I am currently in Japan, representing the Law Society at the International Bar Association annual conference. This week-long summit brings thousands of lawyers together to discuss and listen to each other on a whole range of issues, both local and global.

I have focused on topics that are relevant to our work, like the retention of women (and men) in the profession, access to justice, rule of law and best practices in the regulatory framework and compliance generally. We are starting to look at entity regulation, and it is helpful to hear what is happening in England and Wales on that issue. It is also interesting to hear how many jurisdictions are challenged with issues like access and the retention of good young talent in the profession. Of course, it is also sobering to hear about how the rule of law and the protection of individual freedoms is not recognized or supported in so many parts of the world.

Although I am away, I am keeping a close eye on developments at home. I want to update you on the response of BC lawyers to the referendum vote. Notably, we have passed the threshold of one third of members – or 4,510 ballots. As of 5 pm Wednesday October 22nd, we had 6,690 responses out of the 13,530 ballots that were mailed. By way of comparison, the total number of ballots cast in the last Bencher general election was 3,056. Clearly our lawyers are engaged and want to participate and be heard on this important issue.