Proctor : June 2017
52 PROCTOR | June 2017 Practical, personal guidance for members 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 49 highly experienced practitioners across Queensland who can assist with professional or ethical issues and career advice. This month, we profile three QLS Senior Counsellors who practise in Central Queensland – Vicki Jackson (Rockhampton), Bernadette Le Grand (Gladstone) and Chris Trevor (Gladstone). Vicki Jackson Vicki has been a QLS accredited specialist (family law) since 1997 and is a nationally accredited mediator. What motivated you to become a QLS Senior Counsellor? As a young solicitor in Rockhampton, I enjoyed a collegiate relationship and thought nothing of ringing a more senior practitioner as a sounding board, whether for an ethical question or a matter of law. When approached to be a QLS Senior Counsellor, I therefore felt a responsibility to say ‘yes’. What is the best part about being a QLS Senior Counsellor? I am always humbled that another practitioner has not only the confidence to approach me but, in addition, it is rewarding to be able to ease another person’s burden even if it is only to say ‘I agree with your approach’ to a particular issue. What do you like to do during your time off? Pre-2014, I would have said preparing for and competing mostly in agricultural shows and equestrian competitions with my show horse. Since my retirement from active competition, I now spend time that is more leisurely with my horses and of course my husband Ion and daughter Anna, both of whom share my passion for animals. Travel is also on the agenda. What is your favourite area of practice? Succession and family law, as they enable me to try to make a difference to people when they feel most vulnerable and alone. With my background, I also enjoy agribusiness and rural property transactions, particularly the complex litigation founded in equity, which often flows out of family farms. Can you provide an overview on your general experience as a QLS Senior Counsellor? For me, it is giving back to a profession that has been part of my life for 40 years. I particularly enjoy interaction with young people and enjoy engaging with them about the challenges and pressures that they face. If you could give one piece of advice to a solicitor just starting their career, what would it be? Work diligently while remaining objective to a client’s problem or transaction. Do the best you can for them, but sometimes you cannot achieve the impossible. Remember to not make other people’s problems your problem, and practise ‘turning off’ as you leave the office. What do you like about your region? Loyalty and trust of rural clients as well as the Rockhampton lifestyle. I am able to enjoy looking out each morning at my stables and my husband’s stud cattle, yet I only have a 20-minute drive to my office; a half hour to the beach and a one-hour flight to Brisbane. How is that for versatility? Bernadette Le Grand Bernadette is a nationally accredited mediator, registered family dispute resolution practitioner and conflict management coach. What motivated you to become a QLS Senior Counsellor? I was asked by past QLS president Michael [Fitzgerald] and I see it as a further opportunity to provide support to practitioners in the regions who are doing it tough. What is the best part about being a QLS Senior Counsellor? Being able to help people. What do you like to do during your time off? I enjoy spending time with my family, jet-skiing, travelling and reading. What is your favourite area of practice? Mediation. Can you provide an overview on your general experience as a QLS Senior Counsellor? It has been very brief so far, but I have met a number of the other QLS Senior Counsellors and I think Queensland solicitors are well served by their counsellors and the QLS Ethics Centre. I encourage everybody to make use of these resources that are available to them. If you could give one piece of advice to a solicitor just starting their career, what would it be? I suppose ‘Don’t do it!’ would not be an appropriate answer! Probably that law can be a very tough and demanding profession, particularly in the regions, and it is important that you look after your mental health. Remember we are a profession, and although sometimes our work is adversarial, we can still be courteous and support each other. You are not alone, take advantage of the services offered by QLS like LawCare, the QLS Ethics Centre and the QLS Senior Counsellors. What do you like about your region? The friendly people, the harbour, marina parklands, the islands, Lake Awoonga, the beaches and the weather.