To the Readers of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:
The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA) boasts the largest number of in-house counsel in Canada. Our membership consists of in-house attorneys employed in every industry and sector in the country (representing 94 of The Globe and Mail’s Top 100 Companies), as well as in public and private businesses, nonprofits, all levels of government and crown corporations.
Our structure as a constituent association with the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) is a key strength. In addition to our own services and programs, our members also have full access to the services and offerings of the CBA, which is the national association of Canadian lawyers, representing 37,000 members across our country.
And the CCCA is growing. With over 4500 members and counting from coast to coast to coast, and having just reached 1000 members in Alberta alone, it’s becoming apparent that the in-house counsel role is now a profession of choice among lawyers. Our opinion and expertise is being sought on matters ranging from privacy to corporate crises to the future of the legal profession.
As the profession continues to grow, and the influence exuded by in-house counsel continues to expand, the role of the association becomes increasingly important. We must act as advocate, community hub, and education provider for our members.
When it comes to advocacy, the CCCA’s connection to the CBA plays an enormous role. This past year alone, the CCCA Advocacy Committee collaborated with the CBA’s Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee to create an FAQ document for members about Solicitor-Client Privilege and Confidentiality, and partnered with the CBA Competition and Charities Sections to provide comments on Industry Canada’s revised draft regulations to the Canadian government’s new anti-spam legislation. The CCCA and the CBA will continue to work together on matters of interest to in-house counsel in the coming years.
As for our role as a community hub, we face a challenge similar to that of our American counterparts. Our members are spread out across a large and diverse area of land. As such, in addition to our two annual in-person gatherings, we also have a thriving and enthusiastic network of 11 regional sections across Canada. You will find a letter from the CCCA section chairs elsewhere in this publication, further discussing this powerful network.
Finally, our association must ensure that our members remain educated and up-to-date on the latest business and legal issues, providing them with a leg-up on the competition. Our new Business Leadership Program for In-House Counsel, outlined in detail in a letter from CCCA Chair, Grant Borbridge, Q.C. ,also featured in this publication, will serve to close the learning gap between traditional forms of legal education and the often unexpected realities of the in-house role. In addition to this program, we offer a continuous stream of webinars, seminars and conferences on professional development topics including legal department budgeting, strategies for Only Legal Officers, work/life balance, pro bono work, social media policies, diversity and inclusion in the workplace and difficult clients.
As you may know, in August 2011, the CBA and the ABA signed an agreement to enhance cooperation. When you next encounter a professional issue with Canadian scope, I encourage you to contact the CCCA. We will be thrilled to act as your resource, liaison and partner.