CBA Membership Survey (2002)

by Adam Whitcombe, Chief Information Officer

Introduction

At the request of the Executive Committee, I obtained from Ipsos Reid, Marktrend and Viewpoints Research estimates of the cost of conducting a short telephone survey of the Law Society membership on the question of compulsory membership in the Canadian Bar Association. Marktrend was selected based largely on price since the survey work was relatively simple and straightforward.

After consideration of a draft, the Executive Committee approved the three questions to be covered in the survey. A copy of the survey script is attached as Appendix A.

The survey was conducted by Marktrend on May 9, 10 and 13. Marktrend was provided with a list of members' names, business telephone numbers and demographic information about the members to assist in obtaining a proportionate sample of the membership based on gender, location, insurance status and years of call. From the population of 8,881 practising members, Marktrend obtained 404 responses over the three-day period. Responses from a sample of 404 respondents should be accurate +/- 4.9% 19 times out of 20. A more detailed confidence analysis is provided in Appendix B.

Results

Q1. In your opinion, should membership in the Canadian Bar Association be compulsory for all BC lawyers or should it be voluntary?
  # %

Voluntary

217 54%

Compulsory

170 42%

Don't know

17 4%

Just over half the respondents indicated that they thought membership in the CBA should be voluntary. None of the demographic factors had any statistically significant influence on the responses.

Q2. If membership in the Canadian Bar Association were to be voluntary, would you continue to be a member?
  # %

Yes

299 74%

No

50 12%

Depends on how much it costs

31 8%

Depends on who would pay for it

3 1%

Don't know

21 5%

A significant majority of the respondents indicated that they would continue to be members of the CBA if it were voluntary. Once again, none of the demographic factors had any statistically significant influence on the responses.

Over 92% of those who thought that membership should be compulsory and over 61% of those who thought that membership should be voluntary indicated that they would remain members if membership were voluntary. The results suggest that membership in the CBA is important to a significant portion of lawyers in British Columbia and is consistent with the general participation by lawyers in the CBA across Canada.1

Q3. Do you want the Law Society of BC to conduct a referendum on whether membership in the Canadian Bar Association should be compulsory or voluntary?
  # %

Yes

175 43%

No

208 52%

Don't know

21 5%

While slightly more than half of the respondents thought that membership in CBA should be voluntary, only 43% wanted the Law Society to conduct a referendum on this issue. As with the previous two questions, none of the demographic factors had any statistically significant influence on the responses.

Somewhat surprisingly, as many as 22% of the respondents who thought that membership in the CBA should be compulsory and only 61% of the respondents who thought it should be voluntary wanted the Law Society to hold a referendum. It appears that despite their views on whether membership in the CBA should be compulsory or not, a majority of the membership do not want to put the issue to a referendum.

A complete analysis of the responses, including cross tabs and analysis of independence can be found in Appendix C.


Footnote:

1. Approximately two-thirds of all practising lawyers in Canada belong to the CBA: CBA website www.cba.org.