Proctor : September 2018
3 PROCTOR | September 2018 Excellence – that is what all legal practitioners should aspire to throughout their careers. We are the guardians of the justice system and the protectors of the public good. Our solicitors carry out a valuable role each and every day by assisting members of their community with a multitude of legal matters. We are often the last line of defence in serious circumstances, and the advisor that our clients rely on in their most challenging times. We contribute greatly to our profession and our community. Harnessing the excellence within our profession and promoting that throughout our communities is key in sharing the value of solicitors to society. Recently, we recognised those listed on best lawyers’ lists including Chambers, Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Best Lawyers and Lawyers Weekly 30 under 30. At this event, we were fortunate to have Phil Ware as our keynote speaker. Phil is a lawyer of nearly 30 years’ experience across private first-tier and in- house practice. He is also the inaugural Chair of the Society’s In-House Counsel Committee, a QLS Senior Counsellor and Chair of our Wellbeing Working Group. Phil spoke about what makes an excellent lawyer, sharing some valuable insights into the benchmark for the modern lawyer. He shared that one must possess conjoining, ancillary and soft skills which move a practitioner from ‘fair average quality’ towards excellence and a ‘trusted client adviser’ along with a ‘respected professional peer’. I would like to share the list of ingredients that were said to make up a good lawyer and support good law with you: “For Good Lawyers • Trite I know, but professionalism and civility • Specialist accreditation where appropriate • Client centricity in every facet • Understanding and empathy • Responsivity • Solutions orientation • Commerciality and practicality • Process efficiency, including project management skills • Client-recognised delivery of value and value for money • Leadership • Mentoring and pastoral care of professional and support staff • Unquestioned ethics and integrity “For Good Law • Membership of the QLS • Active support of the QLS and its initiatives including: • Participation in law reform via the QLS policy committees • Professional leadership via other QLS committees • Community engagement including via District Law Associations and pro bono work. “QLS promotes Good Lawyers and Good Law. That’s a great precis of our deeper aspirations to professional excellence.” 1 I thank Phil for his insights and his support of not only the work that Queensland Law Society does, but also of the profession in general, and his trust in the high ethical standards of our practitioners. I have discussed civility and collegiality in recent columns, and it is a subject I am passionate about. Our profession is steeped in tradition, and this includes our ethical standards. Who are our best lawyers? Those who balance ethics, professionalism, collegiality, upholding the rule of law and advancing their client’s best interests embody the essence of a good lawyer. A good lawyer will also respect the courts, its officers, our justice system as a whole, their peers, staff and community. This excellence is what we must all strive for. We must find what motivates us and hold onto that for the entirety of our careers, and beyond. The essence of a good lawyer carries over into life beyond law, within our families and communities. The passion that you find now will sustain you for life. Let us run the race together towards excellence in the law, for the good of the public. Raising up the next generation How do we instil the same robust and ethical values into the next generation of solicitors? By allowing students and emerging lawyers to learn in a real practice environment where mistakes can be made and corrected in a safe space is a start. Our young lawyers must be able to learn all of the facets of the job and become familiar with processes and key stakeholders to best understand the profession in its entirety. If you can understand how a matter gets from a to z, then you have a better chance of being the most effective and efficient practitioner you can be. Not to mention, you can establish relationships with your peers, department and court staff by understanding their day-to-day tasks. Having a proper opportunity to learn the ropes of being a solicitor on the job in the busy days of legal practice is so important. Having a proper mentor, guide or mater to help a young lawyer through is equally important. On-the-job training and the opportunity to learn and make mistakes safely should not be undervalued. When you think about it, that was the best of the old system of articles... Ken Taylor Queensland Law Society President email@example.com Twitter: @QLSpresident LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ ken-taylor-qlspresident President’s report Excellence in law What makes a good lawyer? Notes 1 Phil Ware, keynote address, Queensland Law Society Best Lawyers Breakfast, Wednesday 18 July 2018.