President's Message: Measuring Success by Your Impact on Others

  • November 30, 2023
  • Kelly McDermott

head-shot photo of OBA President Kelly McDermottBack in September, when we hosted a media event featuring The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, MP, Minister of Sport and Physical Activity, to launch our Peer Support Network for Lawyers Living with Disabilities, I noted that it was a rare occasion for the OBA to do so because the OBA launches so many meaningful initiatives without such a public display. However, I thought it is was absolutely vital in the case of this initiative to raise awareness within and beyond our community – not only to encourage participation, but to make the platform valuable, meaningful and sustainable for lawyers across Ontario. The very premise – and promise – of peer support is rooted in its proliferation. And, since then, I’ve been fortunate to speak about my PeerLink mandate – and our regular series of Peer Support Meetings for Lawyers Living with Disabilities – with other interested outlets, including, DurLaw Voice, The Every Lawyer podcast and AMI – Kelly and Ramya.

But one thing the OBA never shies away – and which has been in full swing this fall – is recognizing the extraordinary achievements and contributions made by our members. We have paid tribute to some incredible members this fall through Section Awards events. I am always amazed by the generosity of our award-recipients who are committed to enhancing the profession through contribution to the substance of the law and investment in the next generation of lawyers.

In her inspiring acceptance speech, 2023 OBA Award of Excellence in Civil Litigation recipient, Linda Plumpton, said that her greatest career achievement will not be the cases she’s won but the legacy she leaves to those who follow her into this profession to make their own mark. It makes me so proud to see lawyers giving back – to their profession and communities – and measuring their own success by the impact others might make as a result of their association.

Make A Will Month is an excellent example of lawyers devoting their most valuable commodity to the public: their time. They are leading free information sessions right in their own backyards for members of the public on the importance of will preparation and estate planning. Through the OBA’s Speakers Bureau, members delivered nearly 40 ‘Make A Will Month’ presentations in three languages, online and in-person, in a dozen cities and towns across the province in the month of November. The community hosts for these events – including libraries, associations and seniors’ clubs – continually express gratitude for the vital public service members are offering that informs and empowers participants to protect the belongings and the people they treasure.

I am honoured to lead an Association of lawyers who are making the law more accessible; who are paving the way for new lawyers; who come together to learn and laugh (look no further than the recent OBA-SABA Diwali for clear evidence of that); and who always show up for each other to commiserate and motivate, to support and celebrate.