Queensland Law Society

President's Update

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Last week’s announcement of a state Crime Statistics and Research Unit (CSRU) is a significant win for Queensland, as it will play a major role in helping policymakers and legislators to employ evidenced-based policymaking when formulating policy and legislation.

This is something that the Society has campaigned for strongly, and the establishment of a CSRU was a key feature of our 2015 Call to Parties document prior to the last state election.

The provision of reliable data and analysis will go a long way in curtailing the kind of kneejerk reactions that have led to the creation of laws that are unworkable and inappropriate for Queensland, such as the notorious ‘anti-bikie’ laws.

We congratulate the Government on committing $2.7million to create this new and independent research unit.

Last week I had the opportunity to address law students at a Southern Cross University Law Student Society dinner on Friday night.

While law students have a number of concerns, including gaining their degrees and finding employment, there is also apprehension about the perceived potential of technology to disrupt their legal careers.

I hope my words on the role of the lawyer in the community were able to reassure them to some degree.

I said that, while technical skill is now essential, our true value as lawyers is in being a trusted advisor.

I said: “Our role is to be the human face to the human problems our clients present us. It is one of the great benefits of representing clients – the people you serve are the people in your local community; your children’s school teacher, the barber, baker, butcher, business person.

“Getting legal information from the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant. While technology improves our ability to deliver services to clients, it is our ability to synthesise and apply the information in a way suitable to the people we serve that distinguishes us.”

This week there are a couple of events that I am looking forward to, including the annual general meeting of the Sunshine Coast Law Association later today and tomorrow’s welcome ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Helen Bowskill.

I hope to catch up with many of our members at these functions.

Christine Smyth

QLS president