The Advantage of Being Young

  • December 01, 2018
  • Caroline Nevin

Why the CBA’s future is so bright in B.C.

As part of our tribute to Caroline Nevin, we present her first BarTalk article as Executive Director from June 2007.

Since that time, Caroline has contributed 65 articles over 11 years. We invite you to take a journey from 2007-2018 with Caroline’s BarTalk articles here.

On behalf of the BarTalk Editorial Board, we thank Caroline for her dedication to this publication and the legal profession in BC.

Organizations – like people – go through phases as they develop and mature. The Canadian Bar Association, despite its 100+ years as an established institution, is at a very early stage in its development as a voluntary association in B.C. I describe us as the most nimble, responsive Branch in the country, because almost everything we do is charting new ground here. Our energy, drive and “anything’s possible” attitude stems from our relative youth as a voluntary organization, and has made us a national leader when it comes to attracting new lawyers.

We are completely focused on excellence – its definition, pursuit and achievement. In the world of member service organizations, there is only one mandate: to be the very best at satisfying current members and attracting new ones. For the CBA to do that requires a clarity of vision that is only possible when you listen to lawyers. That’s one of my key roles as Executive Director: to hear what you have to say, both good and critical, and to use that information to guide our actions.

We are now entering our third year of voluntary membership, and close to 60 per cent of the practising lawyers in the province have joined us. From talking with members throughout B.C., I have a clear understanding of why people join:

  • Personal commitment to the profession – a belief that belonging to the CBA is an important part of being a lawyer, and that a strong CBA is good for the whole profession
  • A desire to support law reform – individual lawyers often can’t give their time and attention to legislation, law reform and policy development, but do want to ensure the profession’s input on provincial and federal laws
  • Concern about government and regulatory decisions – when clout is needed to influence decisions that impact lawyers, members believe in the power and credibility of the CBA
  • A need to connect with other lawyers – members value the networking, mentoring, learning, volunteering... and a sense of “belonging” to a profession, beyond day-to-day life as a lawyer.

Yes, there are member discounts on useful services, hockey and ski tickets. And yes, we are B.C.’s most prolific, cost-effective provider of up-to-date professional development through Sections. But most people join the CBA as a way to contribute and engage as part of the larger legal profession. Our job is to help you make that connection, and then exceed all your expectations of what CBA membership means.

I am fortunate to have a staff team that is as committed to this endeavour as I am, and a National office that backs us 100 per cent. The CBABC Executive and Council have provided exceptional leadership, ideas and support for new initiatives. While the voluntary B.C. Branch may yet be young, we have the wisdom of elders and experience to draw on – and no limits to what we can accomplish in the future. I look forward to working with you as we grow. BT