President's Message

  • December 04, 2015
  • Edwin Upenieks

Ed UpenieksOver the past few months, OBA members have heard me use the phrase 'Join In'.This is more than merely being a member, it is about being an engaged member, active in some of our 39 sections, participating in our award winning continuing professional development, and contributing to our advocacy efforts.

It has been my experience that lawyers enter into the legal profession because they have an interest in serving the public. Over the course of my career, I have had several lawyers and judges who have mentored me and encouraged me to become more involved in the profession and my community.

By extending the same level of encouragement that I received from my mentors, I plan to facilitate the profession in making connections within the community of OBA lawyers, along with outreaching to their local community. Knowing that lawyers are busy with very full workdays, the idea of taking the time for this may seem daunting.

Our OBA Speakers Bureau provides a complimentary service that helps connect community and business groups with OBA legal experts in Ontario. These events are an opportunity to answer questions and a chance for the public to learn more about the law in an informal open dialog between OBA members and interested local groups. These raise a positive awareness of the profession and the profile of the participating lawyers.

We are again this year partnering with the Alzheimer Society of Ontario for Make A Will Month. This collaboration provides our members with the tools that help them articulate to the public the importance of these documents and getting the help of a lawyer in preserving their wishes and safeguarding their loved ones.

We connect our OBA members to youth through our annual participation in Law Day and regional mock trials. Not only do these activities give primary and secondary school students a unique glimpse into the legal profession, this helps to educate about the role and importance of the law, and also gives OBA members a chance to connect with their community.

I applaud those members who already take part and encourage others to get involved in these initiatives. OBA members represent the best and brightest in virtually every area of the law. During this year, I will be looking for additional ways to inform the public that OBA members are here to provide their expertise and experience.

With more than 16,000 members to draw from, practicing in every aspect of the law right across the province, the Mentorship Program provides those new to the profession with guidance and practice tips to help them launch a successful career in law and become engaged in their local legal community. I encourage members to take part in this program that can be a benefit to all members of the OBA regardless of where you are at in your legal career.

I have had the opportunity to meet many of you at various events throughout the province. It is a pleasure and a privilege to serve as your President, and I hope that you will 'Join In'.

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