Queensland Law Society

President's Update


“I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.”

-Abraham Lincoln 1 

Wise words from one of the world’s most famous – and effective – lawyers, and advice I intend to follow as best I can! When I started my term as President there seemed to be a long year ahead and plenty of time to get things done, but that year evaporated quickly and I still find myself hard at work at the time of the last Update, and my last President’s update.

The good thing about still being busy is it means I am still getting the things done that I set out to do, and continue to have exciting news to deliver. To that end, I can say that I am very pleased and excited to announce three of the speakers for next year’s Modern Advocate Lecture Series, headlined by High Court Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC, and also including Justice Greenwood of the Federal Court and former Chief Magistrate Di Fingleton. We are awaiting confirmation of the fourth speaker and QLS will update everyone when that comes through.

When I decided to run for President, I did so because I wanted to create the kind of Society I needed when I was a junior lawyer; a truly collaborative place that provided services which members needed and wanted, and did so throughout the state and not just in the South-East corner. I am pleased to say that I think QLS has moved in that direction, and while there is work to be done I think we have made a great start. Things like the Modern Advocate Lecture Series and the Solicitor Advocate Course are now part of the Society’s DNA, embedded in the business as usual of the QLS Ethics Centre.

Indeed, I am pleased to be able to announce that in 2018 the QLS Ethics Centre will begin to deliver workshops on legal project management, to better equip members to deal with costing, administration and billing. I enthusiastically support this initiative, and would have loved access to such workshops when I started out; the delivery of these member-focused tools is another step in the direction of a truly representative society.

The Ethics Centre is uniquely placed to deliver these products as they straddle both professional development and ethical duties, and I applaud the job Stafford Shepherd and his team have done in delivering them. I know that these initiatives are in good hands and will thrive for many years to come!

At this year’s Legal Profession Dinner I outlined my plans for the year, and I likened the work of our profession to a symphony, with each of us playing a part in creating a larger and more complex work than we could have made on our own. I have had the privilege of conducting that symphony this year, and when we are all on song and contributing, the music can indeed be beautiful.


The conductor can’t play all the instruments herself – although there have been times this year when I have had to try! I truly appreciate those who have joined in harmony to build to our successful crescendos. Matt Dunn in particular has done an excellent job as Acting CEO and I do thank Matt for his help this year. He stepped in to a difficult situation with many discordant notes being played, and performed like Beethoven. Likewise, Louise Pennisi took on the role of Acting Corporate Secretary and formed a wonderful duet with Matt in organising the business of Council; many thanks Lou!

I would also like to thank QLS Ethics Centre Director Stafford Shepherd, and Ethics Solicitor Shane Budden, who often found themselves called on to play an extra instrument or two when I found resources thin on the ground. They stepped up brilliantly and their help was invaluable.

I have thoroughly enjoyed – and truly appreciated – the great work of QLS staff in delivering for members, and am happy to say I am leaving with some friendships that I will treasure for years. QLS staff know how to step up when the going gets tough, and that spirit is what keeps the Society delivering for members. Speaking of members, thank you all for entrusting me with the Presidency and for your support throughout the year; it has been an honour to serve you.

I wish all our members, and all QLS staff, a happy and safe Christmas, and an exciting and prosperous new year. Take care, stay safe and here’s hoping Santa brings you everything on your list!

Christine Smyth

QLS president

1 Brainy Quote n.d., accessed 13 December 2017, https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/abraham_lincoln_132309.