“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!"
― Benjamin Franklin
Planning. Whether you run a hot-dog stand, a law firm or BHP, at some point you will need to be involved in planning—working out strategy, budget concerns, goals, risks, etc. Queensland Law Society is no different. We recently had a planning day at which the Executive and Council got together to plan out how best to help our members be better lawyers, serve clients more effectively and have prosperous and successful careers. The time taken to engage in the process of planning is invaluable and always rewarding.
Notice that I said planning and did not actually reference the plans themselves. That is because while having a plan is great, it will inevitably have to change after implementation—flexibility (especially in a digitally-connected world) is essential.
That is no doubt why British statesman Winston Churchill once observed that "Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential", and US President Dwight D Eisenhower said, "In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable".
Ike was probably taking from the 19th Century Prussian military commander, Helmuth van Moltke, "No plan survives first contact with the enemy."
The point is that you need a plan, and you need to be able to adjust on the fly when that plan is subverted. That is what we tried to do at the planning day—to develop a plan that has sufficient flexibility to handle whatever changes fate will throw at us.
Planning is even useful in legal matters, and the most prepared solicitors will have plans for matters before they start. QLS even offers the ‘Establishing and maintaining positive client relationships’ workshop, which provides a project management-based method of planning legal matters. The next workshop is on 28 August and you can register here. This provides the skills necessary to ensure that matters are accurately costed, planned and explained to the client—this eliminates surprises, and an unsurprised client is a happy one. Trust me.
Speaking of planning, this is an election year for QLS and nominations will be open from 9 to 24 September. Voting takes place from 9 to 24 October. The successful candidates will form the Council for 2020–2021 and determine the direction of our august organisation (more information here). If you have ever thought about getting involved, this is a great way to do so. The Society does a lot of good and being a part of it is quite rewarding.
Planning, of course, is about the future, and providing some hope that it will be a good future. That largely depends on how well we plan, and on the next generation of solicitors now coming up through the ranks. I was recently buoyed with hope for the future when I spent some time at the QLS Criminal Law Conference.
It is a pretty tough time to be a criminal lawyer. We are all reeling from the fallout of the diabolical actions of Victorian barrister Nicola Gobbo and the equally diabolical actions of her police handlers. We also have a few of our own facing some pretty serious allegations.
Moreover, many new pieces of legislation, or amendments, have the effect of reversing onus and in some cases limiting the right to silence. Even the requirement for offences to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt is under attack.
In spite of all that, our Criminal Law Conference was chock full of early career lawyers, many under 30. It was heart-warming to see so many people at the start of their careers pursuing a career in standing up for the downtrodden and speaking on behalf of society’s most vulnerable.
This is just the most recent example, of course. At every conference that I attend I am uplifted by our driven, passionate and committed members who stand ready to stand up for the rule of law and fight against legislative over-reach. It really is inspiring and makes me proud of the organisation we are and the members we have.
So until next time, stay strong and keep doing us proud!
Bill Potts, QLS President