The Power of One

  • February 01, 2015
  • Caroline Nevin

Your actions – and support – do matter

We all know the adage about the potential impact of one person. When I talk to lawyers, they are very clear about their desire to do good things in the world. Putting that desire into action happens with individual decisions – including where we choose to put our money and time. In the case of lawyers, some of that impact happens through joining groups like the CBA that can do more than any of us could ever do alone.

I’ve been reflecting on this because we are in the process of asking each of you to consider how the work of the CBA aligns with your own goals for what you want to accomplish in the world. This isn’t the usual intellectual plea; this is an urgent request to consider whether or not you want the CBA to survive and thrive.

More than 800 BC lawyers chose not to renew their membership last year. Some retired or moved away, but many are still here. I’ve reached out to many, as have our Membership Committee volunteers and all of our staff. Our goal is to reach every one of our former members and ask what it is that they need and how we can help. We’ve made many positive changes already, based on input from the profession, and we’re very open to making more.

Our biggest change has been to radically increase the value of membership – access to all 78 Branch and 41 National Sections is now freely open. We offer new, big discounts for part-time, non-practising, retired and new lawyers, and monthly payment plans to reduce financial barriers. And we have an aggressive advocacy and law reform agenda that feeds-up from the grassroots views of Sections, firms and members into the halls of the Legislature and Parliament, the boardrooms of law societies, and the courts of our country. Check out this issue’s articles by President Alex Shorten and Secretary-Treasurer Michael Welsh for more details.

To the 6,500 members who did renew or join us this fall, thank you! Your support matters, in ways you may not even appreciate. Direct programs and services, including Section activity and relentless advocacy for lawyers, all rely on you. We strive not only to deliver excellent service but also to gain a daily understanding about what BC lawyers need and want, and to continually try out new ideas for doing a better job of serving the profession.

To those who have not yet rejoined, I am asking, humbly, that you do it now. We need your support. I’m asking not just because our work may benefit you personally, but because it does benefit the profession and society generally. I am asking because the legal profession has both a power and responsibility to achieve something significant in the world, and the CBA multiplies that impact. I am asking because I fear that you do not know that you are important, and that the CBA needs you. We do.

For a professional association to be able to achieve important things for its members, the profession needs to give the association their support. There’s no other way this works if you want an influential voice speaking to government, the Law Society and the courts. We need your views, values, brains and energy. And we need to count you among our numbers. We may not all agree on everything, but without the leverage of the CBA, there are many voices that would not be heard at all. That is something you have to weigh for yourself, and determine whether the CBA as a concept really is important.

It is my sincere hope that you will use your “Power of One” to support us now.

Caroline Nevin signature

Caroline Nevin
cnevin@cbabc.org