President’s Message: Creating, connecting and crossing paths

  • March 11, 2024
  • Kelly McDermott

photo of OBA President Kelly McDermottAs I reach the one-year milestone of my super-sized presidency, I marvel at the progress made in a mandate so meaningful to me and at the overwhelming encouragement and insight from an OBA community of lawyers, students, staff and other legal professionals and partners who have ensured the  thoughtful delivery and perpetual proliferation of our new and enhanced networks of peer support.

New avenues of crucial connection – including our Peer Support Network for Lawyers Living with Disabilities, our regular Peer Support Meetings, and Community Book Clubs and Speakers Series in service of the ‘whole lawyer’ – continue to bring members together to listen, to share, to lean on and to learn from each other.

But breaking new ground has always been the way of the OBA. Whether creating pathways for lawyers to make their mark in the justice sector – with initiatives like our  innovative Career Accelerator program or our award-winning Foundations in Judicial Competencies Certificate – or connecting those on trajectories of impact through vital, inclusive gatherings like our recent OBA Blocko or Inter-sections Receptions at the Ontario Legal Conference (OLC), our association assumes much of the legwork for those looking to expand their networks, profile and influence in law.

I’ve embarked on a literal journey recently, kicking off a presidential tour that began in Windsor and took me London, Waterloo and Burlington to meet with local law association and legal leaders – current and ascending – including students enrolled in the University of Windsor Law, Western Law and Laurier-Sussex Law programs. It was particularly gratifying to connect with those just beginning to blaze trails through our profession who are already so engaged in issues important to us all: equality, openness and fairness and an accessible, efficient and effective system of justice. I’m grateful to the schools and law associations who welcomed me so warmly – and look forward to meeting with more of our members as my tour makes its way through the East and Northwest regions. The presidential tour (like our Caselines training tour – next stop Barrie!) is not just about the OBA imparting information but about discovering more about the issues lawyers are facing and the activities they are leading in their communities.

With six months remaining at the OBA helm, I’m hopeful our paths will cross soon. You may find me – and you’ll certainly find an engaged and inviting community of lawyers – at one of our upcoming flagship events, like the Central East Lawyers Annual Dinner and the Central West Annual Lawyers Dinner and Retreat. If you have creative ideas for constructive pathways the OBA might carve, please reach out to me at