With so many of us working remotely, the June issue of BarTalk is a digital-only issue. Watch for our next print issue in October. 

The Voice of the Membership: What You Say Matters

We asked, you answered. Now what does it all mean? Kerry L. Simmons, QC, CBABC Executive Director, looks at the value of membership from your perspective.

The Voice of the Membership: What You Say Matters

You’ve renewed your CBABC membership, or perhaps joined for the first time or returned after a break. That’s fantastic! Why? Because you have made an investment in your career and a commitment to your profession. You’ll connect with the people, knowledge and skills you need for career-long success. Those meaningful relationships you build with lawyers through your professional association will enable you to meet the challenges you face every day.

CBABC members say that the value of being a member and their satisfaction with being a member is continually improving. Those who rate the value of their membership as high and those who rate their satisfaction as high most frequently mention the good quality professional development, programs, services and networking opportunities as the reason for their opinion.

Where does this information come from? Beginning in 2017, CBA partnered with NANOS to survey members twice a year about everything from professional development (“PD”) programming to advocacy priorities and everything in between. The results are considered by the CBABC Executive Committee and CBA National Board when setting advocacy and strategic priorities and by staff to introduce new programs and services and retire others. This “member intelligence” as we call it, gives you a voice about what you value, what is important, and how we are doing in delivering the benefits of membership.

Why complete the survey when it lands in your inbox? Well, 90% of those who do say they complete the surveys to give input for better decision-making by CBA leadership, to be a good member and support the profession, and to identify issues that affect how they value their membership.

So what else have members told us? In May 2019, 90% of respondents said that calling for justice system improvements (such as addressing judicial vacancies and access to justice), and protecting solicitor-client privilege were at the top of the list of their advocacy priorities. 80% of respondents said that promoting equality in the legal profession (overcoming systemic bias in the legal hiring process, measuring diversity, etc.) and encouraging mental health training is important or somewhat important. More than 65% said that advancing the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action related to the justice system and the legal profession is important or somewhat important. Just under 65% said that reducing the debt of law students and new lawyers is important or somewhat important.

This information supports existing work and new initiatives. In September at Provincial Council, CBABC will introduce three new committees: Professional Issues, Indigenous Justice Advocacy, and Truth & Reconciliation Advisory through which members will develop CBABC policy and recommendations in those areas. The Young Lawyers Advisory Committee is working on an advocacy campaign regarding student debt. We’ll highlight more mental health training programs available throughout Canada, and we’ll add more support for our advocacy and policy development.

Speaking of PD, whether through Sections or PD seminars, survey respondents say they are most interested in substantive law offerings and 80% want online PD. So in response, CBABC will have more of our two-hour PD webinars and we hope to increase the recording and webinaring of Section meetings while trying out new platforms for web-delivery to find what works best for members.

So when that survey next lands in your inbox, please complete it. It’s a quick way to let CBABC know what you need and want and what is important to you. Your engagement will influence what happens in your professional association.

When members value and are satisfied with their CBABC membership, they renew and encourage others to join. This leads to growth in numbers which, in turn, supports the sustained and credible voice of the association. This past year, our membership grew to 7,221, a 2.1% increase over the year before. It’s an exciting time for CBABC so make sure you stay connected through Sections, News & Jobs and the people you’ve met through CBABC.

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