President, Vancouver Bar AssociationPresident’s Message

Since 1892, the Vancouver Bar Association has sought to promote and foster collegiality and civility among its members, and at the bar. That fact is one of which the Association can be proud, and is one that also underscores the need for the Association’s efforts to continue. It is tempting to focus on the recent challenges of practice as placing civility uniquely at risk. However, the truth is that ours is a profession that has always both prided itself on civility and understood that it must be carefully fostered. In an inherently adversarial profession, it is civility that not only keeps it enjoyable, and creates an environment in which we may better serve our clients’ interests, but it is a feature that can too easily fall by the wayside.

To that end, the Vancouver Bar Association continues to put on events that gives its members the opportunity to gather as colleagues and friends, away from the pressures of a file, or case. Our Alpine Ski Race, Spring Social, Fall Craft Beer Festival, and Annual General Meeting, for which we are well known, are more popular than ever.

On equal footing in our Constitution, however, are the directives that the Vancouver Bar Association uphold the dignity and honour of the profession, and encourage a high standard of legal education, training, and ethics. It is in furtherance of those goals that the Association partners with the Hyndman Awards Committee in presenting the Peter S. Hyndman Mentorship Award each year at our AGM, and provides funding for such organizations as the Justice Education Society, the Lawyers Assistance Program and Access Pro Bono.

Last, and certainly not least, the Vancouver Bar Association publishes the Advocate, as it has done since 1943. Delivered to every lawyer in the province six times a year – with subscriptions from judges, practitioners and libraries both within and outside British Columbia — it is a vital part of our Association’s obligation to encourage a high standard of legal education, training, and ethics. It is a publication unique in the Commonwealth and of which we are very proud.

Apart from what we already do, we also look for new ways we can serve, and engage with, our members. Recent initiatives include a partnership to provide reliable access to child care for our members, and efforts to create a greater social media presence, in order to create a forum where we can not only keep our members informed of our efforts and events, but also solicit input for what more we might do.

None of this would be possible without our members, their firms, and our partners. On behalf of the Vancouver Bar Association, I wish to thank them for their, and your, continued support.

Yours truly,

Mark Fancourt-Smith
President, Vancouver Bar Association