A message to members from 2016 Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts
13 January 2016
Our profession has much of which to be proud and I am proud to be a Queensland solicitor.
As solicitors we have a privileged role in society, promoting and defending the rule of law, our courts and our system of justice. Recent events have again reminded us that the glue holding our society together is not the rule of public sentiment, but the rule of law.
Uniquely, our duty is first to the court, upholding the rule of law. We serve our clients by assisting them in navigating the legal process. Ethical principles and professional responsibilities are the cornerstone from which we do this.
My experience as a practitioner of 34 years is that the core of our profession is the responsible solicitor who with practical wisdom assists their clients. This is the role I want to celebrate and be at the centre of the way we represent the profession to the public. I believe solicitors fundamentally do a difficult job under increasingly changing economic circumstances and their good efforts and stories ought to be recognised and told.
I believe that advocacy for good law and educating the public as to what we do as lawyers is integral to enhancing and fortifying the reputation of Queensland solicitors. Advocacy is key to this process and I am honoured the profession has provided me the opportunity to make a difference.
Our profession faces unprecedented challenges. Economic and global competitive risks, technological change, regulatory compliance, higher rates of mental distress and graduate oversupply, are forces with which all Queensland solicitors contend.
To respond to these challenges, I am committed to providing strong, cohesive representation for Queensland Law Society members and with my colleague Christine Smyth – deputy president, will work to progress this as our agenda over the next two years. Our vision is to realise the full potential of the QLS as a membership organisation for all Queensland solicitors, working with CEO Amelia Hodge to achieve this objective. Crucially focussing on the stability and profitability of the profession through ethical and market-oriented engagement.
Our state has the largest proportion of regional practitioners in Australia. I intend to build on the fine work of past presidents and will work with regional lawyers, through their district law associations, on the issues important to their communities.
My priorities include:
- harmonising and modernising laws affecting the practice of law
- calling for more resources in Queensland for the Federal Courts
- making justice more accessible through better resourcing of community legal centres and legal aid
- consulting members on the proposal for a Human Rights Act for Queensland
- making the relationship between QLS and regulators more effective
- moving the Society’s structure to a company limited by guarantee.
I look forward to working with our members to meet the challenges of the year ahead. It is important that QLS both be receptive and responsive to the concerns of its members. I look forward to members’ feedback on issues of concern to the profession.
See the February edition of Proctor for a feature interview with Bill Potts.