What an incredible journey it has been! After the success of our first photo campaign and our very first National Forum in Montreal, we were ready to spread the message of LNFB from coast to coast to coast. We recruited an incredible national executive of 22 members from across the country, each one more determined than the next. We worked hard in establishing a constitution and to organize our second National Forum in Ottawa, and we set out to produce this very report. However, even the best intentions and hard work do not always lead to preferred outcomes. We hit bumps along the way and experienced many set backs as a result. In this fast-moving world, we suffered from growing pains.
Many of our projects had to be set aside for a little while. This includes the book of portraits we were working on, as well as the establishment of a bursary for breaking barriers to the legal profession. Although we have not abandoned these projects, the reality of what we can accomplish as law students spread across the country made it difficult to focus on multiple projects at the same time. We narrowed down our focus by working on our annual National Forum and on helping our chapters with their photo campaigns.
Along the way, we learned an important lesson. LNFB is non-hierarchical as per its constitution. Each leading team is in charge of its committee and the allocation of resources and the projects to be worked on is voted on by all voting members. However, in our first year as a national executive, we realized that an informal hierarchy had creeped into our organization. Certain members of the executive had been there from the very first campaign. They had knowledge and know-how that drew-in other executive members. This led most of the group to reach out to them and solicit their expertise. They were resources and our institutional memory was inevitably linked to these key members of the executive team. As a result, although we strived to be non-hierarchical in theory, in practice, we had to rely heavily on certain members. This led to inequalities within the executive and discordance between how we operated and how we strived to operate. Following our second National Forum in Ottawa, we had to rethink our internal organization to make sure that we did what we preached. We changed. Many of our members did not renew their terms on the executive and we decided not to replace every position or even every committee. We simply took a step back.
Today, our new executive is comprised of 5 members of the first 22, 6 new members from the two teams organizing our third National Forum in Halifax, one returning member from the original team at McGill, and a new recruitment call has recently closed. Working together, we reworked the internal dynamics of our group to make sure that each member is working on projects that resonates with them and that drives that passion that led them to join LNFB in the first place. Although we have significantly reduced our operations, we continue to work on missions that inspire us!
Looking forward, we will be working with the teams in Dalhousie and the University of New Brunswick on our first collaborative National Forum to be held next February in Halifax. We will also be developing a firm structure and organizational plan to ensure sustainability of LNFB in the future. Finally, we will aim to incorporate as an NGO and set-up our bursary for breaking barriers to the legal profession. We are grateful for the endless support of our community and we will continue to strive for better representation of marginalized voices in law.
Thank you to all previous executive members, to all of our supporters, and to our wonderful community!
2018 - 2019 Logistics Co-Lead