Role of the President

Effective as of 17 June 2021

Queensland Law Society’s President is an elected member of Council in accordance with rule 29 of the Legal Profession (Society) Rules 2007.


Term

The President holds office for a term of one calendar year, after which the Deputy President assumes the office of President. The Immediate Past President remains a Councillor for one calendar year after ceasing to hold the office of President.

The President, Deputy President, Vice President and Immediate Past President are all members of the Council Executive Committee and Finance and Risk Committee.

Purpose and duties

The President is the public face and primary spokesperson of the Queensland Law Society and applies extensive industry knowledge and strong advocacy skills in influencing and achieving desirable outcomes for members. Through regular engagement with members, industry representatives and governmental bodies, the President’s role provides a voice to and represents member interests.

The duties of the President arise from the position as a duly elected office bearer of the Society with responsibility for presiding over the official business of Council. The President’s role accountabilities are outlined below.

Council and committees

The President leads the Council and works closely with the CEO in furtherance of the Society’s vision and purpose. Further duties include:

  • Chairing Council and Council Executive Committee meetings
  • Leading the Council in setting the strategic direction of the Society and ensuring that activities, policies and projects align with the Society’s strategic direction
  • Setting the Council agenda, in conjunction with the CEO and corporate secretary
  • Facilitating the flow of information and discussion in Council meetings
  • Ensuring Council operates effectively and in accordance with its charter
  • Facilitating the engagement of Councillors in the Council’s business and activities
  • Establishing and maintaining a strong working relationship with the CEO and between the CEO and Council
  • Guides Council in ensuring that to the greatest possible extent Council and the executive Committee has a composition, skills and commitment to discharge their duties effectively
  • Monitoring the CEO’s performance against agreed KPIs, including leading six-monthly performance reviews with the CEO and advising the CEO of Council decisions in relation to CEO performance reviews and awarding of bonuses as decided by Council after briefing by the President
  • Acting as counsellor and adviser to the CEO and, where necessary, other councillors
  • Attending functional and policy committee meetings from time to time
  • Chairing the annual briefing of policy committee chairs on the approved corporate plan
  • Chairing the Society’s Annual General Meeting.

Stakeholder engagement

  • The President is expected to deliver effective leadership creating rapport with QLS members and various key stakeholders. The President will develop, foster and leverage relationships with key stakeholders, including various governmental bodies and sector networks to achieve positive member outcomes for the Society and its members. Stakeholder engagement includes:
  • Engaging, liaising with and reporting to members
  • Promoting the interests of the Society and its members
  • Liaising with district law associations (DLAs), community legal and pro bono organisations, universities and other relevant associations and bodies
  • Liaising with and maintaining an effective working relationship with the Attorney- General and the government, opposition and the Legal Services Commissioner
  • Liaising with and maintaining an effective working relationship with heads of jurisdiction and the judiciary (state and federal)
  • Being conversant with the business of the Society, including Council-approved policy positions.

Representational role

The President is the primary spokesperson for the Society. Duties include:

  • Representing the Society as the primary spokesperson in media and in communications with government and stakeholders, as well as making official public statements of policy on behalf of the Society, in compliance with written Society policies
  • Representing the Society before parliamentary committees and other inquiries, with representatives of the appropriate policy committees
  • Together with the CEO, acting as the principal point of contact for the Society in dealings with the Law Council of Australia
  • Hosting intrastate, interstate, national and international legal delegations to the Society
  • Representing the Society at events including:
    • Legal Profession Dinner
    • QLS annual Symposium
    • Swearing-in and farewell ceremonies for members of the judiciary
    • Opening of the law year and Christmas greetings
    • Law Week activities
    • Specialist accreditation breakfast
    • High Court judges’ cocktail reception (if High Court sits in Brisbane) 
    • Annual Gold Coast Symposium
    • Central Queensland Law Association Conference
    • Annual QLS North Queensland Regional Symposium
    • Annual North Queensland Law Association Conference
    • Bar Association of Queensland annual dinner
    • Law Council meetings
    • Annual Police Service and Remembrance Vigil
    • Functions at which the Attorney-General is a guest, to which the Society has also been invited
    • Opening and/or closing addresses at QLS conferences or corporate events as required
  • It is generally expected that the President will be the QLS nominee director of the Law Council of Australia during their term of office, and attend all scheduled directors’ meetings
  • The President will work with the Deputy President (in the first year of a two-year term) and Vice President (in the second year of a two-year term) with these duties and expectations as necessary
  • The President may also call on the Vice President (in the second year of a two- year term) and other Councillors for support and assistance as required

President’s time commitment

The role of President requires a substantial time commitment in presiding over official business of Council. In addition to the time commitments required above, extra time may be required during periods of high activity and heavy travel requirements, which include attendance at QLS regional conferences and workshops, and selected DLA events during the Presidential term.

The Society employs a full-time chief executive officer (CEO) and executive management team who manage the day-to-day business of the Society.

Honorarium

In recognition of the time and work commitments, the President is provided an annual honorarium.  The amount of the honorarium is at the discretion of Council and is periodically determined by Council.

In addition, the President is entitled to travel, accommodation, incidental and entertainment expenses when they are incurred in the conduct of the Society’s business. When the President attends an evening function or dinner on behalf of the Society and spouses or partners are invited, the Society will cover the cost of an additional dinner ticket. Full details are outlined in the Society’s Council Travel Policy, and Accommodation Policy and Entertainment and Hospitality Policy.

The President is provided with a mobile phone for Society-related business calls and emails, and shares a full-time executive assistant with the CEO.

Role challenges

Given the significant expectations on the role of President, it is challenged by the need to balance the advocacy needs of the profession and working effectively with the CEO and council to ensure they represent the needs of the members in a consistent and appropriate manner. 

Ensuring collaboration and support of elected Council is paramount to be effective in the role. The limited tenure of the role of President requires a significant collaboration with other office bearer positions to enact the role accountabilities in a fair and equitable manner, considerate of the need to transition into the role of President and mentor successors in the year following the Presidential term. The role calls for an apolitical approach to current issues and this requires the President to put aside any personally held political persuasions.