by Miriam Maisonville
Many people in the practice of law give freely of their time to the profession and not just to the Canadian Bar Association, the Law Society or one of the many pro bono groups. They also give to numerous associations outside our profession that help our communities.
Taking on pro bono cases, participating in committee work and helping and mentoring students are just some examples of legal volunteering.
Why volunteer? There are many reasons to give back, to get involved and to help others. And more often than not the person volunteering gets as much, if not more, out of volunteering than the recipient themselves. Why is that?
Volunteering to speak or make writing contributions will give you a wealth of information in the area you are dealing with. This practical knowledge can be used to benefit your practice.
Increased Client Base
For those starting out and building a practice and/or profile, client base can be increased by volunteering.
Committee work can teach a plethora of things, such as how a good Chair runs a meeting, learning areas of law outside your practice, and how you can help others. There are a multitude of excellent committee opportunities to engage in at both the Branch and National level. Volunteering with committees benefits you by placing you at the forefront of CBA advocacy initiatives while providing you with invaluable networking opportunities. Besides self-benefit, involving yourself with committees increases your value within your firm by broadening your expertise and increasing your engagement with the profession.
Through mentoring, you can help a junior member of the profession navigate his/her way through university articles or as a junior practitioner. Much has changed over the years, especially technology, but many of the same issues exist.
Helping in this way enables you to give to someone who might never otherwise have a chance at justice. It allows for someone who would not have access to the courts, to have his/her matter determined.
These opportunities are incredibly rewarding and can only help you grow.
Since 1990, the CBA has delivered legal and justice reform and capacity building projects in 29 countries. The CBA is committed to the values of an independent legal profession, an independent judiciary, the rule of law and the dignity of the individual. It knows that access to justice is essential to all of these values. There are many international volunteer opportunities. The CBA’s International Development Committee is currently seeking legal professionals to become members of our Resource Bank to support the CBA’s international development initiatives. You can find comprehensive information about the Resource Bank by visiting www.cba.org.
To Download the 2009/2010 Committee
Volunteer Form: www.cba.org/bc/About_Us/pdf/committee_volunteer_form.pdf
Forms will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on June 12, 2009.
This article was published in the June 2009 issue of BarTalk. © 2009 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.