TORONTO – New OBA President Karen Perron wants Ontario lawyers to have everything they need – both inside and outside the practice of law – at their fingertips. And she knows that as an association dedicated to serving the whole lawyer, the OBA is best positioned to provide that.
“We’ve seen in the past year how quickly and capably the OBA responds to the evolving needs of lawyers across Ontario, and now, with more change ahead and connection more critical than ever, I’m pleased to be launching a mandate that will harness and take full advantage of the power, the expertise and the opportunity found in the OBA community,” says Perron, a Francophone who hails from Northern Ontario and practices at BLG in Ottawa. “My mandate will focus on building upon the connection our members across the province already have – with each other and with the tools they need to thrive, wherever they are situated, within a rapidly modernizing world of law. I want them to be able to operate effectively and get greater satisfaction from the increasingly complex work they do.
“As with everything the OBA does, regional differences will be highly relevant to the tools and services we continue to offer lawyers, but entirely irrelevant to their ability to access them.”
Perron is the association’s 11th woman president. She follows Charlene Theodore into the role, marking the first time in the OBA’s 114-year history that a woman has handed the reins of the presidency to another woman. Ranjan Agarwal is the new 1st vice-president, while Kelly McDermott will serve as 2nd vice-president.
OBA members enjoy optimal benefits from belonging to Canada’s largest referral network – one that spans every region of the province – to gain new clients and grow their practices exponentially farther and faster than ever before. Through Perron’s mandate – called OBA Link – and the new Lawyers Link app that is also being launched, members will easily access the services, tools and information they need to innovate and adapt their practices to become more modern, productive and accessible.
“The OBA isn’t just a lawyer’s home away from home, it’s their home wherever they are,” Perron says, adding that she also wants to help lawyers expand and deepen involvement in the communities that matter to them – in their region, outside their region, in their area of specialization or in any one of the OBA’s 36 practice areas. “There is a wealth of information, advice, engagement, not to mention career-building opportunity that currently exists and is constantly being developed within the OBA community. I want members to be able to draw on that expertise whenever and wherever they need it.”
Perron will also carry on the work of Theodore through the Not Another Decade initiative. Focused on making demonstrable, systematic and sustainable change when it comes to equality, diversity and inclusion, this 10-year commitment is designed to move the dial on EDI in a meaningful and measurable fashion by introducing one performance target every year for a decade.
“Our work is far from over, and it’s exciting to know that this initiative will live beyond my presidency,” Theodore says. “In order for us to be successful, we need to have our eyes firmly set on the ‘how’. This means providing tangible resources to help the profession do what they need to do and coming up with specific goals and accessing the skills and expertise of our colleagues. I know that Karen and all of us on the board will continue to strive towards that finish line.” Click here for a full list of the 2021-2022 OBA Board of Directors.
ABOUT THE ONTARIO BAR ASSOCIATION
Established in 1907, the OBA is the largest voluntary legal association in Ontario representing over 16,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students. The OBA provides continuing professional development and advocates for improvements to the law in the interests of the profession and public.
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