Our history

The Queensland Law Society has a long and proud history serving the legal profession and the people of Queensland.

The Society, in its first incarnation, was formed on 7 August 1873 at a meeting of 15 influential solicitors at the Brisbane Supreme Court. These solicitors recognised the need for a governing body, and the initial objectives of the Society were stated to be:

  • protection of the public by suppressing dishonourable practice among solicitors
  • to advise the legislature on amendments to the law
  • to facilitate the amicable settlement of professional differences so that solicitors could present a dignified image to the public.

In 1883 the Queensland Law Association was formed and continued until 1927 in which the Society was incorporated and became the statutory body we know today.

Here are some of our milestones:

YearWhat happened?


Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules introduced. Queensland Law Society had substantial involvement in their development.


First Advocacy Annual developed.


Limitation of Liability Scheme introduced that limits the amount of damages that can be awarded against a practice in court.

Ethics Centre established.


LawCare introduced - a member assistance program which provides free, confidential and voluntary counselling services to Queensland Law Society members, their immediate family and legal support staff.


Legal Practitioners Admission Board established.


Dispute Management Centre started.

Annual Continuing Legal Education (now Continuing Professional Development) becomes mandatory.


Commencement of the Legal Profession Act and Legal Services Commission.

QLS Authorised Nominating Authority established.


Lexon Insurance Pte Ltd (Lexon) (formerly QLS Insurance) established to help protect solicitors from rises in PII premiums (replaced the St Paul Insurance Company).


Queensland Law Society Journal ceased publication – Proctor expanded.


Law Claims Levy Fund ceased and St Paul Insurance Company (who covered solicitors for their Professional Indemnity Insurance) formed.

Specialist accreditation program established.

Queensland Law Foundation endorsed by Queensland Law Society Council to support new initiatives that benefit members, in particular: business developments, diversification and commercial activities.


QLS bought back second floor of Law Society House, which is now the home of our reception, auditoriums and meeting and mediation rooms, from Rider Levett Bucknall.


Each staff member received a computer for work.

Membership records entered on a computerised database.


Practice Management Course (PMC) for solicitors who intend to practise as principals started.


Law Claims Levy Fund established to provide PII. While not an insurance company, the fund retained the primary layer of risk.

The Society moves into the second Law Society House (purpose built for QLS) at 179 Ann St, Brisbane.


Library services started.


Proctor magazine launched.


First Law Society House established at 96 Albert St, Brisbane.


CLE department used new technology – audio and video tapes – to distribute material to rural areas.

Queensland Law Society Act amended to reduce the Presidency from a two year to a one year term.


Compulsory professional indemnity insurance (PII) scheme introduced after Society members overwhelmingly voted in its favour.


Continuing legal education (CLE) officially commenced, borne from a series of postgraduate discussion groups and seminars.


LAWASIA started – an international organisation of lawyers’ associations in the Asia Pacific region.


Queensland Legal Assistance Act – legal aid available to general community.


Queensland Law Society held its first annual Symposium. It became known as the ‘Queensland Law Society Symposium’ in 1964.


Queensland Law Society Act.


Beryl Donkin became the Society’s first full time employee on a salary of £4 a week. She went on to serve the Society for more than 40 years. Beryl was chief administrative officer and solely responsible for all Society affairs until the 1975 appointment of an Executive Officer.


The Society implements wartime legal aid schemes for servicemen and their dependants at the request of Northern Command, part of the Australian Defence Force.


Initiated by Queensland Law Society, solicitors prepare soldiers’ wills and powers of attorney free of charge.


Queensland’s first university law school established – Faculty of Law, University of Queensland.


The Society introduced the Fidelity Guarantee Fund to protect clients of defaulting solicitors. The Rules which governed the Fund were gazetted in April. Amendments made to the Trust Accounts Act followed.


Queensland Law Society Incorporation Act.


Association continued until it became incorporated and was named Queensland Law Society. Comprised 312 members. President R J McNab.


Queensland Law Association formed.


First Queensland law society formed at a meeting of 15 solicitors held at the Supreme Court in Brisbane on 7 August. Support dwindled due to inability to act on important issues.