Enhancing the OBA Member Experience
One of my main objectives, as OBA President, is to improve our organization’s use of technology and by so doing, to enhance the experience of our members.
By now you may have noticed that the OBA has a new website, the result of a year of hard work by our IT team and volunteers. First and foremost, our new website will make it easier for members to find what they are looking for. New visual indicators will let you know where you are in the site and assist you in navigating to where you want to be.
The site contains other important changes: The old members' directory was not easy to navigate, while the new "Member to Member" directory allows members to search using any number of parameters such as first or last name, location, area of law, section and committee. It is important to note that this is an "opt-out" directory, meaning all members are listed unless they have requested not to be included.
A very exciting addition is a new directory for the public called ‘Find a Lawyer’. This tool allows a member of the public to connect with a member of the OBA based on the individual's legal needs, geographical location and language spoken. This directory is an "opt-in" directory, meaning members will need to ask to be included. An email was sent to the entire membership in September with a link to a short video explaining the process to be included in the ‘Find a Lawyer’ directory.
This directory is populated from the information members provided to the CBA when renewing their membership. The email also included a link to a second video describing how members can review and update their membership profile data, in particular their areas of practice and languages spoken. Both of these videos can be found at oba.org/videos.
Alternatively, you can easily add yourself to this directory by going to the OBA website and clicking on ‘Find a Lawyer’. The second paragraph on that page directs you to the link on how to add yourself and your photograph. As the OBA website receives 4,000 to 6,000 hits a day, this provides a great additional member benefit for those looking for a presence on the Internet.
The OBA Career Centre has always been our most visited page; it has now been substantially enhanced for both employers and those seeking a new position. The job description pages make it easier to apply for posted positions. One click lets you either complete an online application or directly email your resume.
We have introduced a new feature, called ‘OBA Classified Ads’, which provides space for our members to advertise at no cost. This is another benefit of your CBA/OBA membership.
We have improved the ability of our volunteers to increase their engagement with the OBA by adding a volunteer portal, a one-stop shop providing everything from meeting agendas to minutes. The portal also allows private discussions to occur between section executive members, committee members and working groups prior to or following actual meetings.
When it comes to continuing professional development, we have added resources such as links to useful websites, updates in the law, archived videos, and other items to help you with your day-to-day practice. We have also listed by calendar year a complete listing of all CPD programming offered, whether substantive or in the category of professionalism, making is easier for our members to enter their personal CPD activity information on the Law Society Portal.
Some important changes have been made for members of OBA Sections: Practice-specific articles are now available online as soon as they are approved by the newsletter editor, providing for a timely distribution of current information to keep members up-to-date on emerging issues in an area of practice. Members are welcome to submit their own articles for publication by using our quick and easy article uploader on the Articles page.
Finally, our website is now seamlessly integrated with social media, providing a live Twitter and LinkedIn feed on its front page. The OBA also uses Flickr, a social media tool for posting and sharing photo albums, and Vimeo for our video content, both of which are also fully integrated with our website.
‘OBA.org 101’, an interactive training session for our less tech-savvy members, was held on November 18. Visit JUSTMAG.ca to access the digital program.
The website is in the process of being translated into French and should be available in both official languages shortly.
As with anything new we are continually looking for improvements to our new website. We therefore welcome any feedback you may have as it will enable us to make our great organization even better. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.