Dust up at the CCCA

The Canadian Bar Association has dissolved the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association’s board of directors in a dispute over funding.

Tension has been building at the CBA’s in-house offshoot for at least three years over the level of funding the CBA was providing to the CCCA, and both sides have been in mediation for 26 months in an attempt to resolve their differences.

Leanne Andree, a former president of the CCCA, discovered the news in an e-mail dated yesterday from CBA President Rod Snow.

“It’s a very sad turn of events for both the CCCA and the CBA,” Andree says.

In a note to all CCCA members, Snow said the CBA acknowledged the CCCA needed more funding, but announced mediation was terminated on Sunday following another unproductive weekend of discussions.

“An impasse was reached which, as the mediator confirmed, could not be resolved by continuing the mediation,” Snow wrote. “We are now moving forward and here’s what the future looks like. There will be a new CCCA, with a focus on the future and the relevant services for in-house counsel.”

The CBA has appointed an interim executive committee, lead by another past president, Robert Patzelt, who headed the CCCA from 2005-2006, and vice chairman Geoffrey Creighton. The new leadership team will take charge for four to six months while the association transitions to what Snow called a “more transparent and accountable governance model” that will make the CCCA “more consistent with CBA's other, highly successful, constituent groups.”  

The CBA founded the CCCA in 1988 when the national council voted to establish it in place of the old corporate law section. CBA membership is a prerequisite of CCCA membership. Under a protocol established in 1996, the CBA provides the CCCA with an annual allotment, meaning that CCCA members do not directly support the CCCA when they join the CBA. According to the CCCA’s Web site, it “is responsible for the task of raising additional revenue to support membership activities.”

UPDATE: Late this afternoon Cheryl Foy, Kari Horn, and Leanne Andree — all former volunteer members of the executive of the former board of directors of the CCCA — released a statement saying, "We are extremely disappointed by CBA’s drastic move."

They went on to note: "Our team has a wealth of experience, talent, and knowledge bringing together people and ideas to facilitate professional opportunities for Canadian corporate counsel, both in Canada and abroad, and we are exploring alternative options to leverage this valuable capital to offer better service and value for Canada’s corporate counsel in an increasingly global business environment."

You can read more about the shake-up in Monday’s Law Times.

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