The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Beverley Spencer


The CBA intervenes in McKercher before the Supreme Court

By Beverley Spencer January 24, 2013 24 January 2013

The CBA is at the Supreme Court of Canada today advocating for conflict of interest rules that don’t deny Canadians choice of legal representation when there is no need to do so.

The association is intervening in the case of CN v. McKercher LLP and Wallace, arguing that the scope of the duty to avoid conflicts of interest does not categorically prohibit acting directly adverse to the immediate interests of a current client.

Malcolm Mercer, Eric Block and Brendan Brammall of McCarthy T├ętrault LLP acted as counsel for CBA on a pro bono basis. Malcolm Mercer explains the association’s position and the implications of the case for access to justice.

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Q&A: Paul Lippe

By Beverley Spencer December 19, 2012 19 December 2012

Q&A: Paul Lippe

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A season of epic reinvention

By Beverley Spencer December 4, 2012 4 December 2012

The legal profession is changing. But is the future as dire as some fear? There is plenty of evidence that there is reason for optimism and opportunity for renewal.

The repercussions of the 2008 financial crisis continue to reverberate around the globe. But something interesting is emerging: a new sharing economy. As Leo Singer writes in this issue, cash-strapped young people shut out of the traditional economy are learning to create wealth by other means, including the use of time banks to exchange skills — a new twist on the ancient practice of bartering. There’s a move to community ownership, and people without access to traditional sources of capital are using social networks to crowdfund projects ranging from theatre shows to co-working office space.

But our laws and legal practices are out of sync with the new realities of the sharing economy. Janet Orsi, a California lawyer who advises social enterprises with unconventional needs, observes that “the reality of most activities in the sharing economy is that they don’t fit into traditional legal boxes and categories.” She believes that transactional lawyers are needed en masse to aid in an “epic reinvention” of our economic system.

Meanwhile, a new generation of lawyers is finding meaning working to improve the lives of the disadvantaged. Michael Dempster spoke to Amanda Dodge, winner of the CBA’s inaugural Legal Aid Leader Award. She is the supervising lawyer at Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City where last year more than 100 students served nearly 700 clients and learned a powerful lesson in the roots of inequality.

There will always be a place for lawyers motivated by a passion for change in a world where so much work still needs to be done. That’s a reason for optimism as we enter the season of hope and goodwill.

From everyone here at National, best wishes for a joyous holiday season and a peaceful and prosperous new year.

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Happy Anniversary, National!

By Beverley Spencer October 23, 2012 23 October 2012

We’re celebrating a special anniversary at National magazine this month. It’s the 20th anniversary of the publication in magazine form, and a good time to look at how far we’ve come.

National magazine officially made its debut in October, 1992, but the CBA was publishing asso­ciation news long before that. Stephen Hanson, senior director of communications who retired in early October, was tasked with redesigning the CBA news sheet when he arrived in 1975.

The first incarnation of National was a tab newspaper produced under contract with Le Droit. Steve along with Hannah Bernstein (our current director of publishing), learned how to lay it out and send type (truly lost arts). Editorial independence was established early on. Content expanded to include commentary, regular features by professional writers, and a cartoonist. By the mid-1980s, the association decided it was time to create a magazine.

An agreement was reached with Mac­lean Hunter (now Rogers) to print and distribute the magazine, an arrangement that continues to this day.

Today we are on the cusp of another new era for National with the launch of You’ll also notice our magazine has a new look; thanks to our art director Tony Delitala for a great job in executing our new modern vision.

I’d like to thank everyone who has helped build our success, especially the many volunteers on our communications committees and editorial boards who have provided valuable guidance and direction over the years.

A special thanks to Steve and Hannah for building the foundation on which we stand today. National is one of Steve’s most important legacies as senior director of communications. His guidance and enthusiasm helped create a lively, intelligent publication of which we can all be proud. And I’ll be proud to build on his legacy into a bright new future for National.

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A fresh new look for fall

By Beverley Spencer September 28, 2012 28 September 2012

September might be the beginning of fall, but somehow it always feels like the start of a new year. That’s probably because September brings the start of school and the transition from the laid-back days of summer (if you’re lucky) to the more disciplined rigour of business as usual.
At National, we’re looking forward to the start of a brand new year, but it won’t be business as usual. First of all, We’re proud to bring you In addition to providing online access to our regular issues, the website will offer thought-provoking blogs and videos from new voices, power players and thought leaders across the legal profession. We’re looking forward to building on our tradition of editorial excellence and interacting with readers in a new way.
In tandem with the development of our website, we’re also giving our magazine a fresh new look. The rebranding will tie together both products, and also respond to what we’ve heard from our readers about how they currently use and enjoy the magazine.
Last September, the CBA and Rogers Connect Market Research Group conducted a readership survey, and your feedback was top-of-mind when we sat down with art director Tony Delitala to consider our new look. We thought about how to seamlessly integrate our French and English content; how to freshen our overall appearance; and how to tailor our editorial to meet your needs. As a result, you’ll still find your favourites, including CBA PracticeLink, Horizons and our in-depth feature articles, but knowing that your time is valuable we’ll be using more graphics and alternative story forms so you can quickly get to the heart of what matters. Other stories take time to tell so we’ll still devote space to examine worthy topics in detail. We’ll also continue to rely on high-quality illustrations and photography to enhance your reading experience.
You told us that National magazine is a valuable re­source. Sixty per cent of those surveyed read the magazine within the week it arrives; readers spend a median time of 20 minutes with it. That’s a significant commitment, but we’d like to do even better. So whether you’re a sole practitioner in Kamloops or a partner with Norton Rose in Montreal, we promise that you’ll find something of interest to your practice in every issue, and that your time will be well-spent. With the new website, there are greater opportunities for interaction so you can let us know how we’re doing.

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