A Year Like No Other

And we thrived!

A Year Like No Other

The past year has challenged all of us in ways we hadn’t ever experienced. But if there is one thing all lawyers can do, it is to rise to meet a challenge. The continual adaptation asked of us in both our professional and personal lives has brought new opportunities and perspectives. You brought this growth mindset into CBABC where it was matched by a service team equally ready and able to support members in all the challenges thrown our way.

When we look back on the past CBABC year, our collective work on the Agenda for Justice 2021 and the discussions which followed, is a highlight. Following the October surprise election call, volunteers worked hard and fast to prepare our law and policy reform platform released in February. CBABC’s immediate priority was to secure funding to support the modernization of the courts and justice system, and to retain virtual signing provisions beyond the end of the pandemic. And we succeeded. Even better, we strengthened our communications with the Ministry of Attorney General and all levels of court to keep the dialogue going. Our role is always to bring the front-line experiences of members and their clients to the discussion to help those responsible for systems understand what is needed. Meanwhile, members saw not only the benefits of virtual proceedings, but also their limitations. Read the Advocacy Update to discover two recent submissions made by CBABC to the courts and the government.

The commitment to equality was also a highlight of the year. Our Young Lawyers Advisory Committee completed a submission to address the exploitation of articling students. The Board of Directors and SOGIC created educational resources for members to understand and follow the directives to share pronouns and form of address for all court participants. These resources were picked up across Canada as more jurisdictions moved to follow British Columbia’s practices to demonstrate respect to court participants, including lawyers. CBABC’s Reconciliation Response Plan for law firms went national as part of the Truth & Reconcilation Toolkit for the profession.

Members drew strength from our most inspired leaders and from each other. Justice Abella’s address at our AGM in February called upon the legal warriors to continue to stand for those who most desperately need representation and change. Commissioner Marion Buller inspired us to incorporate the Calls to Justice from the Inquiry Report on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls in all CBABC work. And as the foreshadowed discovery of remains of children who attended Indian residential schools across Canada came to light, the Aboriginal Lawyers Forum hosted Sharing Circles for Indigenous and non-Indigenous lawyers to connect and be supported.

Our Sections Executives continued to connect with their peers to bring substantive law PD to colleagues. Unprecedented attendance at virtual meetings surpassed 15,800 compared to 12,593 last year. CBABC offered professional development virtual events focusing on truth & reconciliation, equality & diversity, and ethics with over 3800 attending. We made it easier for members to explore all programs and events, and improved our social media communications.

CBABC introduced Thoughtexchange to capture your ideas and evaluate those of others on topics including legal service delivery, advocacy priorities, court practice, questions at PD sessions, and so much more. Your valuable input shaped our member services and policy and advocacy throughout the year. We’re enhancing our reporting back to you next year and look forward to your continued participation.

Responding to member interests and leveraging the contributions of volunteers was a hallmark of this past year. 7338 lawyers, law students, and judges are members in BC — more than ever in the past 16 years! Don’t forget to renew your membership to receive relevant value and sustain the strength of your association.