t see value for my CBA fees. I am concerned about the public image of the profession. I want my professional association to speak out for my interests and those of the profession; it should help me find ways to be happier in the practice of law and to achieve financial security. But I don’t have time to read BarTalk, CBA faxes and e-mails.”
These are some sentiments I recently heard from members who want to see that they receive value for their membership dollars, but have little time to read detailed information about what the CBA, nationally and provincially does for them. Permit me to outline briefly some of what the CBA is doing to address member concerns and, hopefully, demonstrate to those in doubt that they do receive value for their membership dollars.
Image of the Profession
The CBA recently developed a print and TV ad campaign (view the ads at www.cba.org). We are using B.C. dollars to extend the print version of that campaign throughout B.C. Law Week activities and especially the free legal advice given to the public on Dial-A-Lawyer Day also demonstrate to the public the positive contributions of lawyers.
Speaking Out for the Profession
The CBABC has consistently pressed government to eliminate the discriminatory tax on legal services. We recently redoubled our efforts and developed a campaign directed by a committee of dedicated CBABC members to press this issue before the next election.
The CBA has intervened in many recent cases to defend client confidentiality and solicitor client privilege.
Work and Life Balance
In our complex world, there just is not enough time to meet both career and family demands and still have some time for ourselves. The CBA recognizes this as an important issue for members. It has developed tools to help you both to practice better and smarter and to be happier. Explore CBA PracticeLink at www.cba.org.
The CBABC’s Women Lawyers Forum has developed mentoring and educational programs designed to promote the interests of women lawyers and to encourage them to remain in the profession.
We have developed other helpful information (see www.bccba.org) in the area of child care; information on elder care and other work/life balance issues will soon be available.
The CBA cares about members’ financial circumstances. In addition to the many member services offerings, it has recently developed a group RRSP program. It offers a variety of investment opportunities with management fees at least 1 per cent below market rates.
The CBABC continues to monitor WCB assessment rates for law firms. For two years, WCB has not increased rates for law firms, following CBA intervention.
These are but a few of the programs and services CBA both nationally and at the Branch gives you. We need your help though to get out the good news. If you have suggestions for how we can do better including communicating with our members, I welcome your suggestions.
This article was published in the June 2004 issue of BarTalk. © 2004 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.