Janet Fuhrer of Ottawa assumes the presidency of the CBA on Aug. 16

  • August 16, 2015

CALGARY – Janet Fuhrer of Ottawa becomes president of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) at the 2015 CBA Legal Conference in Calgary on August 16. She begins her one-year term at the close of the conference, succeeding Michele Hollins, Q.C., of Calgary.

Taking over the reins in the midst of change in the legal profession and at the Association, Janet Fuhrer pledges to maintain a clear focus on helping members face the challenges of the future, on furthering the targets of the landmark Equal Justice report, and on re-aligning the CBA’s internal structure and products to reflect the current reality.

While keeping those priorities at the forefront, she sees the need for the Association to provide more value.  And that, she says, can be achieved to a large extent through mentoring, in other words, “lawyers helping lawyers.”

“As an Association, we must facilitate connections between and among lawyers. To do that, mentoring becomes increasingly necessary,” says Janet Fuhrer. “It takes more than a few years at law school to be a good lawyer. We need a range of skills, ongoing professional development, and connectedness with peers and colleagues. The CBA is where mentoring can happen – and can happen well.”

She notes that the way law is practised is changing. The CBA Futures report addressed many aspects of the evolving environment and has shown that the profession needs to embrace those changes. “Technology, for example, has changed the way we access information. Our clients have access to much of the same information online as we do. As a result, they are looking for more than just options. They want practical, strategic advice that will guide them and help them solve their problems,” she adds.

Building on the work of her predecessor, Janet Fuhrer will continue to stress the need for the legal community to become more welcoming of both women and diversity. “It makes perfect sense for us to embrace gender balance and diversity. The more diverse we are, the more we resemble the public we serve, making it easier for them to connect with us.”

In essence, she adds, it comes down to putting the needs of people – our clients – at the forefront. That includes implementing the recommendations of the Equal Justice report. “This is where we become lawyers helping lawyers helping people,” she says.

“We have made important strides on the equal justice front. Our 12 legal health checks have been distributed and well received by thousands of people through our Law Day efforts.  Earlier this week, we launched a preventive law toolkit to help legal professionals assist their clients in resolving legal issues before they become big problems.”

“When we broaden our reach and bring justice to more people, we are fulfilling our social as well as legal responsibility.”

A partner with the firm of Ridout & Maybee in Ottawa, Janet Fuhrer specializes in IP law. A certified IP specialist by the Law Society of Upper Canada, she has been recognized in the Who’s Who Legal: Trademarks 2015World Trademark Review 1000 2015Chambers Global 2014ExpertGuides: Women in Business Law 2014, Managing Intellectual Property’s IP Stars of 2014, among others.

Janet Fuhrer is a past chair of the CBA’s Professional Development committee and past chair of the National Sections Council. She chaired the CBA’s IP Section for two years. She is a past president of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada and has held leadership positions with the American Intellectual Property Law Association.

She is involved in numerous professional activities and is a frequent speaker and moderator at IP conferences and meetings. She has written extensively on IP law in trade publications. In her spare time she is an avid runner and reader.

Janet Fuhrer takes over the presidency on Sunday, Aug. 16 at the close of the CBA Legal Conference in Calgary. The conference is open to accredited media. Please contact Hannah Bernstein for accreditation.

The CBA is dedicated to support for the rule of law, and improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 36,000 lawyers, notaries in Quebec, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.

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