Article 1: Name
1.1 This Conference shall be known as the Women Lawyers Forum (the "Forum").
Article 2: Purpose
2.1 The purpose of the Forum is to promote, support and advance the stature and influence of women in the legal profession.
Article 3: Objects
3.1 The objects of the Forum are to:
(a) develop mechanisms for the promotion and advancement of the stature and influence of women in the legal profession;
(b) develop programs which enhance the business and professional confidence of women who practice law, including those in private practice, public service, in-house counsel and community leadership;
(c) provide a forum for networking, education and mentoring opportunities for women in the legal profession;
(d) co-ordinate a mentor matching system or other resources for mentoring of women lawyers;
(e) foster acknowledgement and understanding of the special challenges faced by women in law from diverse communities;
(f) liaise and share resources with legal organisations in other jurisdictions and with women in the judiciary, other professions and organizations;
(g) monitor model policies and work with the law societies of British Columbia and other jurisdictions on issues and projects of joint concern;
(h) identify and provide resources on current issues affecting women in law;
(i) develop communications tools, including a web site, to assist women lawyers in identifying and having access to available resources;
(j) provide a forum for provincial and national Canadian Bar Association sections and committees to share and pursue long term solutions to issues, problems and concerns for women in the legal profession; and
(k) pursue the formation of a national Canadian Bar Association Women Lawyers Forum.
Article 4: Membership
4.1 All members in good standing of the British Columbia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association [the "Branch"] are eligible for membership in the Forum.
4.2 A person shall apply for membership in the Forum in such form and manner as prescribed by the Branch and application for membership shall be accompanied by the full amount of the dues, if any, prescribed for membership.
4.3 Only members in good standing may vote at annual or special meetings of members or in respect of elections of the members of the Executive.
4.4 Only members in good standing may become members of the Executive or serve on Committees.
Article 5: Officers and Executive
5.1 The officers of the Forum shall be the Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary.
5.2 The Executive of the Forum shall consist of the officers, the Immediate Past Chair, the four (4) members-at-large elected or appointed as described herein and the Chairs of any Standing Committees formed pursuant to Articles 9.1 and selected pursuant to Article 9.5.
5.3 The Executive shall plan the activities of the Forum, shall represent it, shall manage its affairs during the intervals between meetings and shall perform such other duties as may from time to time be prescribed.
5.4 The officers of the Forum shall constitute a Steering Committee.
5.5 Subject to the control of the Executive, the Steering Committee shall have power to transact all business of the Forum in the interim between the meetings of the Executive. Three (3) members shall constitute a quorum. The Steering Committee shall meet at the call of the Chair or of any two (2) members thereof.
Article 6: Election and Appointment of Officers and Executive
6.1 The first officers of the Forum shall be appointed by the Executive Committee of the Branch. The first officers of the Forum shall be appointed for a term of one (1) year which term may be renewed by the Executive Committee of the Branch. Thereafter, the officers shall be selected in accordance with this Article.
6.2 The Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and the four (4) members-at-large will be elected by vote of the members at the annual meeting.
6.3 After serving as the Vice-Chair, the incumbent Vice-Chair shall automatically become the Chair of the Forum to serve in such office for a term of two (2) years following the expiration of her term as the Vice-Chair.
6.4 After serving as the Chair, the incumbent Chair shall automatically become the Immediate Past Chair of the Forum to serve in such office for a term of two (2) years following the expiration of her term as the Chair.
6.5 Subject to Article 6.6 the officers elected pursuant to Article 6.2 shall hold office for a term of two (2) years from the date of the annual meeting in which they were elected.
6.6 A member of the Executive shall immediately cease to be an officer and/or member of the Executive:
(a) If she ceases to be a member in good standing of the Law Society of British Columbia other than by reason of her appointment to a judicial office;
(b) If she ceases to be a member in good standing of the Branch or the Forum;
(c) If, by notice in writing to the Chair or Secretary of the Forum she resigns as a member of the Executive;
(d) If she fails to attend three (3) consecutive meetings of the Executive and then, only by special resolution of the Executive.
6.7 Any casual vacancy in an office of the Forum, or in a position on the Executive, including the position of Chair or Vice Chair, may be filled by an appointee of the Executive for the unexpired term of such vacant office.
6.8 No person shall serve as a member of the Executive for more than three (3) consecutive terms of office provided however that:
(a) An incumbent Chair may remain as Chair for such additional number of years as will enable her to serve as Chair for up to a maximum of two (2) consecutive years. The maximum term of office for the position of Chair shall be two (2) consecutive years. All other officers shall be eligible for an unlimited number of re-elections, subject to the provisions of this paragraph related to the maximum number of consecutive terms that a member of the Executive may serve.
(b) After three (3) consecutive terms of service by a member of the Executive, a person may again serve as a member of the Executive, following a break of two (2) years.
Article 7: Duties of Officers
7.1 The Chair shall be the presiding officer at all general meetings and meetings of the Steering Committee and/or the Executive. The Chair shall represent the Forum in all dealings with the members and the Branch, provided however that the Chair may delegate this function to such other officers, members of the Executive or persons as the Chair, in her sole discretion, shall determine. It shall be the duty of the Chair to take such action as may be necessary to promote the policies prescribed by the Canadian Bar Association, the Branch, the Forum and the Forum Executive.
7.2 The Vice-Chair shall perform such duties as may from time to time be delegated to the Vice-Chair by the Chair and shall, in the absence of the Chair, preside at general meetings and at meetings of the Steering Committee and/or the Executive.
7.3 The Treasurer shall maintain the financial records of the Forum. She shall liaise with the Branch with respect to financial matters and the receipt and disbursement of funds. The Treasurer shall produce for members of the Executive monthly financial statements and a report of the Forum’s financial activities for each month.
7.4 The Secretary shall be responsible for making the necessary arrangements for:
(a) The conduct of the correspondence of the Forum;
(b) The issuance of notices of meetings of the Executive, the Steering Committee and the Forum, including the agendas for such meetings;
(c) The keeping of minutes of all meetings of the Executive, the Steering Committee and the Forum, including meetings held by teleconference;
(d) The custody of all records and documents of the Forum, except those required to be kept by the Treasurer; and
(e) The maintenance of an accurate roll of the members of the Executive.
7.5 If the Secretary is absent from any meeting of the Executive, the Steering Committee or the Forum, the members of the Executive present shall appoint another person to act as secretary at that meeting.
7.6 Each member-at-large shall perform such duties as the Executive may direct from time to time.
Article 8: Nominations
8.1 A Nominating Committee shall be appointed annually immediately following the annual meeting. The Nominating Committee shall consist of the Chair and such other members as may be appointed by the Executive from time to time. The Committee shall have as its function the selection of candidates for the offices of Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and members-at-large from the general membership. Membership in the Forum, participation in its activities, interest, effectiveness and regional considerations shall be the criteria by which such candidates are selected to run for the offices of Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and members-at-large.
8.2 Any member in good standing may nominate another member as a candidate for the above noted offices. Such nominations shall be in writing and delivered by at least one nominator and one seconder and must be accompanied by the nominee’s acceptance of her nomination forty-five (45 days) prior to the annual meeting provided that any person being nominated fulfills the criterion for election in Article 4 hereof.
8.3 All nominations shall be announced to members at least thirty (30) days in advance of the annual meeting by written notice delivered by regular post, fax, e-mail or other accepted method of transmission.
8.4 Each member in good standing present at the annual meeting is entitled to vote. The Immediate Past-Chair, Chair and Vice-Chair shall count the votes. The nominee receiving the greatest number of votes for the offices of Vice-Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary shall be elected to those offices. The four (4) nominees receiving the greatest number of votes for the position of member-at-large shall be elected as members-at-large. Nothing precludes a member-at-large from being nominated to act as an officer of the Forum at the end of her term as member-at large.
Article 9: Committees
9.1 The Chair, with the advice of the Steering Committee and the members-at-large, shall appoint such committees as they deem necessary to carry out the purposes of the Forum or to assist the Executive in the orderly management of the affairs of the Forum. Such Committees shall be deemed “standing committees” or ad hoc committees as required by the Steering Committee and the four members-at-large.
9.2 Standing Committees shall be those committees that the Steering Committee and the members-at-large determine, in their discretion are essential for carrying out the ongoing business of the Forum. Ad hoc Committees shall be those committees formed to deal with a particular task assigned to that committee by the Steering Committee and the four members-at-large.
9.3 A committee, in the exercise of the powers delegated to it, shall conform to any rules that may from time to time be imposed by the Executive and shall report its activities at the next meeting of the Executive held after it has been done or at such other time or times as the Executive may determine.
9.4 The members of a committee may meet and adjourn as they think proper and meetings of the committees shall be governed mutatis mutandis by the rules set out in these Articles governing proceedings of the Executive.
9.5 The Chairs of each Standing Committee shall be voting members of the Executive and shall be selected by the members of each Standing Committee, in consultation with the Nominating Committee. The term of office for a Chair of a Standing Committee shall be two (2) years, unless otherwise determined by the Executive.
Article 10: Meetings
10.1 One (1) regular annual meeting and such other regular meetings as the Executive deems appropriate shall be held at such time and places as may be determined by the Executive.
10.2 Notice of the annual meeting or any regular meetings shall be given to members at least thirty (30) days in advance by written notice delivered by regular post, fax, e-mail or other accepted method of transmission and shall specify the place, the day and the hour of meeting, and, in case of special business, the general nature of that business.
10.3 Special meetings may be called at such time and place as the Executive may select and notice including the purpose of the meeting shall be given to members at least thirty (30) days in advance by written notice delivered by regular post, fax, e-mail or other accepted method of transmission.
10.4 A quorum to do business at either regular or special meetings of the Forum shall be not less than ten (10) members present.
10.5 The Chair, the Vice-Chair or, in the absence of both, one of the other officers present shall preside as chair of a general meeting.
10.6 In case of an equality of votes the Chair shall not have a casting or second vote in addition to the vote to which she may be entitled as a member and the proposed resolution shall not pass.
10.7 (a) Members present at meetings of members are entitled to one (1) vote.
(b) Voting shall be by show of hands.
(c) Voting by proxy is not permitted.
10.8 The Executive shall meet at least four (4) times per year at a time and place designated by the Chair. Notice of any regular meeting of the Executive shall be given at least five (5) days in advance by written notice delivered to each member of the Executive personally, by regular post, fax, e-mail or other accepted method of transmission. A special meeting of the Executive may be called by the Chair on her own motion or upon request of two (2) or more members of the Executive. A quorum at any meeting of the Executive shall be a majority of the members thereof. The Executive may pass such resolutions as it deems necessary for the management of the affairs of the Forum; such resolutions to be reduced to writing and maintained by the Secretary.
10.9 Meetings of the Executive, Steering Committee or Officers may take place by telephone conference call.
Article 11: Amendment
11.1 This Constitution may be amended by the Provincial Council of the Branch.
Approved at Provincial Council Meeting – March 12, 2010