You Are Not Alone


You Are Not Alone

The demands of the practice of law can at times seem overwhelming. Client expectations, deadlines, gruelling hours, overhead and the need to stay on top of a tsunami of new information can downgrade our ability to cope. And yet there is a cruel optimism that every crisis we face can be overcome by making individual changes in how we deal with our problems.

Yes, there is always a place for personal development, meditation and individual work toward mental well-being, but in the face of a personal emergency, we often need help outside of ourselves to deal with the underlying cause of the problem.

At the CBA (BC) Benevolent Society we recognize that lawyers, articled students and their families sometimes need help to get out of such emergencies. We also recognize that lawyers, trained to assist other people with their problems, are uniquely stigmatized when they need help with their own problems.

Our Society was formed in 1997 to provide assistance to lawyers or articled students who have suffered an illness or injury arising from any cause whatsoever — including, but not limited to, alcohol, drugs, stress, physical or mental injury — and to provide assistance to the families of those so affected. The Society was born out of concern for distressed members whose difficulties arose in a variety of circumstances. Inspired by various tales about fallen lawyers, Terry Laliberté, KC; Judge Gary Cohen; Bert Oliver, KC and Al Bate, KC and others worked together to do something for their comrades, rejecting a cold dissenting sentiment that lawyers should simply be able to take care of themselves.

We respond quickly and discreetly with financial aid necessary to reduce problems faced by members who have nowhere else to turn. We pass no judgment. There is no bureaucratic barrier to assistance. Our society is premised on respect for our troubled colleagues, and an understanding that there is a natural reluctance to seek our help. As long as our criteria for benevolence are met, we are not in the business of scrutinizing or monitoring how the funds are used, nor do we contact third parties to verify information about a member or play any investigative role. In short, we trust if you have come to us, your need is legitimate.

We deliberately avoid the use of application forms or other formal processes. We assess your situation through a lens of kindness and empathy, not scrutiny. The Society’s directors operate on the basis of consensus decision making and generally achieve common ground very quickly. Decisions are made within one week. The funds are provided by way of a grant, not a loan.

The Society has 12 directors, no paid staff and our resources come from the annual Vancouver and Victoria Battle of the Bar Bands (which together raised over $160,000 in 2023) and ad hoc donations. We are bullet proof confidential, discreet and ultimately benevolent, respecting those who come to us feeling broken or damaged.

If that is you, please reach out to us. You can start by confidentially contacting the Society’s President, David Hay, KC at We also work closely with Lawyers Assistance Program of BC in cases involving addiction and you can contact Derek LaCroix, KC at 604-685-2171 or

The Victoria Battle of the Bar Bands is happening Friday, April 5, 2024 at the Di Vinci Centre for the Performing Arts, and the Vancouver Battle of the Bar Bands is on Friday, June 7, 2024 at the Commodore Ballroom. Tickets for both sell-out events can be purchased at Can’t attend? We welcome your donations.