My Choice for CLawBies 2012 Best New Blog? The Law Society of Upper Canada’s Treasurer’s Blog.
Not because the idea of a Treasurer’s blog is “cool.” (Do we even want that? No one outside of Ontario know he is actually the President of the Law Society, and we cling on to the misnomer to prevent the leader from being described with such epithets.)
Not because the Law Society under Tom Conway has embraced social media. (He’s still a one-man-band. We’ll wait for the chorus of “lifer” benchers to sign up on Twitter.)
Not because it reaches out to a new generation of lawyers, who must become engaged. (I don’t think that generation logs on to the Law Society site, except to record their CPD hours – at least they do that.)
Rather, for the same reason the Nobel committee chose to grant Obama the 2009 Peace Prize. Perhaps, by giving a CLawBies prize to Treasurer Conway’s blog, the gesture will snare a tow rope onto the rest of Convocation and keep the Treasurer and LSUC administration keep on pulling. Does Convocation appear to know about the implications of international mega firms? Offshore legal outsourcing? The legal aid crisis raging in B.C.? (Yes, it makes Ontario’s LAO underfunding look like a hiccup, in comparison.) Lessons from the municipal corruption hearings in Québec and the central role of contract law (or its failings)? Is our profession’s board of governors a true government, or is it a town hall made up entirely of parliamentary “private members”?
Part of this same initiative, webcasting the recent Ontario articling debate was a stroke of genius. True, there were those who tweeted unprofessional comments about the benchers during it. (Perhaps the authors of those tweets will have to be vetted for ‘good character’ before they qualify to be called to the bar.) But did not our parliaments, in Canada, Britain and the U.S., also look rather awkward when the cameras first rolled? As any courtroom lawyer worth her salt will tell, knowing that all all eyes are on you will make you perform better, be more exact, and be more persuasive overall. There is nothing like the glare of public attention to attract the talented politicians, and to encourage the not-so-talented to step aside. Train a camera on our benchers, and watch them become more responsive to the issues facing the profession.
So I would vote for the Treasurer’s Blog. Not for what it has done, but to give the Treasurer and his successors reason to do more to open up the Law Society.