IBA adopts strategic plan to meet the needs of its members

September 9th, 2022

The International Bar Association (IBA), together with the Bar Issues Commission (BIC), the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) and the African Regional Forum (ARF), have held a series of webinars as part of the vision of the IBA’s first African President, Sternford Moyo, to work on strengthening the objectives of the IBA and to increase diversity in the association. In a report compiled by the representative of the LSSA at the IBA, Tshepo Shabangu, stated that in the quest to fulfil its mandate and better the needs of its members, the IBA adopted a strategic plan, with various divisions of the IBA also adopting implementation plans to implement the organisation’s strategy.

The BIC held its first strategic meeting in Dublin since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the objective of, among others, finalising the organisations implementation plan in line with the recently adopted IBA strategic plan, discussing emerging issues in the legal profession and to also discuss how bars and law societies can help practitioners and law firms tackle challenging issues. At the meeting among other issues, the following issues were raised, regarding the value proposition for members of the BIC, namely:

  • Knowledge and information sharing: The organisation said it needed to share knowledge with bars and law societies, while respecting the autonomy of each of its members.
  • Collaboration: The organisation must identify areas of collaboration with its members. To answer the question on what the organisation and its members can do together, that they can prioritise and benefit all as a global organisation.
  • Advocacy: The organisation pointed out that its advocacy values should be highlighted, clearly articulated, and be seen happening, on how members can benefit from the members of the BIC. The report stated that there is a lot done by the BIC, however, the IBA members are not aware of such activities. It was discussed that the IBA needs to communicate better and adopt fresh methods to bring the organisations activities to the attention of its members. A proposal was made that perhaps the IBA compile an annual report in the form of a video, which could be presented to its members on the activities of the BIC during that year.

During his address, Mr Moyo, gave a brief report on what transpired at the Southern African Development Community Lawyers Association’s Annual General Meeting that was held in March 2022 in Gauteng. He indicated that it was apparent to him that not all members accessed the organisation’s website. He added that the BIC needed to ensure that the benchmark on developing bars, as well as wellness surveys and reports are made available to developing member bars, or to those who do not have resources.

Mr Moyo asked whether more can be done to capacitate developing bars and law societies and share the IBA’s resources with developing bars and law societies, which cannot readily access the organisation’s website. Mr Moyo pointed out that in regard capacity building, a two-pronged approach can be adopted, namely, the formal capacity building program and leadership/management know-how, depending on the needs expressed by the developing bars and societies and requirements.

The report also included the mandate from the Management Board of the Future of Legal Services Commission. The mandate is as follows –

  • tracking of burning issues in the legal services and highlight them to the IBA members; and
  • keeping a checklist for what is coming up/critical/urgent in the future of the legal service, covering but not limited to –
  • things that affect clients and the public at large;
  • issues that affect the rule of law; and
  • technology and its impact on the rule of law.

It was suggested at the meeting held in Dublin that the IBA and the BIC should suggest ways to help law firms use artificial intelligence in a way that will not harm the rule of law.

Another issue that was discussed was the war for talent. The report highlighted that post-COVID-19, many law firms have reported an increase in attrition and the war for talent is fierce. It was said that such issues should be reported, and it was also suggested that the organisation should look at having an officer from Legal Practice Division’s Young Lawyers’ Committee, so they could bring a different view and a fresh angle to the discussions.

The IBA and the BIC, together with the LSSA and ARF will host another webinar in October 2022, to continue robust discussions as part of the organisation’s initiative to the benefit of member’s needs.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.

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