Friday, September 29, 2017

History of the Law ... of ....

May need a new title?
I'm saddened -- though there had been warnings -- to read today that the Law Society of Upper Canada voted to change its name to something as yet undecided, deleting "Upper Canada" and perhaps even "Society" on the grounds that they are elitist or something.

It is an idea that has come up in the past. The Law Society is governed by an elected council, and there has always been the danger that some group of elected lawyers would be blinkered and narrow enough to imagine it was a good or progressive thing to throw away two hundred years of brand equity in the hopes that a new name and the hiring of some image consultants might substitute for serious attention to the society's issues.

As on previous occasions, seriously progressive benchers opposed this gimmick:
Rocco Galati, a Toronto lawyer, spoke forcefully against the change, referring to it as “B.S. window-dressing,” as he suggested the law society remains out of touch with the general public.
“We’re still a pretentious body, whether we change the name or not,” he said. “‘Ontario’ is no less colonial than ‘Upper Canada.’ We have not evolved in any substantive way for a name change.”
But treasurer Paul Schabas was confident that all was needed to complement the name change is 'a “robust” communications and marketing strategy.' Bring in more spin consultants.

The historically minded may appreciate the proposal of former bencher Tom Carey about a previous proposal to change the name.  He suggested the Law Society should consider moving in stages rather than too abruptly.  Perhaps, he offered, it could become the Law Society of Canada West for a while first.

As it happened, I went last night to the opening of EDIT, the Expo for Design Innovation & Technology, a raucous party held in a recently abandoned old industrial building near the Don Mouth in Toronto.  It has been extensively hyped and crowded, and tickets were expensive. (I had been comped having given a teeny bit of historical advice to one of the presenting organizations, so maybe the thing was papered a bit.)  But it struck me as a hot mess. Loud didactic statements everywhere about how good design will change the world, but the place was in massive disorganization, and there was precious little evidence of actual good design.  It seemed to be gimmickly exhibits and billboards, all awash in corporate logos and self-congratulation.  Someone of this mindset will maybe get the Law Society rebrand retainer.

EDIT runs until October 8 in Toronto; day passes from $15.
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