Proctor : November 2018
17 PROCTOR | November 2018 Our Agnes McWhinney Award, named after Queensland’s first admitted female solicitor, recognises the contributions of outstanding women in the legal profession. In 2018 this award was presented to Ann-Maree David, who has devoted her career to professional development. Ann-Maree led the Society’s own continuing legal education program for eight years until 2002 before going on to establish the Queensland campus of the Australian College of Law. The Equity and Diversity Awards debuted at the LPDA in 2018, having previously been conferred separately. The 2018 award for the large legal practice category was presented to Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, and the small legal practice category was awarded to Cairns- based Miller Harris Lawyers for the third time. Leading the profession The Society advocates for good law, and good lawyers, for the public good. The Society’s 27 standing policy committees are comprised of over 350 volunteer committee members who contribute their expertise and knowledge to advocating for good law for the public good. Their dedication enables the Society to develop sound and balanced submissions to government when seeking legislative and policy reform which will have a positive impact for both the legal profession and the Queensland community. Our committee members come from a range of professional backgrounds, ensuring that our advocacy is representative on key issues affecting practitioners. The Society values its relationship with the Queensland Government and the opposition, and is regularly consulted on the development of policy positions and proposed legislative amendments, leading to better outcomes and more responsive legislation. The Society also engages with the courts on procedural reform and practical issues affecting court users, including consultation on draft practice directions. 169 QLS policy committee meetings 149 Stakeholder engagements 212 Legal policy submissions 20 Parliamentary public hearings Reconciliation Action Plan On 5 July 2017 QLS launched its inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan 2017-19. Over the financial year, the Society strengthened its commitment to reconciliation by raising awareness of First Nations issues, increasing engagement with Elders, First Nations peoples, organisations and legal stakeholders, as well as exploring ways to increase opportunities for First Nations peoples. Our action items and important successes included: • Successful endorsement by Reconciliation Australia of the Society’s inaugural RAP in May 2017. • Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group – 91% of members identify as First Nations peoples and 90% of members are also legal practitioners. • Establishment of inaugural QLS Reconciliation and First Nations Advancement Committee (RFNAC) – Since October 2017 to June 2018, the RFNAC has submitted 12 positions to policy reform. • Cultural awareness training – the Society has successfully introduced cultural awareness training to its staff, which was rolled out during the first half of 2018. The sessions engaged employees in cultural learning opportunities to increase awareness of First Nations cultures, histories, achievements and protocols. • LawLink support – the LawLink program was established in 2004 to bridge the cultural divide between Indigenous law students and the legal profession. Students gain insight into the profession through formal and informal meetings and site visits to law firms, barristers’ chambers, community legal centres and various courts. • Yarning circles – Society staff engaged in a Yarning Circle during National Reconciliation Week 2018 to encourage staff to come together and share stories of their experiences and understanding of Aboriginal culture and traditional practices. • Human resources – the Society has implemented RAP on-boarding for all new staff to raise awareness about reconciliation and the Society’s commitments set out in the RAP. • QLS First Nations Awards – in 2018, QLS inaugurated and conferred two awards: The QLS First Nations Student of the Year award (awarded to Nareeta Davis) and the QLS First Nations Lawyer of the Year award (awarded to Leah Cameron). The legal landscape and plans for the future The Society’s strategic and operating plans form its short- and long-term roadmaps. We produced and approved the strategic plan prior to the 2017-18 financial year, after considering member feedback, previous corporate results, and other internal and external factors. Our new operating plan, effective 1 July 2018, continues the strategic goals, objectives and key performance indicators of our strategic plan, with a focus on five priority areas: 1. Position QLS as a trusted advisor of law reform in Queensland by engaging with government in areas of legislative reform important to our members and the community. 2. Implement the information management and business processes systems upgrades and improvements. 3. Develop a member services capability expanding the QLS Ethics Centre offering into practice care, practice support and career advancement. 4. Develop a leading accessible technology-supported learning and development offering. 5. Strengthen our QLS culture. Our culture will be collaborative and collegial, there will be clear and strong inclusive leadership, operationally and strategically. We will develop our talent. We will focus on wellbeing, diversity and inclusion and on our staff’s contribution to the community. Staff will be rewarded based on equity, merit and performance. We will focus our second year RAP on our staff and work towards a QLS solicitor graduate program and becoming a citation holder as an employer of choice for gender equity. QLS Annual Report 2017.18 The Queensland Law Society Annual Report 2017-18 was tabled in the Queensland Parliament on 28 September 2018.