Meet the new CBA president

By Kim Covert August 21, 201321 August 2013

Fred Headon, the first in-house counsel to hold the position in the history of the CBA, promises to focus the association’s energies on the future of practice and access to justice.

Meet the new CBA president

CBA President Fred Headon of Montreal

The new president of the Canadian Bar Association brings a unique perspective to the office as the first in-house counsel to hold the position.

Being both a lawyer and a client gives him an insight that will be helpful during his year-long term, says Fred Headon, Assistant General Counsel with Air Canada, who received the chain of office from out-going president Robert Brun on the last day of the 2013 CBA Legal Conference in Saskatoon.

“I think it is important that this very-quickly growing segment of the bar not only do its part to carry our share of the burden in terms of the CBA and the regulation of the profession, but… that the challenges we face are articulated as part of the discussions around how we can better serve our clients.”

National's interview with Fred Headon

Headon has been involved in the study of those challenges as chair of the CBA’s Legal Futures Initiative. One of his top priorities is to see through the work of the initiative, which he hopes “will help ensure that the legal profession is as vibrant and relevant as Canadians deserve and expect.”

Another priority will be helping to implement the recommendations from the Envisioning Equal Justice report.

Meeting changing member expectations, along with membership growth, are also top-of-mind issues for Headon.

 “It’s going to be a tough time financially this year, but there are opportunities for us to work better together within the association that not only help reduce costs, but also create stronger links within different groups in the association, provide better networking opportunities for members, and reinforce that CBA is a creative and innovative force that differentiates us from other organizations.”

A native of Winnipeg, Headon graduated from McGill Law School. He was drawn to Quebec by his interest in Canadian politics and history. His favourite Canadian politician is Sir Wilfred Laurier, who he says was instrumental in opening up the West. Like Laurier, Headon delivered the valedictory address for McGill law.

When he’s not at his day job, or criss-crossing the country as an advocate for the CBA and the Futures initiative, Headon is a busy father of a seven-year-old boy and four-year-old girl with wife Mary Ellen Kenny. Biographies are a favourite leisure reading choice.

A former competitive water-polo player, he enjoys swimming and cycling in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter, but admits that these days his free time is often spent “trying to keep up with my son on the ice during his hockey practice, and getting impromptu ballet lessons from my daughter in the kitchen.”

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