Hit the Ground Running

 

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Well, we’re back.

It’s fall, it’s busy, and we are ready to hit the ground running!

“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…”  [from the upcoming issue of the Verdict – Fall 2016 – Ejack]

Our committees are kicking off new initiatives and projects, our Executive and Board of Governors will meet next week to begin implementing the strategy that arose from our annual Governance Retreat, and the smell of fresh coffee brewing for those early morning meetings permeates TLABC headquarters.

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.

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

Not that summer has been all that quiet around here- we’ve 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’ve had staff in Los Angeles and Seattle, Washington, Squamish, the Yukon and Osoyoos, and we’ve even be honoured with a couple of awards!

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The National Association of Trial Lawyer Executives (NATLE) has awarded TLABC it’s innaugural Award of Excellence for Publication of the Year for the Verdict, TLABC’s widely recognized magazine. 

NATLE is an organization whose members are chief executives and staff of justice associations throughout North America. Its 67 member associations collectively represent over 60,000 attorneys. 

the Verdict Board:

  • Editorial Board: Candace Cho, Aseem Dosanjh, Ed Good, Bill MacLeod, Dana Quantz, Harmonie Roesch-West, Michael Sporer
  • Publisher: Julia Chalifoux
  • Managing Editor: Carla Terzariol
  • Editor Emeritus: Ken Price
  • Staff Writer: Ben Doyle

As well, the International Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) has awarded TLABC one of only 21 annual awards granted to competitors representing more than 300 organizations.

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An Award for OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT was given to TLABC for our Medical Legal Conference XIII: Hawaii 2015 – Health and Legal Professionals Working Together as Allies in the Best Program category. 

ACLEA members are professionals in the fields of continuing legal education and legal publishing. Its annual ACLEA’s Best Awards are highly competitive and winning projects represent the highest level of achievement for the staff and volunteers involved.

Project Faculty and Staff: 
•    Mock Trial / Focus Group: Robyn Wishart, The Hon. Mr. Justice Nathan Smith, Marc Kazimirski, Joseph Cahan, Dr. Gwyllyn Goddard, and Christy Pratt.
•    Conference Planning Committee: Derek Miura, Robyn Wishart, Dr. Nairn Stewart, Dr. Mark Frobb, Dr. Douglas Lee & Dr. James Kennedy
•    TLABC Staff: Erin Monahan (Education Director) and Carla Terzariol (Executive Director)

While we’re tooting our horns, we were also named as one of the top 10 legal Twitter accounts last year by Lawsome  – see the original post here.  

Follow us on Twitter @tla_bc

It’s been a busy summer and it’s definitely going to be a busy year, so gear up with us, and let’s make 2016/2017 the most successful year yet!

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The Best Things In Life Are Free… But Justice Comes at a Cost

By Megan Ejack, Development Director (From Issue #138 of ‘the Verdict’)

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As we know, the social expectation that access to justice as a basic human right is being challenged.  A fundamental pillar of our Canadian, democratic society is simply not what it should be.  In short, the system is failing.  Court dates are being postponed (or even cancelled,) jobs are being cut, funding has disappeared and the number of self-represented litigants has increased dramatically.  Many who seek justice simply don’t stand a chance.  We’ve used the slogan, “Takes Longer, Costs More,” and it couldn’t be more true.  With the evolution of mindless rhetoric in lieu of action, the future of our Canadian justice system continues to look bleak. It’s happening all over- the UK, Australia, the United States and here in Canada, not to mention the obvious atrocities in ‘less-fortunate’ parts of the world.  Chris Merritt, from the Australian said recently, “Access to justice is not some sort of luxury government can allocate…” – and yet this seems to be so.

So what do we do about it?

Well, let’s look at the trend… when our oil and gas supply is threatened, costs rise and when our fresh water began to dwindle, we bottled it and were convinced to purchase it at an amplified price.  Frivolous nonsense dominates the airwaves, animals disappear from the books, (as is the case with the Western Black Rhino recently,) and our government seems more occupied with the allegations of fraudulent expense claims than with addressing cuts to our education, health, arts and justice systems.  (Don’t get me started about what makes the news these days.)

Sounds hopeless? But there is always hope.

The hope lies in the fact that we live in a society where we are allowed to band together, speak the truth, and fight for our fundamental human rights.  We have associations like TLABC and the CBA and other forces, like the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), the Legal Aid Action Committee (LAAC), Access Pro Bono, and many others, who recognize the work that needs to be done and who work on getting the message out to our citizens.  This message needs to be one of action, and of hope, so let’s get to work.

The best things in life may be free, but the things in life that keep us free, shouldn’t come at such a cost.

(And if all else fails, perhaps we’ll need to bottle our lawyers like we have with our water.)

To make a contribution or to learn more, please contact Megan Ejack, Development Director – megan@tlabc.org or call 604-682-5343 1 888 558-5222.

Are We Fighting a Losing Battle…?

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The Battle for Legal Aid drudges on… and on…

Adjournments, cuts, self-represented litigants, lack of funding… Sadly, these are words we are getting more and more used to when it comes to our court system.  The words are bad, but the numbers are even worse: More than 100 cases were thrown out just in the past year, and a staggering 2500 plus sit “on the edge of being thrown out because of unreasonable delays” (Globe & Mail) – and that number was from a year and a half ago, back in Feb of 2012…

20 million dollars less each year for our justice system, yet the government generates 140 million or more in provincial taxes on all legal fees for the past 20 or so years… each year.  It doesn’t add up.

What does justice cost in this province?  More than the average citizen can afford, it seems. 

In fact, in a recent post on the Legal Feeds blog, regarding the Vilardell v. Dunham case, it would seem that “… a significant percentage of the population could not afford the fees for a 10-day trial.” (read the post here)  We should all find this terrifying.

Access to justice.  That’s all we’re asking for. Access.

‘Justice’ might seem like a relative term at times… ‘Access ‘should not.  

What do YOU think?

[Read TLABC’s most recent press releases on this subject here]