864 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2020
Fenlon of the B.C. Court of Appeal over four separate sessions. The VBA
is grateful to each of the speakers for taking the time to speak with our
COVID-19 has impacted our professional landscape along with our social
landscape, as firms transitioned to work-from-home arrangements and the
courts implemented varying degrees of service restrictions. The VBA
administers the Barristers’ Lounge at the Vancouver courthouse. While the
VBA stopped coffee service at the Barristers’ Lounge during the initial
months of the pandemic, coffee service resumed on September 8, 2020 with
appropriate physical distancing restrictions and other health and safety
Over the past year, our collective consciousness turned toward questions
of social justice and racial equity in a heightened manner. The VBA is committed
to using its platform to foster diversity, inclusion and representation
in the legal community.
In 2020, for the first time in the VBA’s history, the board had an all-female
executive, three of whom are women of colour: President Andrea Fraser,
Vice-President Samantha Chang, Past President Cheryl D’Sa and Secretary-
Treasurer Carolyn MacDonald.
On August 17, 2020, the VBA hosted “A Conversation with Dr. Hadiya
Roderique”. This event was generously sponsored by Blakes, Fasken and
McCarthy Tétrault. Dr. Roderique, author of the viral piece “Black on Bay
Street”, discussed various aspects of racial equity in the legal profession in
general and specifically with respect to the hiring process. All proceeds
from this event went to Pivot Legal Society and the Indigenous Community
Legal Clinic. On November 12, 2020, the VBA is hosting a workshop facilitated
by Cicely Blain and sponsored by KPMG Law LLP that will help
lawyers learn to foster inclusion and equity in the workplace. Encouraging
and sustaining diversity is an ongoing project, and one that the VBA hopes
all lawyers in B.C. will help us in undertaking. The VBA thanks the sponsoring
firms for their support.
At the same time as noting these accomplishments, the VBA acknowledges
that 2020 has also been a year of reflection. For many, it has been a
year of turning inward toward home, family and close friends.
Behind the scenes, the VBA has taken advantage of the relative quiet of
the year by transitioning to a new database management system that will
provide VBA members with greatly increased functionality and benefits in
the years to come. Members can expect a host of new membership benefits
in 2021 along with greater functionality to, among other things, book tickets
to events and manage their membership on the VBA website.