Notes on the communication policy of the CBABC
by Frank C Kraemer
I confess that when I was an articled student all communication was by letter or telephone. But as we all know, over the years first came fax communication and then e-mail. We now live in a world where the volume of information that passes daily is almost overwhelming.
As well, in recent years, both as a result of changing attitudes reflected in legislation as well as the human response to the enormous volume of information being communicated, individuals more and more are jealously guarding their privacy and in some circumstances, placing limits on communication directed to them either by way of fax or electronically.
It is in that context that CBABC must operate. On the one hand, we know that our members want and need information that is relevant and timely. On the other hand, we occasionally receive grumbles from some members that some of the information we are sending to them, particularly electronically, is “spam.”
I would like to assure you that it is the policy of CBABC to communicate only information that we consider relevant and important to members. We receive and routinely reject requests for mass communications to members that do not fit those criteria. We also reject requests from non-members and even some external legal organizations for lists of members e-mail and/or fax information.
We have adopted a policy that only in specific circumstances will we e-mail individual members directly, unless they have specifically requested that we do so in all cases. Most of our communication now is by fax and e-mail to firms (depending on the preferred mode of communication).
Having said that, I would like to share a letter I recently received where we communicated information about an event to assist a member, Al Sutton, who was in need. The event in question was one organized by Mr. Sutton’s colleagues in the music industry. I did not see it as in any way competing or replacing assistance that may be available through the CBABC Lawyers Benevolent Fund Society, and thought it was information members would want to know. Here is the letter:
As you know Al Sutton was brutally assaulted on August 29, 2003. He was released from hospital on November 4, 2003. Al’s injuries prevent him returning to practice now and remain career-threatening. He has begun what will be a long rehabilitation process. The long term sequelae remain uncertain.
Al briefly attended the benefit dance that his friends in the music community organized November 7, 2003. The dance was a great success and attended by about 600 people from the music and legal communities. Al was deeply moved at the outpouring of support he and his family received from his friends in music and law.
I respect your need to protect the e-mail and fax addresses of CBA members. I am very grateful for the assistance of the CBA in publishing a note about Al’s circumstances and the opportunity to support a colleague. Many members attended and many more bought tickets. More importantly, the accompanying prayers, best wishes and other kind words of encouragement and support that members of the judiciary and the bar sent along were very much appreciated by Al and his parents. I know that Al will be thanking our colleagues personally when he is able.
The bar could not have learned about the need and the opportunity to support a fellow member without the assistance of the CBA. Thank you very much for helping members help members.
D. Art Kewin, M.A., LL.B., CFP, CDS
This article was published in the December 2003 issue of BarTalk. © 2003 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.