Queensland Law Society

President's Update

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QPILCH was an unusual but memorable acronym, and it may take some of us a little while to become used to saying LawRight instead.

Last Wednesday night marked the launch of the new name for the leading organisation in our pro bono community, and it was a pleasure to be able to attend the event, where I noted that, in 2015-16, Queensland solicitors undertook a total of 290,154.4 hours of pro bono work – an increase of 88.7% from the previous year’s figure.

QLS is proud to continue to coordinate with LawRight in support of our vision to advocate for good law and support good lawyers.

Saturday, of course, was our night of nights – the Legal Profession Dinner and Awards at the Royal International Convention Centre. It was a wonderful event. My congratulations go to our deserving winners and my thanks go our attendees (more than 240 guests), our speakers (including Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath and Tara Moss), the QLS team who brought the whole function together, and sponsor Brisbane BMW.

It was a night to celebrate our profession and I thought it appropriate to remind our guests that we must never lose sight of the unique qualities at its core – our ethical obligation to provide advice, administer the law, and promote within this framework the rights of our clients. This is what bonds us. It is a responsibility which is both a heavy burden and a great privilege. If you are interested, my speech is available online.

On Monday I attended the valedictory ceremony in Townsville for District Court Judge John Baulch, who has earned a reputation throughout the profession as a scrupulously fair judge possessed of great intellectual rigour and genuine professional courtesy. Like many, I felt some sadness in seeing his Honour leave after seven years of exemplary service to the District Court, but was happy to wish him all the best in retirement on behalf of the QLS and its members.

It was also a good opportunity to catch up with Council members Michael Brennan and Ken Taylor, along with local QLS Senior Counsellors, to hear from them about the issues affecting the Townsville legal community and how QLS can assist.

After Monday’s valedictory, it was a marked contrast yesterday to speak with those at the other end of the career path – first-year law students from the University of Queensland.

Besides introducing them to our Society and its role, I explained how change, including the impact of technology, is redefining many areas of legal practice. It is a sobering thought to contemplate how greatly our profession will change as they progress through their careers.

Yesterday I was also able to meet with our QLS Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group. This wonderful project is very close to fruition, so keep an eye out for more news on this soon.

Christine Smyth

QLS president