Queensland Law Society

President's update

President's Update

A great start to the week for me as I had the pleasure of presiding over the conferring of an honorary membership on the one and only Stafford Shepherd, our Director of Ethics.

Honorary memberships are conferred, at the discretion of QLS Council, on those who have made a substantial contribution to the legal profession, and Stafford certainly fits the bill. Stafford’s candidacy was approved in 2017 during the Presidency of Christine Smyth, and I am glad to be able to follow through on this!

Stafford is regarded by lawyers throughout Queensland and Australia as a leading light of the legal profession, and his unwavering dedication to ethical conduct and professional responsibility has inspired generations of Queensland solicitors. He lives the values of the legal profession—fidelity, service, and courage—in both his professional and personal lives, and I am sure this honour will be welcomed and celebrated by his colleagues across the state and country.

The ethical principles by which Stafford has discharged his professional duties are a guide for all of us, and especially as ethical dilemmas can often come from good intentions. Plenty of quality lawyers have floundered while attempting to help a friend in a jurisdiction with which they are unfamiliar, and we need to be mindful of allowing our desire to help to push us into dubious actions.

This sort of dilemma has begun to crop up around the issue of charitable bequests in wills—and more particularly, the idea of solicitors suggesting the idea of a charitable bequest when drafting a will for a client. While it might seem a good thing to encourage such donations, it is a vexed area for solicitors. QLS Ethics Solicitor Shane Budden has explored the issue more deeply on our Law Talk blog; check it out here if the issue has come up for you (or even if it might).

Looking ahead, I am very keen to be heading up to Rockhampton for the Central Queensland Law Association/QLS Conference. This will be a great chance for me to catch up with regional practitioners in a truly beautiful setting, and also to see some excellent presentations.

Chief Justice Holmes will be opening day one, and the organisers have done a great job with the programme. Everything from cyber security to Succession, Ethics to Rural Property Law will be covered, and day 2 delivers another set of great sessions culminating in a rural round-table involving Judge Burnett from the District Court, magistrate Beckinsale, local legend Brian McGowran, and our very own Stafford Shepherd.

If you happen to be at the Rocky event, by all means pop over and say hello; I am always happy to chat with QLS members. Indeed, it is important for all of us, as the end of the year approaches and the pace of work inevitably quickens, to make sure that we do stop and smell the roses (or say hi to a President!) and step off the treadmill occasionally.

Until next time,

Bill Potts, QLS President

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