And That’s a Wrap!


And That’s a Wrap!

As many past CBABC presidents will tell you (and as you might expect), your term as president is a bit of a whirlwind and feels over before you know it. It seems a little early to try and make sense of it all, but two major themes emerged during my year as CBABC President: the return to in-person events with a vengeance; and the unfortunate attacks on the independence of our legal profession and the judiciary.

Although there was some expectation that we would slowly be restarting in-person gatherings, perhaps on a graduated return, it was remarkable how we were suddenly flooded with events, many with record attendance. There were some days I was attending multiple events per day — like a legal conference, welcoming ceremony and gala dinner.

It was heartening to see associations, such as the South Asian Bar Association BC, holding a record attendance legal conference this past November, with two South-Asians, Jeevyn Dhaliwal on behalf of the Law Society of BC, and me on behalf of CBABC, providing opening remarks. Likewise, I was excited to attend the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers BC gala dinner, with almost 500 lawyers (another attendance record).  

Meanwhile, this year’s CBABC events kept pace with full attendance at our Aboriginal Lawyers Forum Holiday Banquet, Women Lawyers Forum Awards Gala and annual Vancouver Bench & Bar Dinner (which we co-hosted with the Vancouver Bar Association for the first time), to name just a few.

Not as exciting, and deeply disheartening, was the unexpected need for us to issue repeated public statements responding to attacks on our legal profession and the judiciary, and defending the critical importance of maintaining their respective independence to the rule of law.

As the issue of bail hearings and repeat offenders was a hot topic, these public statements garnered immediate media interest and coverage. The other hot topic has been the dearth of necessary judicial appointments being made by government, putting significant strain on our justice system — an equally critical issue, which our Executive Director, Kerry Simmons, KC, handled in an impeccably informed manner.

The behind-the-scenes CBABC staff preparation and support for all these events, public statements and media interviews, not to mention the amazing output of continuing professional development, Section activity and written submissions was extraordinary this year. Special projects included a revised CBABC Reconciliation Action Plan, the new Practice Coaches Program and the Indigenous Lawyers Waiver of Dues Program.

Of the many CBABC submissions this year, the most significant was no doubt in response to the B.C. government’s paper providing notice of its intention to develop legislation that would regulate all legal service providers under a single statute by a single regulator. Again, our key message was the critical importance of maintaining the independence of the legal profession as the government moves forward with its initiative.

These worthy fights will all continue into the next term, ably led by incoming CBABC President Scott Morishita and an impressively diverse and fierce CBABC Board of Directors of which we should all be very proud. Personally, I can say without hesitation that it was an absolute honour and privilege to serve you this year with such a remarkable group of board members, volunteers and staff.