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From the CEO: Membership gives value

Every Issue

Cite as: (2009) 83(04) LIJ, p.6

The LIV works hard to represent its members on the national stage and to provide assistance closer to home.

Maintaining a strong representative organisation is paramount in tough economic times. It is the LIV voice that can ensure state and federal governments keep a sensitive balance in the legislative process as some quite drastic economic decisions are undertaken.

The LIV's commitment to maintaining members' rights and a "voice of reason" will continue to be important this year. Federal Attorney-General Rob McClelland recently announced a commitment to the introduction of federal legislation to control all Lawyers in Australia. The LIV views the national legislation as good for all Lawyers.

The ability of Lawyers across Australia to be governed by one set of trust and audit rules, one set of continuing professional development rules and one set of costs agreements with clients would be of immeasurable advantage to both Lawyer and consumer.

We urge state and federal governments to support the introduction of this national regulation and legislation and believe that the sooner the introduction is undertaken the sooner the benefits will flow to the community.

We are entering membership renewal time and I would remind practitioners of the many services and assistance the LIV provides members, both professionally and personally.

On the communication front, as part of our ongoing commitment to providing strong membership support, the LIV is upgrading its website to provide a more user-friendly and accessible platform. This upgrade will be carried out in stages but the first rebuilding phase is scheduled to be completed by September this year.

Friday Facts provides all members with a weekly update on what's happening in the legal world. I encourage all members to at least skim Friday Facts as it provides important and relevant information, and also opportunities for members to be involved in other activities.

The LIJ is seen throughout Australia's legal institutions as the leading journal. It is via the LIJ that members are able to keep up with what is going on in the legal community and their areas of practice.

LIV Section membership provides worthwhile opportunities to be involved in submissions to government and to be at the cutting edge of new legislation, as well as being an excellent opportunity to network with other Lawyers who have like interests. The Sections cover a diverse range of legal work and many members choose to join several Sections.

The ongoing provision of continuing professional development (CPD) is most important to all members. The LIV's Professional Development courses are not just about obtaining the "necessary units" to meet CPD requirements. Education provided through the LIV is designed to continually improve the legal knowledge of members. Regional and rural members should not miss out either.

Education programs are provided in those regions and there is provision for teleconferencing facilities and video links. The competitive pricing of the LIV education program makes this a genuine benefit for members.

The LIV's community profile results in the public making contact in relation to a wide range of issues. On many occasions we refer members of the public to the LIV Referral Service. Being part of the Referral Service has helped many firms attract an initial group of clients and to continually build on that business with ongoing referral work. This is an important service, particularly in these competitive times.

On a personal level, the LIV is aware that members of the profession are prone to stress and depression. The LIV provides a free-to-members counselling service. These counsellors will provide ongoing assistance and advice and if necessary can refer members to other support services, including the LIV psychologist.

Members should see this as a genuine advantage and something to be used whenever necessary. Early access to this service may prevent bigger issues arising later.

A business advantage of your membership is the LIV Privileges program which delivers a wide range of personal and professional offers and savings. For the full range of offers, see http://www.liv.asn.au/privileges.

All these services are provided to members for a very competitive membership price.

This year the membership fee has risen by $15, which is the first increase in five years. I believe $330 plus GST for a practising member provides excellent value.

Please take time to review the opportunities that you can obtain as a member of this strong representative organisation.

I also suggest you consider not only what advantages you can receive through the LIV but what you can become involved in, whether it be Section membership activities or otherwise, that benefit both you and the wider membership.

On a final note, I wish to reiterate president Danny Barlow's thanks to all of you who responded to the call for help following the recent tragic bushfires. The response has been overwhelming and our volunteers have provided excellent service.

Mike Brett Young
CEO, Law Institute of Victoria

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