A Remarkable Year
My year as OBA President has been an exhilarating one. From visiting all of Ontario’s law schools, to celebrating OBA members’ many successes to representing the OBA and its positions at provincial and national events, it has been an extreme privilege to serve the OBA and its members in this once-in-a-lifetime leadership role.
When I first began my term, I knew that I wanted to commit my year to promoting openness about mental health in the profession. With the help of OBA staff and the ongoing encouragement of the supportive community of lawyers the OBA’s membership fosters, our Opening Remarks campaign, which you can read more about in Making a Mark: Addressing Mental Health in the Profession, opened a public dialogue about mental health in the profession, which I believe has laid a positive groundwork for advancing an important conversation about the unique challenges, needs and opportunities for mental health supports within the legal profession.
The support and feedback I have received for my mental health mandate has been incredible and very much appreciated. I never expected it could have such a positive impact. What has been even more striking to me in my year as OBA President is that the OBA has been able to drive this important work in mental health while at the same time achieving so many other accomplishments.
In the past year, the OBA has elevated the caliber of its CPD programming, and our members have responded favourably. From April 2013 to April 2015, we have seen attendance at our CPD sessions increase by more than 30%. As President, I have enjoyed attending many of these events, and I know firsthand that OBA CPD programming and content really is second to none.
Further, as you will read in Just. Causes, the OBA has achieved numerous advocacy wins this year – accomplishments that have helped shape public policy in a way that serves the public well and that also protect important privileges for the profession.
We also supported the more than 60 OBA members who ran in this year’s Bencher election and gave all OBA members easy access to the voting information they needed to make their election decisions. In the end, I am proud to say that 30 of the 40 elected Benchers are OBA members.
The OBA is a lively, active organization due in no small part to its dedicated and engaged membership, and the role of the OBA President is a busy and demanding one. It is also incredibly rewarding. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to connect with so many of the talented and skilled lawyers who make up the OBA’s membership, and I believe that, together, we are doing a tremendous job in advancing our profession and ensuring Ontario’s lawyers are best prepared to serve our clients and the public well.
I have no doubt that the organization will only continue to grow in its success. It will certainly be in very good hands under the leadership of its incoming President, Ed Upenieks. In the meantime, I wish you all well as you continue to achieve great things on behalf of the profession.
Thank you for a remarkable year.
Orlando Da Silva, LSM