Caps Punish Victims

Say No To Capping Our Rights!

Being injured can change your life and the lives of those around you. The path to recovery is often long, difficult and expensive. Currently, in BC, everyone, and every incident is treated and assessed uniquely.

However, ICBC and the provincial government want to change that and restrict the rights of drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians in BC by introducing injury caps. This will reduce our ability to be treated as individuals, and to seek out help when navigating the daunting process of an injury claim.

Stand with us to ensure our rights don’t get capped.

Contact your MLA

R.O.A.D. BC is a coalition of British Columbians who are committed to protecting the rights of anyone who becomes injured on our roads. We are made up of individuals and associations all across British Columbia who believe the best way to reduce accidents and protect victims is through established, inalienable rights – not arbitrary decisions that turn real people into a statistic.

Visit the site for more information and join on Facebook & Twitter!

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An Overview of the NATLE GAC

Well, he’s only been here a month, but our new CEO, Shawn Mitchell, has been working tirelessly to acclimatize and immerse himself in the TLABC issues, culture and team.

A bonus to having new eyes in the boardroom is, of course, fresh perspective.
TLABC, as an association, is proud to be founded on principle, and in many ways -tradition.  Tradition is a wonderful thing, but it’s always good to take a step back and see what’s working and what might benefit from a little restructuring.

Shawn comes to us with a wealth of leadership experience that will no doubt be indispensable as we move forward and it has been a real pleasure getting to know him.

In this spirit, Shawn attended one of our favourite events last week, along with incoming President Sonny Parhar and Director of Communications Bentley Doyle The National Association of Trial Lawyers Executives (NATLE) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) – this year held in Louisville, Kentucky.

Here’s what he had to say… 

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Intro

I’ve just gotten back from the National Association of Trial Lawyers Executives (NATLE) Governmental Affairs Conference. What members of the association lovingly refer to as the GAC (say: gack). The location of the conference changes every year — this year’s was held in Louisville, Kentucky.

Attended by 100 TLA CEOs, their presidents and government affairs-aligned senior staff, the GAC was a great opportunity to network, learn how other TLAs go about their business, and attend a range of sessions focused on the challenge of lobbying government (both state and federal).

There were a total of 22 presentations and round tables, covering a range of topics and issues, during the three-day event. A sampling:

    • Learning the language of the conservative culture (presented by Judge Kenneth Starr — yes, THAT Kenneth Starr)
    • Effective polling
    • Creative ways to build relationships with lawmakers
    • Engaging leaders and members in the legislative process — making it meaningful and creating evangelists
    • Workers’ compensation trends to watch
    • Self-driving vehicles
    • Subrogation for dummies
    • Managing member expectations in the legislative arena

Taken from these and other sessions in which I participated, a few thoughts …

Trumped

Almost without exception, American TLAs spent the last eight years doubling down on their relationships with Democrats and largely turning their backs on Republicans. After the election results in 2016, most woke up terrified and unsure of what the future held for them when it came to advancing a legislative agenda on behalf of their members. Much of the conference was about sharing best practices on how to “speak Republican.”

Born to lobby

I was also struck by the very different posture or business orientation of the American TLAs, compared to (what I am coming to understand about) Canadian TLAs. Even small associations are heavily invested in ongoing lobbying on a range of issues. The eye opener here for me was both the difference and the potential for us to explore being more invested in this activity beyond ad hoc campaigns.

Everything is poll-itical

Given the extent to which TLAs are involved in lobbying, it follows that they are also becoming increasingly invested in polling and “testing the message.” There were a number of sessions on this topic, linking polling research to focus groups and the importance of not saying anything publicly on an issue until you’d tested your ideas and language in the field. Here again, at TLABC we have not had a history of behaving this way, but certainly we have seen the benefit of it most recently in the guidance we gained while positioning ourselves regarding no-fault and fixing the financial imbalance at ICBC.

No such thing as being too social

Our neighbours to the south are also heavily invested in social media, using Facebook and Twitter to cultivate audiences in support of different positions they are lobbying for at the state or federal levels of government. The insight here is that we at TLABC need to keep doing what we are doing — social media is a powerful, cost-effective engagement tool.

(Think James Carville, here) It’s about the membership, stupid!

One area where I believe we at TLABC still have lots of room to grow is on member engagement. American TLAs work very hard to be highly responsive to their members’ concerns and to engage them in the association’s work — beyond just the board and executive. They also have communication strategies that are focused on demonstrating the value that members receive from their TLA. This is something that TLABC does not do enough of.

Wrap up

Finally, there were some specific legal issues that were discussed where there is some real concern amongst our American colleagues… the emergence of “robot cars” and the implications this might have on liability and personal injury, and the continuing saga that is ABS (Alternative Business Structures). While we are currently focused, rightly, on fixing ICBC, additional time and energy on moving our way through these issue areas may also have merit.

Overall, it was an excellent way for me to continue my orientation and onboarding at TLABC. And, as always, I’m happy to hear your thoughts on this post or anything else you might like to fire my way.

To reach CEO Shawn Mitchell, please email him at shawn@tlabc.org 

Please continue to connect with us by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIN & @tla_bc on Twitter. 

Socks For Santa is BACK!!

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‘Tis (almost) the season, which means it’s time, once again, for our ‘Socks For Santa’ holiday campaign!!

This holiday season, TLABC’s Public Affairs Committee (PAC) will again be collecting new or gently used, clean socks to give to the First United Downtown Eastside Shelter.

The shelter provides 60 beds each night– space for 40 men and 20 women. This is one of the largest and busiest shelters in Vancouver.  Each day they provide their clients with foot baths/foot care, as well as provide them with a clean pair of dry socks. Keeping your feet warm, dry and protected can be quite challenging in this rainy city, and the shelter often runs out of socks and supplies.

Please help out by participating in one of the following ways:

 1) Send or drop off your new or gently used socks to:
1111 – 1100 Melville St.
Vancouver, BC V6E 4A6

2) Bring your socks to the Fairmont Waterfront for the Medical Legal seminar, the AGM or the Holiday Bash at the Stanley Park Pavilion on Friday, December 1st, 2017!

3) Make a pledge towards the purchase of socks for the shelter.

 To make a pledge, or for more info please contact megan@tlabc.org or call the TLABC office:
604-682-5343 / (toll-free: 1 888-558-5222)

Thank you!!

#TLABCCares is dedicated to keeping our less-fortunate safe and dry this holiday season!

American Museum of Tort Law: An Important Showcase – (PART 1)

Landmark Tort Cases Highlighted in Little Connecticut
Special Entry for the Verdict, edition #154 – FALL 2017 – By Bentley Doyle

Lawyers and laypeople north and south of the border, make sure to put Winsted, Connecticut on your list of places to visit when embarking on a vacation in New England, and specifically the American Museum of Tort Law. It is far more about people than the profession. As a matter of fact, people are the entire point. The museum would not have been constructed, let alone conceived of, if it weren’t for people and those who care about protecting them and preserving their right to justice.

It was the first stop on a seven-day swing through Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine. This was not incidental. We flew to Hartford, then by design drove our rental car north to Winsted, setting off a great journey that began with a look at the importance of law and the enormous ways it has shaped society.

On this day, our day, my brother Dave and I were fortunate to meet both the museum’s Director of Engagement, Joan Bowman, and the Executive Director, Richard Newman (a past-president of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association). It was a thrill to chat with them and to find out we have some mutual acquaintances scattered throughout the United States, primarily due to our experiences as members and associates of the US-based National Association of Trial Lawyer Executives (NATLE) and the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Richard had recently been in Boston for AAJ’s annual general meeting and summer convention, an event I’ve participated at several times, mainly as a member of NATLE. But, even closer to home, i.e. to the American Museum of Tort Law, we have a connection in common to the museum’s creator, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, famed for being the author of Unsafe at Any Speed – an expose of the deadly dangers of the Corvair automobile, and internationally renowned for his life’s work of holding reckless corporations accountable for the products they create. He is also a former candidate for the US Presidency (and wouldn’t that be a great thing right now, a time when more than ever the US needs a good, smart and thoughtful person in the White House).

Nader is famous for what he has done throughout the past 50 years, but it was events 20 years ago that made things personal for me. We – the Trial Lawyers Association of BC – brought Mr. Nader to British Columbia three times due to a big battle in our province to oppose no-fault auto insurance. The first two occasions had him making public appearances and doing media interviews to counter the spin created by proponents of no-fault back in that day. Nader was then – as he has demonstrated many times before and since – simultaneously brilliant and selfless. He warned of the dehumanizing effects of no-fault insurance, a scheme he said treated people like property rather than as human beings.

I had the honour of driving Mr. Nader to and from events in and around Vancouver, including picking him up at the airport with a highly enthused team of TLABC reps along for the ride. I was terrified, of course. I mean, being a young-in at the wheel chauffeuring the sophisticated author of 1965’s Unsafe at Any Speed… well, it certainly wasn’t sans stress, albeit the experience was also exhilarating. The third time Nader came to Vancouver was to join us in celebrating the defeat of no-fault plans that had been threatening to upend the legal rights of individuals. That occasion was 20 years ago this August. I was honoured to drive him back to the airport, just him and I in the car, and I handed him a personal card of thanks when we parted. It is remarkable to be in the presence of a man with so much professional success to his name and to see him also be so humble. The Nader experience that year had another highlight. He had asked us, in advance of arriving, to set up a speaking engagement for him to make a presentation to the law students at the University of British Columbia. The school’s faculty of law was happy to oblige, of course. The room was packed, as you’d expect. A few of us from TLABC had the good fortune of being on hand for this special event. Nader’s passion for legal efforts conducted for public good was never more clear than on this day. He spoke with larger-than-life enthusiasm, wisdom, grace and humour. His prior efforts in sounding warnings against no-fault had been superb, no question, but this occasion was a convergence of everything he stood for and still stands for to this day. He had the time and the perfect place to talk about the importance of tort law. It was majestic. The law students were spellbound.

Today, with the American Museum of Tort Law that he created now two years old, Mr. Nader continues to lead America as a voice for safety, fairness and accountability. An American gem – the man and his museum.

For certain, the museum does justice to justice. If you get your chance, a couple hours there will do it justice. Lawyers, you will be even prouder of your noble profession. Laypeople, you will gain an understanding of why tort law and the principle of accountability are both so relevant to your lives.    (Stay tuned for PART 2)

More to come… stay tuned for our next post!

@tla_bc

Wellness in the Workplace

#TLABCWellness

This fall, we will be talking about Mental Health in our 154th issue of the Verdict and teamed with this, we are launching a Wellness in the Workplace initiative at TLABC. We will begin this new initiative, by asking you… our members and our readers… How do you get your health on?

With the fall issue of the Verdict, we hope to provide some insight into how some of our TLABC members and staff are answering this question. Travel, theatre, un-anticipated illness and injury are all circumstances that have inspired some of our TLABC members and staff to think about their health (physical and mental) and wellness a little bit more critically. We’d like to encourage you to do the same.

While health and wellness can often be seen as an inside job, we cannot underestimate the impact we have on one another.

We, at TLABC, want to encourage our members to live well, so that we can also work well. We want to create environments where wellness in the workplace is encouraged, and health (both physical and mental) can be made a priority.

Remember that at TLABC we are a team and:

T – ogether
E- veryone
A  – chieves
M – ore

To get involved in this initiative, we encourage you to send us your photos, stories or favourite wellness posts and tag #TLABCwellness on Twitter and Instagram! Email megan@tlabc.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter@tla_bc for more information.

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Wellness Wednesday – October

“We are what we repeatedly do. Success is not an action but a habit” – Aristotle.

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Last weekend, we held our 11th annual Women Lawyers Retreat at Nita Lake Lodge, in Whistler.  It was a wonderful weekend of inspiration, collaboration and learning.

Despite what some people might think, the challenges women face, (especially in business and in law,) have certainly not disappeared… and it’s crucial that while we acknowledge how far we’ve come, we also recognize what we can do to continue to progress and create change.

As we continue to move forward and support one another, let’s remember that healthy habits are the foundation of growth.

Here’s a Wellness Wednesday pick from our publisher, Julia Chalifoux, from the Centre For Women in Business…

Five Healthy Habits for Women in Business

Take care of yourselves!

@tla_bc

#tlabc_women

 

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!)

Commitment to Justice

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Summer may be just around the corner, but our fiscal year is getting ready to wrap up!

Next week, the Staff, Board of Governors and Executive Committee will be heading to Osoyoos for our Strategic Planning Retreat to discuss the past, present and future of TLABC, and we are excited to keep moving forward.

We are so proud of the strength of our membership – as well as the successful work of our PAC – The Public Affairs Committee.  PAC is what fuels our advocacy work and allows us to stand up to threats to our justice system.

We couldn’t do the work we do without the generous support of our PAC donors – and today, we’d like to specifically acknowledge our high-level firm donors, who show an incredible “Commitment to Justice!”  Thank you.

Champions of Justice:

Diamond:

Platinum:

Would you like to learn more about PAC? Contact megan@tlabc.org or call the TLABC office (604-682-5343) and find out how you can make a “Commitment to Justice!”

In Memorium… Nola Fowlds

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(by longtime member and PAC donor, Ian Sisett)

Lost to us now , Nola Fowlds, a wonderful person and friend.

This lady deserves special recognition as the stabilizing organizational talent that guided a number of mad young trial lawyers during the first association building foundation years. Through 1979 to 1985, Nola worked diligently in supporting founding president Robert Mackay, followed by Arthur Vertlieb and then Ian Sisett, and each of the founding directors.. She was instrumental in matters of detail. She helped with formal meetings, constitutional wrangles, and new international seminars on trial practice. She was the calm face in the structuring of what was then regarded as a rather revolutionary group.

After a conservative beginning of career as secretary to the President of UBC, Nola sought a more adventurous  path of independence with executive involvement in a new approach to trial practice and education.

She provided unwavering support for a pioneer “legal rogues”. She gave up the security of a more established position for a new adventure. Without precedent or a clear roadmap, much was done by trial and error. The CBA was often particularly critical of any need for a new approach to sharing of advocacy skills. However, the new TLA vision was clearly shared by the courageous few; Instead of leaving the development of advocacy skills to the select few in larger firms who passed down their coveted knowledge to understudy disciples, on the British model, the TLA was formed on the principle that advocacy skills and knowledge should be shared and nurtured. Each counsel, the public, and the Courts would benefit by raising the level and availability  of skilled advocates. The new mantra was “each one help one”. Our American colleagues were the prominent leaders in setting new standards for public access and remedy in matters of civil law. They proved to be the best of professional friends. Under the banner of ATLA, (Association of Trial Lawyers of America), our American friends provided help at every turn. In fact, ATLA was the true and unselfish guiding model for our association. Before TLABC the focus based on the British model  was very much a lock step emphasis upon precedent rather than modernization and public access. The adopted British damage model was generally an adherence  to  “stiff upper lip”, with token  recognition of claims involving ” loss of enjoyment” and ” emotional loss”.  Many of the elder barristers lamented the down grading of standards with the discontinuance of the wearing of wigs in court.

Those unfamiliar with the stresses of the 1970’s and 1980’s may not appreciate the world of sacrifice endured by Nola Fowlds as she dared to take up a career in support a renegade association of non conforming trial advocates. Imagine the changes in practice and law that came with the new focus  and demands for recognition and protection of the value of individual rights, enjoyment, and life-style.  Imagine the backlash from the the more conservative members of Bench and Bar. This was a fledgling organization of radicals unpatriotic to precedent. Imagine the risk to pension and reputation faced by Nola in daring to associate with the “non establishment”. Alas that was then and this is now. How times have changed.

Yes, speaking on behalf of the founding members of this Association, Nola was  courageous and loyal, and through it all she was a warm heart with a kind word for all she met. She set a tone and standard for those who follow after in the Executive Secretariate.  We will not forget her smile; she was a true friend.

In true Loving Memory and Celebration of Nola.

– Ian R. Sisett

[For official obituary in the Vancouver Province, click here]

Calling all TLABC Members! “Raise the Bar!”

Slater Vecchio LLP has challenged us!!  One of our longstanding, dedicated firms and Diamond PAC contributors, Slater Vecchio, has brought to our attention, a wonderful cause that deserves some recognition and support.

TLABC Cares is proud to partner with the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, in an effort to develop a much-needed Burn Centre for burn victims and their families while in recovery, as well as a resource centre and retail space, which will aid in their upkeep and ongoing resources.

We ask you to please consider making a donation so the firefighters can reach their goal!!

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Please read about the facility on the Slater Vecchio Blog HERE  and find more information on the Burn Fund Page HERE.

To date, they have raised over $10 Million dollars and can see the light at the end of the tunnel!  We challenge you, our members and friends to help them raise the last $2 Million which will secure the development of this very important facility!

Read more about the challenge from our friends over at Slater Vecchio…

Or click HERE to go directly to the donation site!

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THANK YOU!!!

~ Your TLABC Cares Team