Like many professions, lawyers in Canada are governed and regulated by a provincial regulating body. In this province, lawyers are regulated by the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. But in addition to their regulating body, many professions also have one or more professional associations which operate at a national level. The largest such professional association for lawyers in Canada is the Canadian Bar Association.
One of the most valuable services provided by the CBA is that it facilitates lawyers’ professional development via publications, continuing legal education seminars and materials, and by bringing together professionals in specialized areas of practice through membership in a number of law practice Sections.
I maintain a membership in the Construction Law Section, which is organized for lawyers serving clients who are stakeholders in the construction sector. At the national level, the Construction Law Section has been one of the more active sections, which is likely due to the relative size of the construction industry in the Canadian economy as well as its character (which lends itself to disputes between parties).
In addition to their newsletter for members, the Construction Law Section also holds a national conference every two years which typically canvasses developments in industry and the law that are relevant to lawyers working in the area of construction law.
This year the conference is going to be held here in Newfoundland and Labrador at St. John’s, this coming September 28-29. The theme which has been adopted is “Looking to the Future of Construction”. Details on the conference have not yet been finalized, but if I had to guess the conference might likely include some discussion of the fallout from the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Tercon Contractors in the area of tendering and procurement, and, judging from the theme, perhaps also some discussion of “green” building, which is slowly making inroads in Canada and in Newfoundland and Labrador.
I’d encourage any practitioners with a significant portion of the practice taken up in construction clients to consider attending the conference. I’ll see you there.
(Full disclosure: At the time of writing I sit on the Executive Committee for the CBA Newfoundland and Labrador Branch. Go team.)
Nota bene: For those interested in the lex Americana, the American counterpart to the CBA, the American Bar Association, also has a professional forum focused on construction law practitioners, called the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, which had their annual meeting just last month. American lawyer Matt DeVries participated in assembling that conference’s Construction Law Update, which he discusses on his website.