Member Perspective – The Women Lawyers Retreat – #TLABC

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This year marked the 12th Annual TLABC Women Lawyers Retreat and we couldn’t be more pleased with how this inspiring event has developed over the past decade!

Every year, our planning committee works tirelessly to organize an amazing weekend of learning, collaboration and connection for women in law across the province, and the feedback we receive from the registrants never fails to warm our hearts.  The event continues to sell out in mere minutes and is clearly one of the hottest tickets of our seminar season.

(It even won the National Association of Trial Lawyer Executives (NATLE) CLE of the Year and the Association of Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) award for Outstanding Achievement.)

We asked Candace Cho, who is a long time attendee, as well as a member of the Planning Committee, for her perspective on the event… and this is what she had to say:

Member Perspective; By Candace Cho, (Onyx Law Group)

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It never ceases to amaze and comfort me on the simple concept of what a sisterhood women lawyers can be.  The proof is the annual TLABC Women Lawyers Retreat, which just happened on October 20-22, 2017 at Nita Lake Lodge, Whistler.  This was the third time we held the retreat at Nita Lake, and it was just as fun and relaxing as ever.  I still remember the first time I attended the conference as a newly called lawyer.  I was amazed at how welcome I was, how all the registrants were eager to socialize and share stories, mentor each other and have fun.  The concept is the same every year, but the experience has transitioned as I have aged.  I find myself in the privileged position of providing more advice and mentorship to the newer called registrants, but the sense of sisterhood and camaraderie is as strong as ever.

The learning components are also awesome – this year did not disappoint, with Supreme Court of Canada Justice Suzanne Cote headlining our all-star cast of speakers who all presented on how women can forge their way to leadership, changing the law and fulfilling their vocations as lawyers.

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The Saturday night dance party and photo booth are always a hoot, and new friends are made, while much needed time is spent catching up with old ones – often friends that we first met at the same conference years ago.

The registrants’ backgrounds, ages, and years of call are completely varied, from brand new calls to senior members of the bar.  There are often QCs, retired justices, sitting Justices, and Benchers running amuck in their spa robes.  Lawyers come from different ethnic, cultural, and other backgrounds, and diverse practice areas.  The common, unifying connection is simply that we are all, or have been, women lawyers in the past or present.

The culture is a casual and free-flowing one.  It is completely unpretentious, and at times, can be wonderfully raw and personal.  It is a safe place where women can share their triumphs and struggles, and offer encouragement and support for one another.  Wisdom is generously doled out, advice given from varying perspectives, and all opinions valued and heard.  Every year has a different theme, but in general, the conference is meant to empower, inspire and uplift women lawyers in one efficient weekend away.

You forget about your worldly concerns from time to time to get into a robe, chat with someone over a glass of wine, or have enough time to take a bubble bath or get a massage.  There is opportunity for self-reflection, socialization in small and large groups, and general frivolity.

As part of the planning committee, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to put together this truly meaningful event every year.  It is a rare conference which intersects continuing professional development, collegiality, friendship and mentorship; and acts as a respite from the everyday busyness of a woman lawyer’s life.  I look forward to continue participating in the conference for the rest of my legal career.

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Follow the TLABC Women’s Community – on Facebook or with the hashtag #TLABC_women on Twitter & Instagram!

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For more information on our legal seminars & events, please visit www.tlabc.org

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Politics & Passion

[Excerpt from the Fall Issue of the TLABC Verdict] – out now! 

There’s a feeling in the air when summer fades and fall begins… that back-to-school ‘something’ that is crisp and busy and smells like falling leaves and hot apple pie.  Warm afternoons turn into cool, dark evenings and calendars fill up again with meetings, fundraising and campaign strategy.

In short, Fall hits – and it’s go-time.

Not that summer was all that quiet around here- we had multiple retreats and conferences going on for the TLABC Staff, the Board & Executive, and some of our campaign committees, (albeit with a few vacation days tacked on.)  We had staff in Los Angeles and Seattle, Washington, Squamish, the Yukon and Osoyoos, and we’ve been examining our goals and planning for the year ahead, but the work has been strategic and internal and now it’s time for action.

I was fortunate to attend a conference in LA this past July and was asked to present to the National Association of Trial Lawyer Executives (NATLE) on behalf of TLABC.  The meetings were in conjunction with the American Association of Justice (AAJ) and were also book-ended by the GOP and Democratic National Conventions.  It was definitely a busy week in California, and there was an undeniable buzz that distinctly reminded me of my very first AAJ/NATLE trip – pre-US election, 4 years ago.  It was the same conference, but in Chicago – just before Obama’s second term. Now, let’s not get it twisted – this particular buzz was not exactly the same.  4 years ago, it felt exciting and hopeful and I was fascinated by the entire business… whereas this time, it simply seemed to stem from fear.

Fear is a powerful thing.  It’s palpable.  You could feel it in the media, as stories broke about even more racism, more crimes of hate and gender, and in the ongoing antics of that man-who-shall-not-be-named.  You could feel it in the public perception as they carefully went about their days, avoiding the conversation as often as possible, completely unsure of what is to come.  Everyone seemed to be reacting to a series of sometimes silent, but very tangible threats to their society, often with humour, but always in fear.

Well, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from my time at TLABC, is that fear does not fuel change – only passion does.

At TLABC, through our PAC fund, we are constantly working against threats to our justice system, and our members remain diligent in monitoring what may be coming down the pipe.  We want to make change – to protect our citizens – to strive towards better access to justice.  These are no small things.  But success lies in our passion and subsequently, our action.

I’ve heard time after time, that TLABC was founded by a “small group of renegades” – lawyers who truly believed in justice and in the access of it.  These lawyers did not act out of fear, but of concern for their clients and a passion for their practice.  As time goes on and more battles arise to be fought, it is imperative that we remember to do the same.

There are other groups and organizations who are better suited to predictable action and reaction – TLABC is not one of them.  The work continues, not out of fear of the unknown, or of systematic dissolution, but because it is the right thing to do.

As an association, we will rise to the challenges ahead and show time and again our commitment to justice.

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. – Barack Obama

If you want to show your own “Passion And Commitment”then consider making a donation the TLABC PAC fund so that we can take action when the threats to our justice system arise.  Let’s not just sit back, in fear…

Let’s give them something to talk about.

Make a commitment to justice.

[PLEASE NOTE: This was originally published pre- US election]

To donate to the TLABC PAC Fun, please contact megan@tlabc.org

LawyersHelpingPeople

Help the BC Courthouse Library!

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CLBC is taking a deep look at how they serve value to their membership and lawyers across the province. This is your chance to have a say! This exercise involves several interviews. To get good representation (year of call, region, etc.), they will be doing a quick (4-5 minutes) intake survey and then short-listing folks for a longer 1-hour Skype, phone or in-person interview. Thank you for your interest!

Please email Audrey Jun at ajun@courthouselibrary.ca  before August 9th, 2016 (next Tuesday!)

Guest Post – (Borrowed with permission from our friends at Access Pro Bono)

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In a recent series, APB profiled some of the wonderful volunteers who make APB so vital to access to justice in BC. Today’s profiled volunteer is Mosope Fagbongbe, who also happens to be one of our new, engaged members!

Mosope has been very interested in becoming more involved with TLABC and we thank her for that – some of you may have met her at the TLABC Holiday Bash at the Vancouver Rowing Club on December 5th, where she had generously volunteered to help us out!

[4th APB volunteer profile for GivingTuesday: Mosope Fagbongbe]

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Mosope is an exceptional volunteer who commits her time to no less than three of our pro bono programs: the Wills Clinic Project, the Civil Chambers Program and the Summary Legal Advice Program.

Mosope practiced law in Nigeria briefly before moving to teaching and legal research with a specialty in public law. She earned Masters and Doctoral degrees in Canada, and has worn many hats at different times as a lawyer, researcher, teacher, trainer, human rights activist and advocate. She was a sessional lecturer at UBC Law, and recently qualified to pursue a legal practice in BC. She volunteers with other social justice groups as well as APB, mostly serving vulnerable people like seniors and women in dangerous situations.

Mosope’s dedication, hard work and positive attitude make her a highly valued member of our volunteer family.

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– See more at: http://www.accessprobono.ca/news/2014/4th-apb-volunteer-profile-givingtuesday-mosope-fagbongbe#sthash.Im34tDId.dpuf

Time To Roll Up Our Sleeves…

 

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Fall is just around the corner… and the lazy, hazy days of summer are behind us, so it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get back to business! I love everything about summertime – beaches, long days of sunshine, leisurely cocktails on a hot patio after work… but another thing I love is hav­ing the time to regroup, set some new goals and focus on strategy for the next season. 

This season, strategy is the name of the game.

In July, I had the pleasure of soaking up the San Francisco scene, while attending the Annual Conference of the National Associ­ation of Trial Lawyer Executives (NATLE,) which coincides with the American Association for Justice Annual Meetings.

It was an incredible and productive week, engaging with colleagues from across North America and sharing ideas, strategies and successes.

One of the biggest things I learned from my time in that city by the bay, is that we, as an association, should be incredibly proud! We have an amazing and diverse membership that spans many practice areas. We have an engaged Board of Governors & Executive Committee, campaign committees who are passionate about advocacy for justice, a strong social media presence and the desire to continue to build lasting relationships in the community… and above all else, the Trial Lawyers Association of BC is respected among its peers. What more could you ask for?

Sure, many battles lie ahead, but we are strong, determined, and hopefully, after a bit of sunshine… focused. Our strength lies in our work as a team, in our commitment to justice and in our PAC dollars. So let’s gear up and get moving – see you soon!

– Megan Ejack, Director of Development

From the Development Corner – Summer 2013 PowerPAC Publication