Nedra Brown

I love it when great people wind up in great situations.

Nedra Brown is a friend to the State Bar of Arizona and its lawyers—and to me! And this month she was named the new Registrar for the Ontario (Can.) Association of Architects. Well done, Nedra!

I came to know Nedra over the years as a colleague, when she was the chief staff person in charge of the State Bar’s Sections and Committees and Young Lawyers Division. In an organization dedicated to the legal profession, she and I (and a few others) were an anomaly. We were lawyers, but not working as lawyers in our jobs. That lent us an outsider–insider view of the profession.

Nedra always distinguished herself as an excellent leader, but one just as committed to getting the details right as she was to ensuring the big picture made sense. I grew accustomed to hearing from lawyers and judges who were so pleased to have worked with Nedra. She put a very human and accomplished face on a member organization.

For those and many other reasons, I was torn when Nedra announced a few years ago that she was pulling up stakes and moving back to Canada. She is a Canadian lawyer, so the news wasn’t unexpected. But we were sad to see her go—and curious what she would end up doing. Always driven by service, Nedra spent time working for Legal Aid Ontario.

Now we see that Nedra has landed in another esteemed professional association.

As the OAA announcement begins:

“The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) is pleased to introduce Nedra Brown as the new OAA Registrar.

“‘We are pleased to have Nedra on board and welcome her to the OAA,’ says OAA President Sheena Sharp. Nedra has been in the office since this summer and has been working with Hillel Roebuck and the staff of the Office of the Registrar.

“Nedra has extensive legal experience as a senior manager in a self-governing professional association. She was most recently Policy Counsel for Legal Aid Ontario. For seven years prior, she was Director of Sections & Committees at the State Bar of Arizona.”

Read the complete news release here.

In case you’re wondering what the OAA does, here is their own description:

“The Ontario Association of Architects is a self-regulating organization governed by the Architects Act, which is a statute of the Government of Ontario. The Association is dedicated to promoting and increasing the knowledge, skill and proficiency of its members, and administering the Architects Act, in order that the public interest may be served and protected.

“There are currently 2,993 architects, 1,294 Intern Architects and 724 associates for a total of more than 5,000 people. There are 1,377 architectural practices in Ontario.”

Here is a pie chart that illustrates their membership.

Nedra explained to me a little more about her own job as Registrar. She says that the OAA acts as a mandatory self-regulating professional association (there are also voluntary local societies, like the Toronto Society of Architects, that mirror county or city bars). The OAA is part of provincial and national associations of regulators for self-governing professions. Nedra is responsible for all things regulatory, including interns, licensing, complaints, discipline and continuing-education requirements (like our own MCLE).

When Nedra described architects to me, I immediately thought of lawyers:

“Architects are creative and detail oriented. While there are many visions and perspectives, they are all interested in the interaction between the existing or natural environments and what they design and build.”

Another profession with particular goals and a broad mission—Nedra’s done that already, and well. I am confident she’ll wow Ontario’s architects as she did Arizona’s lawyers.

Congratulations, Nedra.

Want to wish her well? I’m sure she’d love to hear from you, so send her a note at