Queensland Law Society

President’s update

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Fidelity Guarantee Fund

A recent article in the print media has criticised the Fidelity Guarantee Fund. That criticism was unfair.

The fund has been in place for many years. It is an initiative promulgated by the goodwill and personal funds of thousands of Queensland solicitors. It is not funded by government, it is not funded by members of the public – it is your money. It is responsibly managed by Queensland Law Society to properly reflect our profession’s concerns for the crimes of defrauding lawyers.

Any prudent fund must have caps, and while our sympathies go to those who are affected by criminal conduct, we simply cannot be expected to be a guarantor of every criminal defalcation that might occur.

The Society prudently manages the fund and at all times acts with complete integrity. There will be from time to time disappointed beneficiaries. The Society must operate for the overall protection of the broader public to the extent which is appropriate and manageable. The Society takes this responsibility very seriously, and while our fund management committee has empathy for victims, it must ensure future victims are also protected.

A day to celebrate

One hundred years ago today, Russian women began a strike for ‘bread and peace’ following the death of more than two million Russian soldiers in World War I, and one outcome of this mass protest was that they were granted the right to vote.

Though this milestone is integral to the origin of International Women’s Day (IWD), there were other, earlier events which also contributed, and I’d recommend taking a look at the quite fascinating history of this celebration at internationalwomensday.com.

Today is a day that we celebrate “the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women”, and a part of that celebration should include reflection on how far women have come in our society and communities.

We should also reflect on the roles we play as leaders, mothers, wives, friends, sisters, daughters and members of our community.

Remember that we do not walk our path alone. We have the support of other inspirational women, regardless of where that path takes us.

We each have our own journeys to take, but knowing that we are all in the same boat makes it that much easier to not only press on but to succeed.

Today I am hosting an IWD luncheon at QLS to celebrate the role of women in the legal profession and particularly those who are making a contribution through their Society.

And to round off a big day, I will be attending an IWD reception at Government House this evening.

Wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, please join with me in acknowledging and celebrating the meaning of this day.

Other highlights of my week have included our Legal Careers Expo 17 last Wednesday, This was very well attended, and it was encouraging to see so many intelligent and enthusiastic students ready to embrace all that a career in the legal profession has to offer.

I also appeared before the public hearing on the Bail (Domestic Violence) and Another Act Amendment Bill 2017 conducted by the parliamentary Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee, and spoke at a Bond University Women in Law event.

Thursday was the first 2017 lecture in the Modern Advocate Lecture Series. It was an excellent occasion, with a capacity crowd enjoying the presentation by Land Court of Queensland President Fleur Kingham.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Christine Smyth

QLS president