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Meet the LIV Council


Cite as: Jan/Feb 2015 89 (1/2) LIJ, p.26

Council executive

Katie Miller - president

As president, I will work for all members to ensure that the LIV continues to be the peak provider of services to members of the legal profession. During my four years on Council, I have supported members to adapt to the changes facing the profession, including those posed by social media and privacy. During 2015, I will be on leave of absence from my role as a government lawyer and accredited specialist in administrative law, so I can devote myself fully to the task of serving the LIV and its members.

Contact details

Katie Miller, president Law Institute of Victoria
470 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000
Ph 9670 9311
Council member since November 2010

Steven Sapountsis - president-elect

In 2015, the LIV should listen even more to the profession; assist the new CEO with practice support materials; seek to influence the new regulatory scheme to work in the interests of lawyers and their clients; continue its work in diversity, reconciliation, access to justice and the wellbeing of lawyers; strengthen its relationship with suburban, country and regional associations; identify opportunities for all practitioners; continue its work with the role and expectations of law graduates; and maintain its strong advocacy of the rule of law.

Contact details

Steven Sapountsis, special counsel Moores
9 Prospect Street, Box Hill 3128
Ph 9843 2157
Council member since November 2009

Belinda Wilson - vice-president

After being a Gippsland practitioner since 2002, predominantly in the area of business, property and estate planning, I have embarked on a new career challenge as the chief executive and corporate counsel for Port Phillip Bay Scallops. I have had a long standing involvement with the LIV including as a committee member of the Business Law Section, a founding member of the Mentoring Program and the immediate past president of the Gippsland Law Association.

Over the remaining period of my term I will continue to advocate for premium member services.

Contact details

Belinda Wilson, CEO and corporate counsel Port Phillip Bay Scallops
17 Stewart Street, Port Welshpool 3965
Ph 5280 8123
Council member since January 2014

Geoff Bowyer - immediate past president

I look forward to assisting Katie Miller and the Council tackling the challenges facing LIV members. While I am returning to full-time practice, I will continue to identify more sophisticated solutions to access to justice and making the practice of being a lawyer a viable opportunity. Challenges include increased competition and encroachment from non-lawyers into previously solicitor exclusive areas. I will continue to build on the vital relationships we have with city, suburban and regional associations and to drive the clinical education program we are developing with La Trobe and Deakin universities.

Contact details

Geoff Bowyer, director Beck Legal
PO Box 628, Bendigo 3552
Ph 5445 3333
Council member since November 2009

Sue Kee - 5th executive member

I am a member of Arnold Bloch Leibler’s litigation and dispute resolution practice. My goals as a member of the Council’s executive include promoting LIV best practice governance; supporting the LIV in taking a leadership stand on important social justice and public interest issues; working to ensure that the LIV effectively represents all members’ interests; encouraging city based practitioners to be active LIV members; advocating for the adoption of policies to promote opportunities for increased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander involvement and representation in the legal profession.

Contact details

Sue Kee, senior associate Arnold Bloch Leibler
Level 21, 333 Collins Street, Melbourne 3000
Ph 9229 9983
Council member since February 2014

Council members

Megan Aumair

I am a criminal lawyer with 11 years experience and have been the sole director of my firm in Bendigo since 2009. I am committed to the LIV’s advocacy and lobbying efforts for additional funding for Victoria Legal Aid and to agitate for changes to the strict VLA guidelines that currently preclude vulnerable Victorians from qualifying for legal representation. I am delighted to have been nominated the LIV’s representative on the Law Council of Australia’s rural, regional and remote lawyers advisory group, a role I will take up in 2015.

Contact details

Megan Aumair, director Stuthridge Legal
135 McCrae Street, Bendigo 3550
Ph 5444 0906
Council member since November 2013

Gerry Bean

I am a partner in the DLA Piper corporate team with a focus on investment in the real estate, infrastructure and health sectors. 2014 saw many changes at the LIV and in legal services markets, which challenged Council members to be responsive to members’ needs. In 2014 I was on the Membership Taskforce, Future Focus Committee, the Commercial Law Executive Committee and the LIJ Editorial Committee. I have also worked with the LIV in dealing with the ATO on firm structures. As an LIJ Editorial Committee member I encourage practitioners to contribute articles.

Contact details

Gerry Bean, partner DLA Piper
Level 21, 140 William Street, Melbourne 3000
Ph 9274 5661
Council member since November 2012

Caroline Counsel

Together with the LIV, I have been helping the profession face challenges in relation to physical and mental health issues, succession planning, making the shift from time-costing to value added billing, the red tape associated with regulation and the perpetual crisis in relation to legal aid funding. I am an accredited family law specialist, family dispute resolution practitioner and collaborative lawyer and have been in practice for 30 years. I have served on the Family Law Section executive and sub-committees and will be chairing the Collaborative Practice Section in 2015.

Contact details

Caroline Counsel, principal Caroline Counsel Family Lawyers
Level 7, 365 Queen Street, Melbourne 3000
Ph 9320 3900
Council member since February 2006

Cameron Forbes

I am a senior associate in the tax group at King & Wood Mallesons specialising in indirect tax and was the 2013 president of the LIV Young Lawyers Section. In my second year on Council I will continue my passion and enthusiasm for building an alignment between the profession and the LIV. My key focus areas are engagement and promoting participation by all lawyers in the LIV, particularly through social media, advocacy and pursuing community issues such as wellbeing, professional development and improving accessibility through innovation.

Contact details

Cameron Forbes, senior associate King & Wood Mallesons
Level 50, Bourke Place, 600 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000
Ph 9643 4000
Council member since November 2013

Michael Holcroft

A change in government always represents new opportunities and challenges for the LIV to lobby and influence change. We are hoping to convince the Labor government to wind back the mandatory and baseline sentencing legislation of the previous government. Increasing legal aid funding will again be a priority. The LIV will continue to pursue the best outcome from the Uniform Legal Profession reforms for the profession. The biggest challenge for the LIV is to continue to show its membership value and prove its relevance in a changing legal environment.

Contact details

Michael Holcroft, director Holcroft Lawyers
PO Box 5028, Mildura 3502
Ph 5022 2622
Council member since May 2008

Simon Libbis

Having had a number of roles over my 37 years as a legal practitioner, I am now the principal of Subdivision Lawyers, a boutique property law practice. I have been accredited as a property law specialist since 1994 and have a keen interest in the specialist accreditation scheme. My position on the specialisation board provides an opportunity to make a contribution in this area. I see the main role of the LIV as providing services and support to members and will strive to ensure this is of the highest standard.

Contact details

Simon Libbis, principal Subdivision Lawyers
PO Box 166, Mentone 3194
Ph 0488 542 247
Council member since March 2013

Tom May

I practise mainly in taxation law, have been involved in voluntary organisations within and outside the legal profession and have an interest in the agricultural sector. It is essential the LIV provides members with value for money by keeping down membership fees as much as possible and charging appropriately for services on a user-pays basis. The LIV should also help members become more comfortable with changing technologies and work patterns, continue to place emphasis on the sections and take steps towards creating a strong national lawyers’ organisation and the national profession project.

Contact details

Tom May, senior counsel – tax, Madgwicks
Level 33, 140 William Street, Melbourne 3000
Ph 9242 4797
Email Council member since April 2001

Pasanna Mutha-Merennege

I am the policy and campaigns manager at Women’s Legal Service Victoria. My experience includes working in several community legal centres (CLCs) as well as in commercial law and government. I will, in 2015, focus on promoting diversity and equality within the LIV and the broader profession. I am passionate about access to justice and will continue to advocate for a strong legal assistance sector.

Contact details

Pasanna Mutha-Merennege, policy and projects manager Women’s Legal Service Victoria
Level 10, 277 William Street, Melbourne 3000
Ph 8622 0600
Council member since November 2012

Sam Pandya

I am the founder and managing principal of OpusRed, a law firm specialising in corporate and personal insolvency. After 17 years in insolvency law, I was inspired to start my own practice with an inclusive and client-focused culture. In my first term on Council, I will be a passionate advocate of cultural and gender diversity within the profession and will promote opportunities for young lawyers to empower them to face an ever-changing, increasingly globalised profession. In 2015, I will promote greater grassroots involvement of members in the activities and initiatives of the LIV.

Contact details

Sam Pandya, managing principal OpusRed Commercial Lawyers
Suite 404, 585 Little Collins Street, Melbourne 3000
Ph 1300 676 787
Council member since January 2015

Misty Royce

I have practised in the southern region and been an LIV member since 2004. In 2013 I established my own practice focusing on property and estate planning matters. I am keen to ensure the LIV is connected to its members on a practical level, assisting those of us at the forefront in appropriately managing ethical and risk management issues and embracing progressive technologies. E-conveyancing, women’s issues and wellbeing of lawyers are of particular interest. I welcome member input.

Contact details

Misty Royce, principal solicitor Misty Royce
PO Box 62, Seaford 3198
Ph 0438 892 353
Council member since January 2015

Angela Sdrinis

My major focus on the Executive and on Council has been personal injuries law. The LIV has continued to be actively involved in this area and has made submissions to the government on the proposal to abolish limitation periods in child abuse claims, the Wrongs Act (asbestos regulations and VTEC Inquiry) and in many other areas related to personal injuries law including aspects of the Productivity Commission’s Access to Justice Report. I hope to continue to focus on this area in the next 12 months.

Contact details

Angela Sdrinis, director Angela Sdrinis Legal
118 St Kilda Road, St Kilda 3182
Ph 9041 8811
Council member since November 2012

Stuart Webb

I am an experienced administrative law practitioner, appointed to the Migration and Refugee Review Tribunals in July 2012. Previously I worked at Victoria Legal Aid in civil and human rights law. I am looking forward to advocating for in-house lawyers to ensure that our voice on important issues is heard. I will ensure that the LIV continues its fine tradition of speaking boldly and bravely for those unable to do so. This lifts the standing of lawyers in the community. I will continue to ensure that diversity in our profession is respected and encouraged.

Contact details

Stuart Webb, member Migration Review Tribunal/Refugee Review Tribunal
Level 10, 120 Spencer Street, Melbourne 3000
Ph 8600 5900
Council member since November 2006

Jing Zhu

I am a solicitor with Russell Kennedy defending common law claims and statutory scheme entitlement disputes on behalf of the Victorian WorkCover Authority. I am passionate about promoting greater diversity within the profession, including greater ethnic diversity, particularly at senior levels. As a committee member of the Asian Australian Lawyers’ Association, I believe we are making progress on this cause and as a Councillor I hope to create greater understanding of this issue among the LIV membership. I also look forward to deepening the ties between the Council and the Young Lawyers Section.

Contact details

Jing Zhu, lawyer Russell Kennedy
Level 12, 469 La Trobe Street, Melbourne 3000
Ph 9609 1654
Council member since January 2015


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