To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel :
I am writing to you today as the 2011-2012 president of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), a strong and vibrant association. We are the voice of the Canadian legal profession and serve some 37,000 members, 10,800 of whom are also members of our Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA).
Our Association is thoroughly Canadian. Our first annual meeting was held in Montreal in 1896, but it was only in 1914 that the CBA took the form it is today - a national voluntary organization with branches in each jurisdiction, representing the interests of lawyers, improvement in law, legal learning and the administration of justice. Our strength lies in our sections and conferences. It means no matter what type of law you practice, whether in a firm, in-house, or in government or academia, the CBA offers resources that will help keep you on the leading edge.
One of our key membership groups is the CCCA. We are the only national Canadian organization servicing all in-house counsel, including those in private enterprise, government, municipalities, universities and not-for-profit organizations.The CCCA includes chapters across the country, offers conferences designed to meet Canadian in-house counsel needs that are among the largest in the country, and provides an array of accredited professional educational events and networking opportunities, as well as specialized career development courses for in-house counsel members. Not only do our corporate members benefit from specialized programming, but our surveys show in-house place a high value on our section offerings and legal conferences as part of their membership.
I like to emphasize our leadership skills offerings. For example, our RARE Finds initiative showcases successful lawyers from many diverse backgrounds. Our Work Life Balance Resource Centre contains a wealth of information to help lawyers maintain a balance between professional and personal commitments.And our annual leadership training workshop and the CCCA Training Camp prior to the spring conference bring together the experts to explain the best techniques for leaders within the legal profession.
Then there is the CBA's highly popular professional development offering. Now in its second year, the CBA's online Skilled Lawyer series has flourished, solidifying the CBA's reputation as the premier provider of accessible, accredited and affordable continuing legal education options for lawyers of all backgrounds, including corporate counsel.
Our association has established an enviable reputation for its advocacy work, which is aimed at improving Canadian laws. The scope of our interventions is wide, attracting all - including in-house - in matters such as solicitor-client privilege, money laundering and conflicts of interest. This work is supported by the legal expertise of our members, whose impressive efforts resulted in 80 submissions being presented by the CBA to the Canadian federal government in 2010.
The CBA has a strong international presence too - this year's agreement with the American Bar Association formalizes knowledge sharing and the bonds between our two organizations. Since 1990, we have delivered legal and justice reform projects in 29 countries across Asia, Africa, Central Europe and the Caribbean. The CBA is committed to the values of an independent legal profession, an independent judiciary, the rule of law and access to justice.
If you are not a member, why not consider joining us? For more information on the CBA, CCCA, or any of the initiatives I have described, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.cba.org and www.ccca-accje.org.
Trinda L. Ernst, Q.C.