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From the President: Why not join me

Cite as: August 2015 89 (8) LIJ, p.06

Being on an LIV committee or two has more than paid off. 

I have a confession – I’m an addict. A committee addict. I joined my first LIV committee shortly after I joined the LIV and, each year since, I have added one, two, sometimes three new committees to my hoard. I’ve stopped counting how many committees I belong to for fear my husband will admit me to committee rehab. Why do I do it? Because it makes me a better lawyer. Committees make me more connected and knowledgeable and give me opportunities to influence the development of legal issues that are important to me and my clients.

When I joined my first LIV committee, I had few legal connections outside my firm and clients. Joining an LIV committee provided me with opportunities to engage with lawyers from “the other side” and to discover that, although we may have different clients, we were quite similar in mind and passion. By working with lawyers on LIV committees, I am exposed to a broader range of legal experience and knowledge than I could ever accumulate in my lifetime. I no longer need to know it all – I just need to know someone who knows “it” and give them a call. A quick phone call to a committee colleague has saved me hours of research many times over – a great return on my investment of an hour every six or eight weeks.

Being an LIV committee member has helped me to develop my career. I became a privacy expert through my membership of LIV committees. My committee colleagues have been a source of information about job opportunities and even the occasional reference.

Through my committees, I am at the forefront of the development of legal issues relevant to my practice and, through my committee colleagues, I see trends in the law before they affect my own practice. I share this knowledge with clients and colleagues to enable them to plan for and adapt to changing laws.

LIV committees have also given me opportunities to influence law reform issues in ways that I could never achieve on my own. Long before the federal government introduced the Data Retention Bill, LIV committees were monitoring plans for a mandatory data retention scheme and calling government to account for such proposals. This work over many years ensured that the LIV was ideally placed to respond to the Data Retention Bill. I have written in detail about those advocacy efforts in the new LIJ column “Case study” on p80.

I encourage you to join me and 1300 of your peers in being part of the LIV committees. There are more than 70 to choose from, so you can find one (or two or five) that best suits you.

Katie Miller - LIV president president@liv.asn.au blog liv.asn.au/livpresblog

Lawyers interested in joining committees please call their LPP lawyer. Ph: +61 3 9607 9311

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