Student reflections on the CBA from the Prairies

  • June 11, 2020
  • Braeden Cornick

There are few sprawling urban skylines in Winnipeg, and the downtown core is a fraction the size of sone of the larger Canadian cities. Winnipeg does not boast the same size of a legal community as Ontario, but the connection that Manitoba and the Prairies have with the Canadian Bar Association remain strong. As a student, the CBA and Manitoba Bar Association provide opportunities for students of all walks of life to have their interests met and their voice heard.

As a smaller province with a capital city whose population is no more than 800,000, the MBA has channelled this small city energy to foster an incredibly close-knit legal community that has plenty of ties to Robson Hall. Indeed, CBA fees for all students in Robson Hall are waived; as such, there is often a 100% registration rate to the CBA for Robson Hall students. Students are introduced to the MBA at a champagne reception on their first day of school and are immediately paired up with a mentor in the Winnipeg legal community to guide them through the next few years. A month later, students are invited to an MBA reception at one of Winnipeg’s largest firms and participate in several more MBA sponsored networking events throughout the year. The MBA also puts a focus on students’ mental well-being as they sponsor exam study dinners for students and offer words of encouragement during exam times. The “boots on the ground” approach that the MBA takes to outreach is immensely appreciated by students at Robson Hall. Having an institution as large as the MBA backing students in their studies, networking, and general wellness is how the MBA has been able to successfully bridge the gap between themselves and the otherwise isolated school.

Having the chance to sit as an executive member of the national Law Students Section of the CBA, and being the MBA representative to Robson Hall, I have come to see and appreciate the work that the CBA does and how it complements that of the MBA. The high-level, national-scope work of tackling the articling crisis, advocating for student loans, and creating opportunities for boosting mental health for members of the legal community are all worthy endeavours that are made stronger by the unified voice of the CBA that joins law school and articling students across Canada.

While not all students are as fortunate as I am to have this direct involvement with the CBA, students are aware of the CBA as an omnipresent institution that advocates for their legal interests on a national scale. With the MBA effectively providing students opportunities to get engaged with the legal community locally, and the CBA connecting them to the greater legal community of Canada, there is a solid foundation upon which students’ needs and interests are targeted at all levels.

Braeden Cornick is a second-year law student and the MBA representative to Robson Hall.