Proctor : November 2017
5 PROCTOR | November 2017 Don’t know where I’m going. Don’t know where it’s flowing. But I know it’s finding you. The dulcet tones of the Go-Betweens, reminding us of the importance of finding the right people – as Homer once said, “Rock stars...is there anything they don’t know?” 1 What they might not know, however, is how to find you – and the Society can help with that – through one of our little known but most valuable member services called ‘Find a solicitor’. For those members who aren’t aware of this service, I will explain a bit about it, because it is a valuable tool in connecting clients with members in our highly competitive legal market. QLS has established a referral list of solicitors and firms who have identified to the Society that they practise in certain areas of law. That data has allowed us to create a searchable database for clients seeking a solicitor or firm in a certain location or practice area. Signing up to the referral list in a particular area of law does not represent that a practitioner specialises in that area of law or practices only in that area. Rather, it is an indication that the practitioner has a substantial involvement in that area of law. To be eligible for inclusion on the referral list, a practitioner must be a member of the Society and have practised as a legal practitioner for at least five consecutive years. If a practitioner has practised interstate for part of that five-consecutive- year period, the practitioner will be eligible for inclusion on the referral list for federal areas of law, such as family law, immigration/citizenship law and taxation law. They will not be eligible for inclusion under other areas of law unless they have practised as a legal practitioner for a period of six consecutive years, at least three of which must have been in Queensland. Inclusion on the list is not automatic, and an initial assessment is made by Society staff, with practitioners being limited to nominating three areas of specialisation. There are certain criteria established by QLS Council which will prevent a practitioner from inclusion, including if the practitioner has had involvement with the Legal Services Commission. Those criteria and the application form to register yourself on the ‘Find a Solicitor’ service are available on the website at qls.com.au/For_the_ community/Find_a_solicitor. The website also has links to help find accredited specialists, arbitrators and mediators, as well as your local district law association (DLA). Getting involved with your local DLA is a great way to connect with colleagues and the local community – which is also a great way to connect with clients. I highly recommend checking out and engaging with your local DLA. Those colleague and community connections are doubly important to our profession as we enter what is sometimes known as the ‘silly season’, but which can be the sombre season for those struggling with their mental health. This time of year can often mask those struggles, and it is important that we keep our lines of communication with our colleagues open. On 9 November, the Society, in conjunction with the Bar Association of Queensland, presents the annual Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation Lecture. If you can’t attend in person, a recording of the lecture will be available on the Society’s website. This year Jerome Doraisamy, ex-lawyer and author of The Wellness Doctrines for Law Students and Young Lawyers, shares his personal insights on dealing with mental health challenges. It is a good time to remind ourselves that people struggling don’t always reach out, and we need to keep a lookout for the signs and not be afraid to ask, “are you ok?” The signs of depression can be subtle, and our profession is infamous for its susceptibility to the black dog. It is also worth watching for problems in our own lives, as being busy can mask the signs even to ourselves and maintaining collegial networks with our fellow professionals is a must. Finally, by the time you read this, the QLS elections will have been run and our member representatives for the next two years selected. I would like to thank all those who have served in the current Council and wish the new Council the best of luck in its endeavours. Matt Dunn Queensland Law Society Acting CEO Our executive report If clients can’t find you, the Society can help Notes 1 “Lisa the vegetarian”, The Simpsons, 19 November 1995, television.