Sunday, 12 January 2020

CCLA Candidate Statement

Hi. My name is Sean Bawden and I am running for re-election as a trustee of the County of Carleton Law Association. I practice law as a member of the in-house legal department of Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC; TSX: WEED), a multi-faceted cannabis company headquartered in Smiths Falls, Ontario, with offices located in, amongst other places, the Kanata Research Park.

The primary reason I am seeking re-election as a trustee is because I believe that every member of the legal community who lives and/or works in the city of Ottawa should be a member of the CCLA. I believe a diversity of views makes the CCLA stronger and better.

When I say that “every member of the legal community” should be a member of the CCLA, I mean every member of this community regardless of:

  • The language in which you practice / la langue dans laquelle vous pratiquez.
  • How you are licensed: Whether you are a lawyer or a licensed paralegal.
  • When (or indeed even if) you were called to the bar. Students should be members too.
  • What you do: Which is to say, your individual practice area.
  • Where you do it: Whether you work in private practice at a multinational, national, regional, or small firm; or you work as a sole practitioner; or you work in-house for a giant, multinational corporation or as a member of a national, international, provincial, or regional organization; or you’re a crown attorney, an employee of (or independent contractor to) the federal Department of Justice, the provincial Ministry of the Attorney General, or the City of Ottawa’s legal department; or some other incredible place of work of which I am presently unaware.

And here are my three reasons why:

Ottawa is our home. There is no shortage of organizations competing to represent the interests of the legal community. And while those organizations all do excellent work, no other organization exists to address the unique interests of this singular community. What joins our seemingly disparate group of legal professionals is a common thing: we all either live, work, or do both of those things within the city limits of Ottawa. Construction on Elgin Street impacts those working at 160 Elgin as much it does those working at 161 Elgin. While issues of national or provincial importance are no doubt of concern, sometimes it’s important to ensure proper local access to library resources; that’s why it’s important for everyone to be a member of their local organization.

Diversity is our strength. I believe that Ottawa is uniquely positioned to bring together some of this country’s best legal minds. Ottawa is a bilingual city, the seat of the federal government, the home of the Supreme Court of Canada, the site of one of Canada’s top law schools, and the headquarters of many of this country’s leading tech companies and non-governmental organizations. As different as our jobs and roles may be, we have shared interests regardless of for whom we act or what we do. Pressures brought about by the Supreme Court’s decision in R. v. Jordan to complete criminal trials within a certain time frame puts pressure on the family and civil courts. And, because uncertainties about a robust and accessible civil court system can cause businesses to consider where to locate or expand, corporate lawyers who may have only donned those black court gowns for their call to the bar need to care about such issues. If the CCLA wishes to ensure that it is properly representing the interests of the various legal communities, then it needs a variety of voices both as members of the organization with whom the organization can consult and as members of the board of trustees.

The CCLA is a demonstrated advocate for issues affecting the local bar. As can be seen from this list of advocacy initiatives, the CCLA has advocated on behalf its members with respect to a variety of issues including, but not limited to:

  • Legal Aid Budget Cuts
  • LSO Access to Justice Committee Request for Input
  • Pro Bono Law Help Centres Closures
  • Title Insurance

My goal is to encourage every single lawyer, paralegal, law student, and paralegal student who lives and/or works within the city of Ottawa to join the CCLA. I am running to bring to the CCLA my perspective as an in-house civil litigator (and alumnus of the Ottawa private civil bar). I thank you for your attention and hopefully for your support.

My name is Sean Bawden, and I approved this message.

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