The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

National Blog

Moving in new directions

By Beverley Spencer June 1 2012 1 June 2012

    Your experience with National magazine is about to change — for the better.

    The National team is preparing to launch an exciting new online presence later this year with the introduction of nationalmagazine.ca. It’s still the National that you enjoy eight times a year, but with a twist. You’ll find new content in the form of blogs and videos, fresh insights and a greater opportunity to interact with us.

    Senior editor Yves Faguy has been instrumental in the rollout of this project. “Our objective is to create a more dynamic forum online for Canadian professionals interested in the practise and substance of law by engaging readers and members. We’ll be offering them original, thoughtful content, from long-form legal journalism to thought-provoking blogs and video,” he says. That’s what makes this initiative so exciting: it’s an opportunity to build on the quality content that National generates and to engage readers on a whole new level.

    The online world offers the opportunity to deliver content to readers on a variety of platforms and engage them in a new way. Do you have five minutes? Check out a video: You’ll find excerpts of our conversations with power players and thought leaders in the legal profession. Do you have 10 minutes? Read our picks of the top newsworthy legal stories of the day. Do you have an opinion about something you’ve read? Post a comment on a blog. We welcome the opportunity to start a conversation.

    However, our print publication will remain central to everything we do. The website is intended to complement the magazine, not replace it. There are plenty of readers who still enjoy sitting down with a glossy magazine for a good read and we will continue to produce stories that offer a nuanced view of complicated issues. The website offers the opportunity to build on this legacy and interact with you in a new way. Watch for more details.

    Speaking of editorial excellence, National has received seven nominations for the KRW Business Press Awards. Our finalists were selected from a field of 600 entries from 57 business-to-business magazines across Canada. The winners will be announced in June.

    — Send your comments to national@cba.org.


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    Know thyself

    By Beverley Spencer September 13 2011 13 September 2011

      I had the opportunity recently to catch up with a group of law school friends over dinner. They are all busy, successful women, some with young children, who have carved out interesting careers: one is a partner in an Ottawa firm, two work as government lawyers, one is a general counsel, and one is an entertainment lawyer.

      All of them have one thing in common: they based important decisions at law school on considerable self-knowledge and a determination not to follow the crowd.

      I’m not necessarily referring to their choice of courses or even articles nor am I suggesting that everyone enjoyed a smooth career path. I mean they knew themselves well enough to identify their interests, the kind of environment where they would thrive — and where they wouldn’t — and how they want to live their lives. They also prepared for future opportunities by networking and volunteering (one volunteered for an organization that eventually created a job for her) and when one door closed, they found another open elsewhere. They worked incredibly hard, but they are also among the most well-rounded people I know.

      There is a lot of pressure on students to make the “right” decisions about courses, summer jobs and articles. The stakes are high: The “right” decisions, we are told, will launch us on a fabulous career where we’ll enjoy challenging work, untold riches, and the respect of grateful clients. The “wrong” decisions can mean no articling job at all and a one-way ticket to Loser-Town.

      Of course, what’s “right” or “wrong” depends on the individual, which is why keeping your own counsel is so important. For some of your classmates, it might be Bay St. or bust, but are you willing to put in 80-hour-plus weeks for the money and status? You have to love what you do to make the necessary sacrifices, whether it’s making partner in Big Law or building a successful practice as a sole practitioner. Understanding who you are, what motivates you, and why you went into law in the first place is the first crucial step.

      As the stories in this issue show, knowing yourself, keeping your own counsel and demonstrating your interest can lead you to fascinating career possibilities. Sometimes, it leads you away from the practice of law — but that can be a good choice too.

      Ultimately, it’s your career. Don’t just let it happen to you.

      — Send your comments to national@cba.org.


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