I am Lucien Bouchard, a member of the Quebec Bar since 1964 and still a practicing lawyer.
The Foundation was created during my tenure on the Bar’s administrative committee.
Our Bâtonnier général was Guy Pépin. All sorts of new issues were arising, and that’s when the idea came up – we’re going to give some tools, and then, among other things, the idea came up to create the Bar Foundation.
Right from the start, I think that the first speech made by the Bâtonnier, who announced the creation of the Foundation at the end of the Congress, was about the advancement of the law, the new generation and the challenges facing the Bar.
Back in ’82, programs had already been set up, focusing on the next generation of lawyers and on exchanges between lawyers, practitioners and academics.
When I arrived at the bar, the Foundation had been created, but we didn’t hear much about it at first. We started to hear more about it during the stewardship of Guy Gilbert, who really made an effort to put the Foundation “on the map”, as we say.
At the time, the Foundation was the only source of funding and financial support for legal research in Quebec. It was a time when no legal treatise or monograph was published that did not receive direct or indirect financial support from the Foundation.
The bar created its foundation to give back to the legal community. And the Foundation is a bit like the heart of the bar, so we give back to the community where sometimes the order can’t legally go ahead with certain initiatives.
Manon Savard, I’m Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal and, as such, Chief Justice of Quebec.
The Foundation enables dialogue between citizens, lawyers, academics and the judiciary.
In particular, the Foundation enables academics to reflect on legal and social issues that have arisen and changed over the years.
We enable research on these subjects, and then the results of this research take different forms that can help citizens through the information they receive.
This research also enables lawyers to deepen their knowledge and reflections on given subjects. It also enables dialogue with the courts, because through their research, the courts benefit from these reflections, which can always be useful when they are confronted with and have to decide on these issues.
In 2012, I won the legal manuscript prize for an article on the judicialization of homeless people in Quebec. So this article had a certain resonance; so first there was the visibility surrounding the award. It also had resonance within the network, since it was presented to the governors of the Fondation du barreau, and I think it gave credibility to the research I was carrying out, but above all to the subject I was researching.
There’s a very applied side to the work funded by the Foundation.
Once again, these practical aspects are inseparable from our research, even if it’s theoretical. It’s important to have a sponsor like the Foundation who can help us.
One thing we don’t realize is that in everyday practice, we’re very focused on solving current problems. We’re always looking to the past for solutions, whereas the Foundation is interested in the advancement of law and research. It’s this kind of thing that we forget about, but which becomes important when we have new problems to tackle. This is where the work of the researchers supported by the Foundation can be useful.
For me, it’s very important that the Foundation encourages research, especially in Quebec law, and that it acts as a link between the academic world and the professional world.
I’d say that one of the Foundation’s strengths has always been its proximity to the academic world and also its proximity to practitioners.
We’re creating what I’ll call this network, this laboratory, which enables us to put people in touch with each other and hope for better justice.
I’m Dick Pound, I’m 1968, called to the bar. My last 50 years were with Stikeman Eliott. I think it’s important for lawyers, and many of them are very generous, and have other causes, but they’re so close to the law that they kind of forget about what needs to be done in many respects. So the encouragement of young people, assisting young people to get into the legal profession is important, and some of them need help.
As someone who comes from a diverse background and who doesn’t come from a family of lawyers, I think that what the Foundation is doing for young people who may come from slightly more disadvantaged backgrounds, who may not have had the future goal of one day becoming a lawyer, it’s essential. and above all very important to show that access to legal studies and to the legal profession is not reserved for just one class of society.
The Foundation’s role in involving young people is very, very important. I think I would have benefited from having a player in the legal community like the Foundation when I was in CEGEP or university myself.
The Foundation definitely helps some people who might not have access to this world, who might not have the privilege of having an opportunity to work in the legal world.
It’s really a message of support to these young people, saying, well, you’re capable too, we’re here to support you, we’re going to help you achieve your dreams.
If the Foundation can help us support these young people through grants to help them pass the bar, then it’s certainly very much in our interests for us if we can work with the Foundation to increase the number of young people interested in working in the region, we’re really hitting the nail on the head.
I’m Marie-Anne Paquette, Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Quebec.
It’s important to remember that, in 1978, it was thanks to the initiative and participation of members of the legal community that the Foundation came into being.
In the same way, it is thanks to the participation and commitment of members of the legal community that the Foundation can continue to be active, lively and relevant.
Obviously, the money doesn’t come from the areas, it comes from the members. It’s the little 25 or 30 dollars on your membership fee that you donate, and then it’s the funding from the people who donate money every year that makes it possible to finance this research.
It’s a small environment that’s extremely fragile, so if the Foundation were to disappear, for example, it would be a source of funding that would disappear altogether, and I’m sure that a lot of research would fall by the wayside.
Realizing that if the Foundation doesn’t exist, there’s going to be a void, a lack somewhere that’s going to have to be filled in some other way at some other time. This is an essential need.
It’s through these members that the Foundation lives. So the involvement of members is indispensable, essential and highly commendable.
For me, it’s always been a sense of duty. So, in my opinion, the Foundation is all ours. It’s up to the lawyers to bring it to life.
It’s a way for the legal community to invest in the good of the community at large.
We aspire to be better, more relevant, better known for what we do, and getting people to understand that this is a valuable contribution to their professional context.
More than ever, we need to encourage members of the Bar to get involved. We need to get them involved in the future of the profession.
My wish for the future of the Foundation is that it be recognized as a foundation rooted at the heart of a legal community committed to the future of the law.
Have you thought of a word that might represent the Foundation to you?
Essential, passion, collaboration, future, good continuation, bearing, flourishing, mobilizing, evolution, influence, relevance, collaboration, giving back, continuity and renewal, a beacon, connection, openness, audacity, aspirational, heart, living, indispensable, commitment.