Of Learning to Re-Think the CBA

We have 11 days left to re-think the Canadian Bar Association. No pressure at all. But if you want to help, put on your rethinking cap.

I don’t represent or speak for the CBA in any way, but last Friday I did take part in a “Re-Think” session held at a Richmond airport hotel. I at least feel sufficiently authorized to draw attention to the work being done—which is nothing less than a stem-to-stern review and, if necessary, a redefinition of what the CBA does.

The room was filled with a few dozen people: dedicated members of our local CBA BC Branch, a handful of casual members, representatives of the national office (including CBA’s CEO John Hoyles), and facilitators for whom BC is just one whistle stop out of five in cities across Canada. The joint team of pros are led by an “organizational culture” consultant outfit called Happico. The entire half-day experience was well orchestrated, brisk (or at least not tedious), and reminded me of the value that outside perspectives can offer—especially to a profession which has some innately conservative attitudes when it comes to talking about itself.

Re-Think is the codename for this ambitious review of the CBA’s operations, core services, and—ultimately—its core value proposition.

The work is well-underway, and has involved numerous stages of consultation, workshops and analysis based on the principles of “business design”. In practical terms for participants, this means in-person sessions (like the one I was just at) plus an ongoing online workshop that any lawyer or legal community person can get involved with, and which is partly the inspiration for this post.

The ReThink portal, located at www.cbarethink.org, is invite only, but if you are a member of the legal community I can send you a link to participate. Just contact me. It all wraps up in 11 days, after which time the consultants have to interpret all the data collected. Unfortunately this will include numerous feedback pages blemished by a hurried, odious-looking scrawl that served me unjustly back when I wrote exams, and which has been prejudiced further still in the intervening years of keyboardsmanship. All the more reason for me to flog the online component!

The portal is easy to access on most any device, and is mobile-friendly. Once you’re in, the task is simple: offer anonymous feedback, opinions on and ways to improve on the scenarios listed. These scenarios represent concepts for future services, although they are still rather vague in some instances. You can also upvote, and downvote the comments of other people. You are assigned two random letters and a colour as your “avatar”, or online identity.

Here is a screen-grab of the nine concepts being mulled over. Let me, or any other CBA participants you’re aware of, know if you want to help out.



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