Nathan Baker – Lawyer Bencher Candidate – Central East
This election will be especially important to anyone reading this for one simple reason: the benchers elected will be approving the governance and funding of the Library Information Resource Network (LIRN), formerly LibraryCo, that funds your local library and the important work it does. Local law associations and their libraries provide so many useful things to the practicing bar and have had their funding virtually frozen while membership increases over the past number of years. Properly resourcing libraries ensures competence and lets us all do our jobs. It is an access to justice issue. If you don’t know why your local law library is so important then start here.
Many lawyers are only able to take on legal aid cases because they can turn to the resources in their local law library to help them in research and obtaining precedents. For lawyers starting out, or in solo or small practices, their local library offers them easy access to high quality research for the minimal price of membership. The local law librarians are absolutely key to this for obvious reasons.
Local law associations give people the ability to meet and engage other members of the bar who face similar issues to them. The unique issues in particular geographic regions are best reflected by the local bar. The mentorship opportunities offered by local associations link people by practice area so that they can learn to better their skills in a face to face environment.
Networking including articling
Finding an articling position or opening and building a practice can be hard. However, this can be made easier by meeting and understanding the local dynamic. Law librarians are often the first point of contact in making life easier in this difficult time of practice.
Watching a program via webcast may be convenient. Attending a live event may be great direct experience. But the best place to learn is often amongst friends and colleagues on a local level. Local law libraries provide low-cost content to practitioners without the need to travel to get it.
Most law associations now offer member benefits, from inexpensive travel to discounts on business services. Library staff help do this to make it even more valuable to join your local association and to come together as a profession.
Staffed local law libraries are important resources to the practicing bar. The Law Society needs to utilize these already existing resources to make the practice of law easier for the lawyers. Highlighting this valuable benefit will allow the LSO to achieve many of its goals at little cost. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel and running its own programs, working more closely with existing organizations such as local law associations and other professional groups like the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, Advocates’ Society and others can accomplish things more easily.