One of the great things about the QLS Presidency is that it is one of those jobs that constitutes both duty and privilege. I spoke in my last column about the good that solicitors can do and how it isn’t a bad idea to remind ourselves of it.
A perfect example for me occurred last week when I had the opportunity to fly up to Townsville, with the Ethics and Practice Centre Director Stafford Shepherd, and attend a conference about property and other issues arising from the floods.
Yes, it was of course part of my duties as President to add the Society’s support to the recovery in Townsville in any way we could, but it was a privilege too. I had the benefit of seeing our Townsville practitioners up close and personal, as they prepared themselves for the long road to recovery with the same true grit and determination they showed during the flood crisis.
Their stoicism will be put to the sternest of tests as the recovery process continues, because experience shows that the hardest part still lies ahead. Surviving the floods is one thing; there will now be insurance claims, disputes, even (sadly) remedying the consequences of criminal behaviour during the floods.
Some QLS staff have had previous experience with flood recovery before, through the work done by organisations such as the Queensland Building Service Authority following cyclones Larry and Yazi. We also provided assistance to practitioners after the Cyclone Debbie in 2017, with then President Christine Smyth touring the devastated areas with QLS staff.
What we do know from that is that our capricious media will soon be distracted by something the Kardashians do and the spotlight will move — but the people of Townsville will still need our help. There will be those without insurance, those who are under-insured and those who will have to engage in debate with guileful insurance companies over the definition of ‘flood’ and the like; our members will be there every step of the way, and we will be there supporting them.
I could not be more proud of their efforts so far, and as I said it was a privilege to watch the response and be a part of the help we can provide. It is genuinely inspirational.
Another source of pride — and of course another genuine privilege — is the upcoming awards ceremony at the Legal Profession Dinner and Awards following day one of our Symposium. As I noted earlier in the column, it is worth stopping and reminding ourselves that we do much more than provide the butt of very tired jokes, and much of what we do is very good indeed.
It is great to have the chance to recognise those of our members who have stepped up and exceeded even the high standards of our profession. QLS is well-served by its members and the chance to say thanks to some of our leading lights is one of the real perks of the Presidency.
I look forward to the event, and to the Symposium itself; hopefully I will see many of you there enjoying the excellent program, and don’t forget to say hello to me and the QLS staff in attendance, and to let us know what we can do to help. QLS is both your professional partner and your partner in the profession, so don’t be shy!
Bill Potts, QLS President
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