Proctor : April 2017
38 PROCTOR | April 2017 Practical, personal guidance The QLS Senior Counsellor experience QLS Senior Counsellors provide confidential guidance to practitioners on professional or ethical issues. The service has been operating for more than 40 years and today there are 50 highly experienced practitioners across Queensland who can assist with professional or ethical issues and career advice. This month, we profile four QLS Senior Counsellors who practise in the Sunshine Coast region – Glenn Ferguson AM, Pippa Colman, Michael Beirne and Mark Bray. If you could give one piece of advice to a solicitor just starting their career, what would it be? Remember, reputation and trust have to be earned. What do you like about your region? The Sunshine Coast is a beautiful place to live and practise, although I spend the majority of my time now in Brisbane, which is a world-class city. Pippa Colman What motivated you to become a QLS Senior Counsellor? I was at a time in my career where I wanted to start giving back to the professional community and thought this role would be an opportunity to do that. What is the best part about being a QLS Senior Counsellor? One of the best parts is having the opportunity to speak with a range of solicitors who I normally would never cross paths with. How do you spend your spare time? I am currently in training for a couple of long- distance runs this year, so this takes up a lot of my spare time. What is your favourite area of practice? I practise in family law, wills and estates, powers of attorney and elder law because family is the most important thing in the world and helping families find peace can benefit the whole community. Can you provide an overview on your general experience as a QLS Senior Counsellor? This is my first year as a QLS Senior Counsellor and I have found it to be very rewarding to be able to give back to the Glenn Ferguson AM What motivated you to become a QLS Senior Counsellor? The profession has been wonderful to me and as a past president of the Society, I couldn’t think of a better way of keeping involved. What is the best part about being a QLS Senior Counsellor? I genuinely enjoy talking to other members and while I might not always have an answer to the problem or issue, it is very satisfying (hopefully) providing some objective advice and guidance. What do you like to do during your time off? I like to travel and spend time with family. I also love mountain bike riding with a bunch of old blokes and when the body allows, playing old fellas’ rugby in slow motion. What is your favourite area of practice? I practise mainly in business and immigration law now, but I was a litigator for over 20 years. Can you provide an overview on your general experience as a QLS Senior Counsellor? Being a QLS Senior Counsellor is a bit like a lottery. You never know what the next issue is going to be about. I have been fortunate that in the roles I have been involved in during my career I have seen nearly every type of disciplinary issue and ethical dilemma. There is often no right or wrong answer, and I see my role as guiding and suggesting a solution, not judging the issue. I find members often feel very isolated when they face a confronting issue and, in my experience, it is very important to try and resolve their issues at an early stage. There are a lot of services now available to members through the Society which can be utilised and I often encourage the member to engage. professional community and to help out fellow practitioners with any of their issues. If you could give one piece of advice to a solicitor just starting their career, what would it be? To read as much case law as you can and for this to form a ‘habit’ so that you continue in later years to search out case law and continue to develop your knowledge. What do you like about your region? I love the Sunshine Coast because of the climate, lifestyle and collegiate attitude of Sunshine Coast solicitors. Michael Beirne What motivated you to become a QLS Senior Counsellor? Having spent a lot of time helping colleagues, particularly younger lawyers, and having a special interest in practice issues, I wished to put that interest into practice. I care very much for my profession and my colleagues. I am grateful for the help I received during my career from experienced senior practitioners. Becoming a QLS Senior Counsellor gave me an opportunity to give back to the profession for what I have received. What is the best part about being a QLS Senior Counsellor? Assisting other lawyers is very rewarding and keeps the learning curve steep. What has surprised me is the number of situations I am asked to advise on that I have never encountered before. This drives me back to the books and causes me to ask myself, “What would Stafford [Shepherd] do?” What do you like to do during your time off? When I am not at work I can usually be found walking my dog on the beach or riding my motorcycle in the hinterland. What is your favourite area of practice? My favourite area of practice is insolvency and reconstruction, requiring a detailed knowledge of insolvency law and practice, commercial litigation, real and personal property, business structures, business sales, securities, business compliance obligations, in particular taxation, to name a few.