Forecast for the Millennium
by Mayland McKimm
It is with great excitement that I approach this year as president of your Bar association. The BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association recently decided that the time had come to clearly and strongly restate the fundamental values of our organization. We are first and foremost the association in support of lawyers for lawyers. It is our role to be the essential ally for lawyers in all aspects of your professional lives.
The BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association will become the organization to which you will turn first for assistance when professional issues arise in your practice. We will ensure that our ability to respond includes everything from addressing concerns about practice management, to being heard at all levels of government on issues that impact directly on our profession or our clients.
In the coming year, we will continue to promote the development of valuable member services for you. These member services are effective for our organization and its universal membership because of the enhanced purchasing power it brings all of us, no matter the size of our firm. This year we will be looking at everything from preferred and recommended software, hardware, and office management packages to preferred rates with telephone and telecommunications suppliers. Everything from office supplies to recreational opportunities. We hope that when any of our members has a need in their practice, they will turn first to the CBA and receive the answers and solutions they need.
The CBA continues to be the voice of the legal profession. When our system of justice is attacked or unfairly criticized, it is our job to respond immediately and effectively. The Canadian public has grown skeptical of institutions and government. It is not that the justice system should not be criticized; indeed, this debate can form the basis of a valuable intellectual exchange. However, the CBA must be in the front of that debate. And we must continue to be vocal on the issues that matter to those who are marginalized in our society, and who cannot be heard on issues about equality of access to justice.
The CBA has a proud history of bringing to government the issues that affect our practices and the lives and business of clients. In 1998, our national association made submissions to the federal government on 55 pieces of federal legislation. Provincially we were called upon to make submissions either confidentially or publicly on 11 pieces of provincial legislation. The CBA has worked hard to develop a strong presence with government, and to ensure that our voice and issues are considered and addressed.
We are a profession which enjoys public confidence and respect — lawyer jokes aside, public opinion data shows clearly that we continue to prove worthy of public respect. We must continue to communicate to the public the value of our profession. No one else can provide the service, knowledge, experience and wisdom that we do. No other profession can match our tireless commitment to our communities on charitable Boards, in service organizations, in social and political organizations and, perhaps most importantly, in the schools, arenas, fields and in gymnasiums all over the province as we share in the task of supporting the development of the future generation of our country.
As a new year at the BC Branch gets underway, I am excited and somewhat daunted by the privilege of serving this profession. I need your input as to how we can best serve you. I hope you will take the opportunity to call me and tell me your thoughts. I look forward to working with you to take our profession into the next millennium, facing whatever the future brings, together, with strength and with pride.
This article was published in the October 1999 issue of BarTalk. © 1999 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.