Queensland Law Society

President's Update

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With the Cyclone Debbie cleanup now under way in north Queensland, our thoughts are with our members in the affected regions.

It appears all have made it through safely and we have not received any reports of substantial damage to practices.

However, with so many people impacted by this massive storm or potentially affected by the subsequent predicted severe weather, it is likely that extra legal assistance will be needed and I would ask that, if you are able, please check with your local community legal centre to see if they need some help.

Many will recall the fantastic way in which our members came to the assistance of the community after Cyclone Yasi and in the wake of the 2010-11 flood crisis through the Flood and Cyclone Legal Help initiative.

And if there are members who have suffered loss through Cyclone Debbie, please let us know, or contact support services such as LawCare or Law Foundation Queensland.

While Cyclone Debbie has been downgraded to a tropical low, it is tracking south and bringing severe weather, including strong winds and heavy rain, to other parts of the state, so it remains a significant risk. Please take care if the wild weather comes your way.

Other, less concerning, events have come my way over the past week. On Friday, at the valedictory ceremony for Court of Appeal President Margaret McMurdo AC, I spoke on behalf of Queensland solicitors to wish her the best in retirement and to celebrate her career as one of the leading lights of the profession.

I said: “In celebrating your Honour’s career today, we celebrate a leadership which has elevated the court to the highest standards of integrity and competence, and inspired the legal profession’s full confidence and deepest admiration. Most of all, your Honour, your leadership has delivered credibility to the court and ensured that it has had the faith of the legal profession and the public it serves.”

On Monday, I attended a forum on legal innovation and its impact on practice.

One of the key takeaways was the observation that it is a mistake to think that legal innovation is all about the impact of artificial intelligence. In truth, it is about delivering legal services to clients in a client-centric way, with technology being the tool that assists us to do that. Our core value is in being a trusted adviser.

Yesterday, I attended at our Lawlink event at Clayton Utz. The Lawlink program, developed and nurtured by our Equalising Opportunities in the Law Committee, is an important initiative in assisting increasing numbers of Indigenous people in entering and succeeding in the legal profession. It was refreshing and heartening to engage with intelligent and enthusiastic aspiring Indigenous lawyers, who are amongst our leaders of tomorrow. 

Christine Smyth

QLS president