A Vision of the Future, a Parting of Ways
by Barry Cavanaugh
Over the past two years, CBABC has been developing and refining a new vision, a plan for the next several years. The Goal, Priorities and Action Plan approved in its final form by Council in June articulates the fundamental shift in CBABC which has been the theme of the past four years.
The Goal of CBABC is to be the primary resource and voice for its members in all issues affecting its members. The delivery of value to all members, and the recognition of that value by the membership, is paramount.
The seven equal priorities of CBABC are: to promote the legitimate self interest of lawyers; to be the voice of the profession; to support members’ professional education; to provide member service; to promote inclusiveness within CBABC and within the profession; to enhance communications with the membership; and to promote and enhance the image of lawyers.
Universal membership in CBABC is a necessary underpinning to this goal, and these priorities.
In order to promote its priorities and to achieve its goal, CBABC is committed to the following objectives:
- Executive Committee will provide a mandate and direction to all Committees and Sections to direct their activities to achieving the seven priorities of CBABC
- Executive Committee and all Sections and Committees will report to Council on their year’s activities, especially noting how their activity that year met the seven priorities
- CBABC will at all times deal openly, subject to necessary confidentiality, and will provide the membership with the fullest access to CBABC and to discussions regarding CBABC and Bar affairs
- As the voice of the profession, CBABC will actively advocate in the interest of its members
- In recognition of universal membership in BC, National CBA will be continually urged to enhance its service to and profile with CBABC members
- CBABC will consider establishing a service to assist members in resolving differences and promoting collegiality
- CBABC will advocate its seven priorities throughout the Canadian Bar Association
- As the strength and effectiveness of CBABC is derived from its volunteers, CBABC will publicly acknowledge and promote the work done by its volunteer members
- CBABC will review the effectiveness of Sections in order to determine how best to promote their relevance and to enhance and encourage participation by members
- CBABC will encourage partnerships with local and County Bar Associations, to promote the Goal and Priorities
- CBABC will develop the means to increase participation in CBABC activities by underrepresented groups within the membership
- CBABC will endeavour to communicate effectively with each member and inform each member of all CBABC activities
- CBABC will periodically measure the effectiveness of the implementation of the goal, priorities, and action plan
- CBABC will promote the value of national membership in the Canadian Bar Association
- CBABC will seek to advance the economic interests of its members
- CBABC will undertake a reexamination of its relationship with the Canadian Bar Association and its status as a Branch of the Canadian Bar Association
- CBABC will explore sources of revenue beyond membership fees
There is the promise. There is the vision, the Plan. This defines a Bar Association with meaning, with muscle, with a clarity of purpose and focus which will carry it forward with vigour, and serve its members to great and valuable effect in years to come.
Over the past few years, even as the Plan has begun to develop, we have moved on it. The focus of CBABC is “Lawyers First”…. “for Lawyers”…. And concomitant has been a genuine commitment to service. We have advocated forcefully and articulately on Legal Aid, on “no fault” insurance, on the inroads on solicitors’ practice… we have added more and more direct member benefits… we have worked with the Lawyers’ Assistance Plan to support one another, we have developed the Options program, for lawyers at a crossroads… so many other new, effective programs and resources.
We have begun to implement our new database, to vastly multiply and speed up our services to and communication with you, giving us the tools to keep the promise. And this fall, we launch the centerpiece… the CBABC “Lawyers of British Columbia” vortal, or vertical portal… an internet presence which will change the face of legal practice… which will seek to bring every resource a lawyer needs to his or her desktop, instantly… which will give sole practitioners the resources of the large firm (and then some) and will give the large firm practitioner flexibility and advantage well beyond what’s now available. Everything from legal research, online discussion groups for Sections, gossip, personal website development and rapid access online to the BC Lawyers’ Directory, through purchase of office supplies or printing jobs immediately and directly, online, at great discounts.. to, well, you name it. Literally.
Tell us what you need. We’ll do it. Our aim is to provide every resource and service you find you need… faster and better than anywhere else, broader than anyone else offers, and designed just to fit BC Lawyers. Watch for the vortal launch in late September…. We’ll publicise it well. It represents the culmination of a commitment to develop a powerful and effective service centre approach to the work of CBABC.
A final, and personal, note. With a sense of pride and accomplishment, at least in part based on some of the developments I’ve mentioned, I wish to advise you that at the end of August, I take my leave of CBABC. My four years and four weeks here have been an exciting time… a time of building, and change… a time of unprecedented fiscal successes for CBABC… a time of activism and advocacy on behalf of our profession. I am deeply proud of the things we have accomplished together, of the road we have walked together. Many of you, on this journey, have become friends… many of us have worked side by side for this profession which means so much to us. I will miss you… your spirit, your fire for the truth, for your clients, your energy. I will miss our staff at CBABC… I have not met, or worked with, finer people. The high level of their dedication to the profession, their sense of family and supportiveness, their joie de vivre, will continue to inspire me wherever I go.
At the end of August, I return to Alberta, and take up a new and exciting career path… but a part of me will always identify with the Lawyers of British Columbia.
This article was published in the August 2000 issue of BarTalk. © 2000 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.