CBA dispute resolution program

If you have a disagreement or are in conflict with another lawyer or a member of your staff, and you are looking for outside help to resolve it, the Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch) Dispute Resolution Service may be able to assist you.

The program — available to all BC lawyers since 2003 — provides confidential mediation services through volunteer lawyers trained in dispute resolution.

“The majority of the calls we get involve ‘exit conflicts’,” says Vancouver lawyer Arlene H. Henry, QC, who chairs the CBA’s Member Dispute Resolution Committee. “Disagreements over who gets which files or which clients when a lawyer leaves a firm are the number one issue.”

Henry explains that exit disputes are often best resolved through confidential mediation rather than through a public court battle, especially when the parties are in a smaller community or a specialized area of practice and will have to deal with each other in the future.

The service also helps lawyers resolve relationship issues or personality conflicts with other lawyers or staff, says Henry, whose legal practice primarily involves mediation.

“Sometimes, just talking to one of our mediators helps,” she says. “Often mediation isn’t required and we provide coaching to one of the parties so he or she can resolve the issue.”

The program is voluntary, free, and available to all BC lawyers.

For more information, see the CBA (BC Branch) website (cba.org/bc) under “Practice Resources” or call 604 646-7864.