The Call to the Bar is the 0fficial ceremony welcoming a new lawyer into the profession. There used to be a bar or railing dividing students from practicing lawyers that students literally crossed over when they had completed all the requirements to practice. The certificate of practice granted signifies the new lawyer’s competence to advocate or argue on behalf of another person in a court of law as a barrister (attorney) and also to practice as a solicitor in commercial or family law.
We saw no evidence of a bar in the ceremony we attended for our son Kyle but plenty of evidence of some very talented youth being called.
There were 5 or 6 Justices from the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench and 20 or so Provincial Court judges present. They all were volunteering their time to be there to witness the Call of the 73 young lawyers. As well the Presidents of the Manitoba Law Society and of the Manitoba Bar Association, there were some 250 or more family and friends.
The Pres. of the Law Society said to have fear and to seize the day with it. She reminisced about her own career, never having realized that she would succeed in getting accused people found not guilty and of one day becoming Pres of the Law Society. She advised strongly to ‘have fear’ and to let this motivate you to do the best job you can for individuals and for society. There is a tremendous amount of responsibility practicing law and feeling fear is totally normal.
The Pres. of the Bar Association talked about ethics and the need to keep skills up in a changing world. “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”, he advised. He also talked about the important but illusive need for work life balance as a practicing lawyer.
One of the chief Justices talked in detail about the millennial generation now taking the reins from we baby boomers. They are not as materialistic as their parents, often are better educated, tend to value work life balance more and are passionate about social justice issues. They have the tremendous power of social media in their hands and will accomplish great things for our society. Wow!
The MC chief justice congratulated all the new lawyers. The candidates made a public pledge to do good and were each called to the stage to receive their certificate of practice. After Oh Canada we adjourned to the lobby for coffee where each newly minted lawyer signed the official registration roll (4 copies no less!).
Ashley, Kyle’s girlfriend and her father Rick were there to support Kyle as were 2 of his professional colleagues. All in all, it was a great moment and there were lots of smiles and hugs. And even a few tears.
Kyle will be practicing criminal defence law and joining the firm of a colleague in Winnipeg who specializes in legal aid work. What a great gift from a son to his family on Father’s Day! We are so proud of you son!