What the CBA has given me
It’s a great way to grow your expertise and leave a mark on the profession.
Born in an idyllic setting at the base of the North Shore Mountains of “Beautiful British Columbia”, the daughter of a lawyer and a teacher, I have always been keenly aware of my good fortune. Growing up, my parents instilled in me the belief that with the privilege of my birth and upbringing comes increased responsibility.
My first step on the path to greater social responsibility was the choice of law as a profession. My second step was becoming an active member of the CBA.
I joined the CBA as a law student at the University of Calgary and quickly became involved in the CBA Students’ Section. A highlight of my year as Chair was a visit from then-CBA President, Brian Tabor, Q.C. It was Brian’s passionate remarks regarding the CBA spearheading challenges to the chronic underfunding of legal aid that sparked my interest in further CBA involvement.
While clerking at the BC Supreme Court, another CBA opportunity presented itself. I joined the CBA-BC Rural Education and Access to Lawyers (“REAL”) Advisory Committee. Now entering its fourth year, this successful initiative continues to explore ways to ensure that people living in rural communities have access to legal services.
So why did I join the CBA as a law student? For the same reasons I hope you will consider becoming a member: Being an engaged CBA member is a great way to share expertise, be on the cutting-edge of your practice area, and leave your mark on issues facing the legal world today.
The CBA plays a key role in advocating on behalf of lawyers to maintain the rule of law. At present, the CBA continues to defend our independent bench and Bar and solicitor-client privilege. Further, a recent initiative involving young lawyers is aimed at improving EI benefits for parental leave recipients. These are simply a few examples of the great work the CBA is doing daily.
Through my involvement with the REAL initiative, I have learned firsthand how access to justice is being improved in BC. In Alberta, in the wake of the Slave Lake fires, lawyers volunteered their time to assist victims with their insurance claims. Globally, the CBA’s International Development Program is working with developing countries to establish the rule of law, build constitutions, and improve the administration of justice.
Having just begun my year as Chair of YL-CBA, I am pleased to highlight a number of our exciting initiatives which include increased emphasis on pro bono work, our international cooperation priority, our law student orientation pilot project, our Work-Life Balance Resource Centre, and our Partnership Toolkit.
The CBA is, and will continue to be, an important part of my life. I hope it will be for you, too. I encourage you to join the CBA and count yourself among the more than 38,000 who continue to seek innovative approaches to improving and evolving our great justice system, with a goal of increasing access to justice for all Canadians. Don’t wait, visit www.cba.org today!
Jennifer Brun is an associate at Guild Yule LLP