President’s Blog
January 19, 2017

by Herman Van Ommen, QC

This is my first President's Blog. I want to share some of my thoughts on the importance of lawyers being well supported by a network of lawyer friends and colleagues.

Practising law is difficult; we are called upon to make challenging decisions in complex situations. Not only must we protect and represent our clients, we must do so in an ethical manner. Deciding what to do, in situations fraught with strife and ambiguity, is not something one should do alone.

Many lawyers have a ready-built support system in their firms; many do not. Those who do not, need to work to create a network of friends and colleagues that they can call upon to discuss difficult issues.

The best support networks outside of a law firm are the local bar associations and, of course, the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch. These associations are a great place to meet other lawyers and make friends. Young lawyers can find mentorship there and begin to share in the life of our profession. Everyone should be participating.

The Law Society of British Columbia, as regulator, serves the public interest by ensuring that lawyers are well supported in the work they do for their clients. One of my objectives this year is to show support for all our local bar associations by attending their meetings whenever I can (assuming I am invited). I will also encourage other Benchers to do likewise. Benchers need to know what difficulties the profession faces and benefit from the knowledge and experience of all its members.

For those of you who are fortunate enough to have a healthy support network, please join your local bar association to help others.