I had the great pleasure of seeing a vision become reality last week, when the first lecture of the Society’s Aspire Leadership Lecture Series was presented by Grata Fund founder Isabelle Reinecke. With a broad range of achievements both within and outside the profession, Isabelle is not your average QLS speaker—but then again, this is not your average QLS lecture series.
When introducing Isabelle, I attempted to give an idea of what we are trying to do with the series. I specifically wanted us to move away from the old ideas of law firm leadership, that—to use the words of JRR Tolkien—"grind more and faster" machine mentality that can take hold when we are all under pressure to get work done and bill accordingly.
I happily stole more from Tolkien (and who better to steal from) noting his description of this sort of thing as "the use of external plans or devices…instead of development of the inherent inner properties or talents".
Indeed. True leadership is that search for, and development of, inner talents and properties. It is an almost quixotic mission, requiring leaders to drive at a vision only they can truly see, and ignore doubters and setbacks—all the while dodging the bumper-sticker philosophy and blinkered tunnel vision one sees so often emerging from Silicon Valley and posted with breathless admiration on LinkedIn.
Isabelle’s speech—which I will not even attempt to do justice to here, especially because you can watch it for yourself (presently on our Facebook page and soon to be available on our website)—was the perfect antidote, fresh and gutsy. I will say that I loved the way she has (and I hope she will forgive me for putting it this way) fearlessly inflicted herself on mentors, funders, and anyone else she figured could help realise her vision. I suspect Isabelle doesn’t often take no for an answer!
The thing is, it was a great night and it didn’t just happen. I want to thank Stafford Shepherd, Grace van Baarle and Shane Budden of the QLS Ethics and Practice Centre for their help in getting this together, and the hard-working people in QLS teams—Events, Design, Marketing and Communications—who made it all happen. Success is a little easier with help like that!
I also had the chance to welcome (on behalf of QLS) our new District Court Judge, Judge Barlow. I may well be the first person to quote the words of the great sage Oprah Winfrey in the hallowed halls of our Supreme Court, as follows: "A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself." Those words were apt, because Judge Barlow has devoted much of his time to mentoring, especially in relation to our First Nations people, having established the Bar Association’s Indigenous Student Mentoring Scheme.
QLS also provides such mentoring and engagement with Indigenous students through our LawLink program. The next event is coming up on 6 August. This presentation will specifically focus on the in-house sector and provide Indigenous students with an insight into this growing segment of our profession. We most certainly seek, through this program, to help First Nations students see the hope inside themselves, and to reach as many students as possible. If you are keen to be a part of this event, you can register through the above link.
We are also coming up to yet another instalment of our extremely popular Modern Advocate Lecture Series on 8 August. Places are filling up fast, so if you are interested now’s the time to register!
In closing, I note we are basically halfway through the year, which puts me in mind of this JFK quote: "If we are to go only halfway or reduce our sights in the face of difficulty...it would be better to not go at all."
So bring on the rest of the year!
Bill Potts, QLS President