The Bar Limited // News

The Skull & Bones crew comes to Toronto — sort of

By Todd Harrison

On Sunday June 5th, 2011

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There’s a new secret club on Bay Street. This one has no hidden headquarters, no imposing doorman and no special handshake: There isn’t even a membership fee.

The Bar Limited (thebarlimited.com) is a “social networking experiment for lawyers,” as one of its founders (who insists on anonymity) describes it to Precedent. Users can post photos, answer offbeat questions like “What is your secret weapon?” and find out about member-only events (like the “evening with art world insiders” that went down on May 12 at Nicholas Metivier Gallery on King West). Word is spreading, albeit slowly; at press time, The Bar had 94 members.

The site’s design and intended purpose puts it somewhere in between LinkedIn and Facebook — half networking tool, half social calendar. But do lawyers really need another place to park their online identities? Dera Nevin, senior director of litigation support services at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, thinks so. “LinkedIn is too dry because it’s an extended resumé,” she explains, “but Facebook can be too trivial and quotidian. I can use The Bar to strike that essential work-life balance.”

Like most secret clubs, admittance is by invitation only. “Chances are, if a lawyer is familiar with the site, they will know someone who is in The Bar and can become a member,” a founder explains. In fact, that six-degrees-style connectivity is kind of the point. “Relationships with our peers are critical to success. While networking has traditionally been done at educational events, we hope changing the focus to cultural events will provide each member access to a much larger network.

“Most importantly, The Bar is just meant to be good fun.”