President's Message - July 31, 2017
2017 is a special year for the VBA as it marks the 125th anniversary of the VBA’s first meeting, which was held on June 14, 1892. Over the years, the VBA has worked to foster and support the legal community in Vancouver. Its members have played important roles in the bench and bar with five past presidents going on to serve as the Chief Justice of the British Columbia Supreme Court and/or Court of Appeal. Today the VBA today has over 1200 members and our continuing mandate is to preserve and celebrate the VBA’s history and tradition while keeping an eye on the future and the ever evolving needs of our diverse legal community.
We invite all VBA members to attend our upcoming 75th Annual General Meeting and Silent Auction at the Hotel Vancouver on November 23, 2017.
This year the VBA hosted a slate of well-attended social and sporting events, and has worked to expand child care services available to its members.
On November 26, 2016, we held our 74th Annual General Meeting and Silent Auction, which drew over 420 of our members, honoured guests, and representatives of our court, and raised over $13,000 for the Lawyers Assistance Program and Access Pro Bono. The AGM saw Nazeer Mitha named as the ninth recipient of the Peter S. Hyndman Mentorship Award. The AGM marked the expiry of the terms of Executive Members-at Large Macauley Deck, Chris Hope, Nicholas Isaac, Sanja Kraljevic, Matthew Schissel and Jamie Virgin. Taking their places on the Executive are Daniel Coles, Andrew Crabtree, Cheryl D’Sa, Andrea Fraser, Kaitlyn Meyer, and Stephanie Redding. The Officers of the VBA for 2017 are Andrew Aguilar as President, Nicholas Isaac as Vice-President, Joven Narwal as Past-President and Carolyn Macdonald who returns as Secretary Treasurer.
On May 31, 2017, the VBA was fortunate to host the Welcoming Reception for the Asia Pacific Judicial Colloquium at the Law Courts Inn. This year’s Colloquium (a biennial event) was hosted in Vancouver by the Supreme Court of Canada. Attendees included Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, Justice Andromache Karakatsanis and Justice Richard Wagner from the Supreme Court of Canada as well as the Chief Justices and two other Justices from the High Courts of Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. The VBA was especially fortunate to host Chief Justice McLachlin only one week prior to the announcement of her upcoming retirement at the end of 2017.
On September 21, 2017, the VBA, in conjunction with CBA BC, held its first-ever continuing legal education seminar, on the topic of “civility in the practice of law”. Presenting at the seminar were three former VBA Presidents with differing views from the bench: the Hon. Justice Ronald Skolrood (Supreme Court of BC), the Hon. Judge Laura N. Bakan (Provincial Court of BC), and the Hon. Master Terry C.W.L. Vos (Supreme Court of BC).
Other annual events this year included the Charity Dodgeball Tournament (in support of the Justice Education Society), the Alpine Team Championship in Whistler, the Judges’ Luncheon (honouring appointments to and retirements from our courts in the past year), the Devil’s Advocate Spring Social and the Craft Beer and Spirits Festival.
The VBA is pleased to announce the expansion of services to its members with regard to child care. The VBA has recently renewed its relationship with Kids & Company, in order to ensure access to high-quality, flexible, and emergency child care for our members. The VBA’s agreement with Kids & Co. entitles every VBA member to access child care within six months’ notice of registration at any Kids & Company location in the Lower Mainland and purchase emergency back-up pass packages only available to Kids & Co members. The VBA has also entered into relationships with two new providers: Nannies on Call and Mother Me. Nannies on Call provides on-call babysitting services and will provide a 2 for 1 discount to VBA members on booking fees. Mother Me provides care for mothers and new born babies and will be provide VBA members with a discounted rate for up to 5 nights/day bookings for newborn care.
Over the past four years, we have enjoyed sponsorship from the Counsel Network, our preferred legal recruiter, as well as their assistance in organizing, and driving attendance to, several of our events. We thank them for their assistance in making these events the successes they were and look forward to continuing working with them in 2017/18.
As the VBA is a not-for-profit society, all of the money made on our events is used to fund our other endeavours and to sponsor causes or events that fall within the mandate as set out in our Constitution. In 2016-2017, the VBA sponsored the Justice Education Society, the CBABC’s Benevolent Society, Touchstone Theatre’s The Lawyer Show, and Access Pro Bono’s Dial-a-Lawyer Day, among others. We also continue to sponsor the Inns of Court program, which is coordinated by Michael Libby. This important program is based on the English tradition of junior lawyers meeting informally with senior practitioners and the judiciary over dinner to talk about both current and perennial issues in the practice.
As we look ahead, the VBA will continue to put on the events for which we are known, which provide our members the opportunity to gather as colleagues and friends, away from the pressures of a file, and which further the VBA’s goal of promoting civility and collegiality among our members and the larger bar. In addition, the VBA will continue to look for new ways in which we may be of service to our members. To that end, we are always pleased to hear from our members, and encourage members to look us up and engage with us through our website, twitter (@vanbarassoc) or facebook (@vbabc).
None of this would be possible without our members, their firms, and our partners. We are grateful for their continued support.