Harris & Brun Law Corporation is proud to announce that Jennifer Brun was elected Secretary Treasurer of the Canadian Bar Association British Columbia Branch (“CBABC”) at the June 2018 CBABC Provincial Council meeting.
Jennifer’s election speech from the June 2018 Provincial Council meeting was as follows:
I would like to start by thanking Tina and Sarah for their support of my candidacy for Secretary Treasurer. I have very much enjoyed serving with each of them on the Executive over the past year and I will miss their contributions and companionship.
Since 2005, I have served the CBA both provincially and nationally at many levels of governance. From 2010 to 2014, I served as an executive member of the National CBA Young Lawyers – promoting the interests of over 16,000 young lawyers nationwide. During my tenure on the Young Lawyers Executive I assumed a directing role within National CBA governance, serving as an active member on the National Board of Directors, Finance Committee, Membership Committee, and Sections and Conference Chairs Committee. While serving as President of the YL-CBA, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to London, England, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, to work with lawyers and stakeholders from various international associations on the many global issues facing our profession.
Provincially I have served as:
- a member of the Advisory Committee to the REAL Initiative;
- an elected member-at-large of the Young Lawyers – Lower Mainland Executive;
- a “Connector” for the Connexions Pilot Project;
- an elected representative to Provincial Council; and
- an elected Officer-at-Large acting as Executive Liaison to the Automobile Insurance Committee and the Law Week Regional Committee.
Through over a decade of leadership service to the CBA, I have learned the “ins and outs” of our association. I have witnessed firsthand that the capacity of our association to harness the expertise of our membership is one of our greatest strengths. Growing our membership is arguably the most important aspect of broadening our knowledge base and expanding the perspective that we can offer to important stakeholders in representing the interests of our profession.
Last year in my election speech, I supported the Member Recruitment Pilot Project. At that time I noted there were roughly 5,200 Branch members out of 12,400 lawyers registered with our Law Society. I urged you to support the CBA Reconstruction Resolution aimed at improving the relevance of services and promoting the value of membership. I advised you that as an Officer-at-Large, I intended to focus my efforts on demonstrating the Branch’s value and growing membership.
At our September Provincial Council meeting, a focused Membership Acquisition Pilot Project was approved after much impassioned debate. I spoke in favour of that resolution from the Executive table and urged your support.
I am pleased to confirm that our Branch has seen a material increase in membership since that time, as detailed in the Membership Sales Program Business Case. Significantly, as of May 8, we have reached 7,000 members! Overall our Branch has realized near 4% membership growth this year compared to a National average of 0.5% attrition.
This growth is in large part due to the implementation of the Pilot Project and the hard work of our staff. It is also thanks to the countless volunteer hours each of you put into our association. Lawyers are taking notice of the value we offer in the excellent professional development programming and networking opportunities available, as well as in the advocacy work we do. We are hopeful that announcing the $100.00 reduction in membership rates for this coming year will result in even further increased membership.
Respecting our advocacy initiatives this year, as Officer I have focused my personal efforts on the issues of judicial vacancies and automobile insurance reform.
As detailed in my report to Council, I have been actively lobbying the Federal Ministry of Justice with respect to judicial vacancies at the British Columbia Supreme Court. My efforts attracted media attention including an article in The Vancouver Sun, as well as a direct response from our Federal Minister of Justice and Attorney General. Since that time a further six judges have been appointed. The situation is improving; however, with elevations to the Court of Appeal and elections to supernumerary status as well as retirements, further appointments are required and our advocacy efforts continue.
I have also been extremely active this year responding to our government’s proposed automobile insurance reforms. In brief, the concerning solutions proposed by government include:
- A cap on damages for pain and suffering of $5,500.00 in “minor injury” cases; and
- A new administrative regime under the Civil Resolution Tribunal with exclusive jurisdiction to determine entitlement to Part 7 accident benefits, whether a claimant falls within the definition of “minor injury”, and to adjudicate claims under $50,000.00.
After several detailed submissions to government on these issues, President Veenstra and I drafted Branch position papers published in response to Bills 20 and 22. It is the policy of the CBA that the right of an individual to recover general damages from a tortfeasor – and to have such right adjudicated in the courts – is one of the most vital hallmarks of our justice system. We have concerns respecting the CRT’s independence from government and its inherent bias against legal representation. We remain committed to a system that allows for the independent determination of the actual loss suffered by persons injured in automobile collisions on an individual basis and will continue to advocate that position.
As many of you know, the CBA has been a part of my life since childhood. I am proud to be a member of such an altruistic association and I look forward to expanding our Branch in a positive direction. I am also proud that in my boutique civil litigation firm of 14 lawyers, three of us are elected Provincial Council members! My extensive experience in leadership roles within our association places me in good stead to focus on the financial livelihood and overall wellbeing of our Branch. I am excited about our Governance Modernization Initiative and the reinvigoration of our Strategic Plan.
I humbly ask for your vote and, with your support, I look forward to serving as Secretary Treasurer for the 2018-2019 term. Thank you.
Meet the 2018-2019 CBABC Executive here: https://www.cbabc.org/About-Us/Governance/Executive-Committee.