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LIV update

Every Issue

Cite as: (2008) 82(7) LIJ, p. 100

LIV Information Services general manager Sue Woodman and LIV
business analyst Carrie Hudson reported on membership data to LIV Council at the 15 May Council meeting.

Michael Holcroft, of Mildura, was appointed to fill the casual vacancy
on Council.

Council endorsed an LIV international law strategy.

Iresha Herath made her maiden speech and also reported on the 2020 Summit which she attended as a delegate.

Membership statistics at 30 April

LIV business analyst Carrie Hudson highlighted the key findings of an LIV membership data report in respect of the top 20 law firms.

The top 20 LIV law firms are defined as those legal firms with the highest number of employees in Victoria according to LIV membership records, and include Victoria Legal Aid.

The report’s aims are to analyse information and create a demographic profile of the top 20 law firms, and gain a greater understanding of LIV services used by this group. This information would then be
used to develop programs to better fit the group’s needs.

Among the information contained in the report, it was noted that:

  • there are currently 3528 individuals working within the top 20 law firms – with an almost 50/50 gender split. There are 1766 males and 1762 females;
  • the average age for men is 39, for women it is 34. Sixty-two per cent of individuals within this group are under the age of 40; and
  • Sixty-four per cent hold an employee position in the firm, 20 per cent are partners (83 per cent of these individuals are male), and 9 per cent are articled clerks.

LIV Information Services general manager Sue Woodman indicated that the data would be fed into the various LIV departments for them to use to tailor programs to best suit members.

Ms Woodman also reported on the membership renewal process, which was a significant task for the Membership department until August.

She said 14,000 members had been segmented into 16 groups and different marketing messages used relevant to
those groups.

The response rate to date was 40 per cent, which was similar to the previous year.

Casual vacancy

Council approved the appointment of Michael Holcroft, of Gallagher Holcroft Lawyers, Mildura, to fill the casual vacancy for the period up to 31 December this year.

The vacancy arose when John Bentley was appointed as a magistrate in April.

Council was delighted with the interest shown in the vacancy as nine candidates put their names forward to fill it.

For more on Mr Holcroft's appointment, see “Mildura lawyer fills LIV Council vacancy”, page 16 of this edition of the LIJ.

International law strategy

The LIV has long been interested in international legal issues and over the past year the work of the LIV International Law Section (ILS) has grown considerably.

The ILS is active and has created many new relationships and opportunities for the LIV. These have largely been ad hoc and on an opportunistic basis. The ILS felt it was time to develop an international strategy to guide the LIV in its international endeavours and to formalise the relationship with the Law Council of Australia (LCA).

Among a raft of recommendations relating to creating and developing relations with other organisations which have an international focus, Council endorsed the international law strategy prepared by the ILS. For more on the LIV International Section, see http://www.liv.asn.au/members/sections/international.

Iresha Herath
Maiden speech

Iresha Herath, who was previously on Council, outlined her goals for her new term on Council. She also spoke about the Prime Minister’s 2020 Summit in April, which she attended. The following is an edited version of her speech.

When last on Council, I was a Mallesons Stephen Jaques senior associate in the Property, Construction and Environment Group. I left Mallesons and Council in 2006 to work during the state election year as Freight, Logistics and Marine Adviser to the Minister for Transport, Peter Batchelor.

I joined ConnectEast Group, the owner and operator of EastLink, as corporate counsel in early 2007. I’m currently on maternity leave, following the birth of my daughter Anika, and plan to return to work in October.

Outside law, I serve on two not-for-profit boards and am a director of theatre company 9minds.

I’ve been very fortunate in my legal career to date. My involvement with the LIV has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career.

Serving as a Council member from late 2004 to early 2006, I was Young Lawyers’ Section vice-president in 2003 and president in 2004.

The Young Lawyers’ Section is a snapshot of the profession’s diverse membership in Victoria, with large, medium and small-firm lawyers, corporate and government lawyers, barristers, city, suburban and regional lawyers all represented.

As Young Lawyers’ Section vice-president and president, I had the opportunity to work on an exciting range of projects with many talented lawyers.

Highlights included the formation of the Later Lawyers Network, the 2004 Hypothetical – Law on Terror, the Articled Clerk and Junior Lawyers Survey on Bullying, the Discrimination in the Law Forum, and the membership drive which saw Young Lawyers’ Section numbers increase by almost 1000 people.

The LIV has always played a significant role in advocating for and effecting change on behalf of the profession and the wider community. During my current Council term I’m committed to supporting the LIV’s work on various issues, including:

  • advocating for the legislative protection of common law rights and freedoms;
  • advocating for legislative standards which strengthen the accountability of executive governments to parliaments;
  • advocating for a national legal profession to provide cross border practice under a uniform regulatory scheme;
  • examining the extent to which Australian legal systems are responding to Indigenous justice issues, and continuing to support Indigenous law students and Indigenous lawyers in practice;
  • encouraging flexible work practices, mentoring schemes and schemes to tackle issues including bullying in the workplace; and
  • working to strengthen ties with other professional bodies for common purposes.

I’m honoured to have been elected to Council for a second time, and will work hard to ensure my presence enhances Council’s efforts in the representation of its members.

2020 Summit

The 2020 Summit was a remarkable experience, and I felt fortunate to be there.

My discussion stream was the Future of Australian Governance, and my sub-stream Parliamentary Reform.

Interestingly, among the many lawyers, politicians and journalists in this stream there were three panel members from the LIV’s 2004 Hypothetical – Julian Burnside QC, Phillip Adams and Robert Manne. And while many people were getting excited about the celebrities in attendance, one of the great thrills for me was sharing a taxi with Alastair Nicholson and meeting Sir William Deane.

Our sub-stream talked about fixed terms for Parliament, minimum time and process standards for the passage of legislation, open access to government information and strengthening protections of free press.

The goodwill between participants really did allow all of our sub-stream members to be heard as equal participants in the debate. That is my most surprising and vivid memory of the weekend.

As widely reported, a top priority in the general Governance stream was an Australian republic. The stream also expressed support for a statutory Bill or Charter of Rights, and a preamble to the Constitution acknowledging Indigenous custodianship of Australia. “Fixing Federalism” was a priority, as was strengthening participation of Australians in their governance through initiatives like automatic electoral enrolment at 18.

John Hartigan and Maxine McKew were the stream co-chairs. After two days with Maxine McKew you understood how she had the gumption to take on a sitting Prime Minister.

In the first plenary session, Prime Minister Rudd told us he didn’t want to regret failing to act when he had the chance. I think many of us understood the sentiment. We were each invited to be part of an extraordinary think tank, and that was a privilege, but it was also a responsibility. If we only had one weekend to put forward ideas we believed would benefit Australia’s future, which ideas should we choose? In the end I think people did speak to the ideas they were most passionate about, and that was the great strength of the Summit.

John Hartigan told us we were going to wrestle an octopus into a string bag that weekend, and many times it did feel like that. It was by no means a perfect exercise, but in the end there was surprising consensus about the kind of Australia we wanted by 2020, even across political divides, and that was heartening.

Since the Summit there has work between Summit participants and the government to build on what was achieved.

I really believe the Summit was the beginning of an open discourse with the government, and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

Interestingly, Tuesday’s [13 May] federal Budget contained an allocation of $2 million for a federal consultation on human rights, a discussion point at the Summit. The Budget paper notes that a national consultation is a priority for 2008/09.

LIV Governance and Representation

LIV EXECUTIVE
President Tony Burke 9822 8588
Vice-president Danny Barlow 5823 7600
Immediate Past President Geoff Provis 9609 1555
Treasurer Steven Stevens 9288 1241
5th Executive Member Caroline Counsel 9328 5810

LIV COUNCIL MEMBERS
Cathy Gale 9620 0088
Iresha Herath 9607 9372
Michael Holcroft 5022 2622
Aurora Kostezky 8602 9208
Anthony (Tom) May 9670 6123
Conor O’Brien 9351 1455
Bruce Pippett 9592 7800
Dominique Saunders 8345 1881
Patrick Sweeney 9672 5800
Reynah Tang 9672 3535
Elissa Watson 9603 7666
Stuart Webb 9269 0416
Mark Woods 5174 6311

LIV SUBURBAN LAW ASSOCIATION PRESIDENTS

Eastern Suburbs Law Association
Ron Rowe 9888 6088
North West Solicitors Association
George Conlan 9370 3636
Northern Suburbs Law Association
Carolyn Kovac 9462 2608
Southern Solicitors Group
Celina Roth 9592 7744
Western Suburbs Law Association
Linda Paric 0422 961 005

LIV COUNTRY LAW ASSOCIATION PRESIDENTS
Ballarat & District Law Association
Sarah Edwards 5333 8871
Bendigo Law Association
Megan Aumair 5444 0906
Geelong Law Association
Alicia Carroll 5273 5281
Gippsland Law Association
Mark Woods 5174 6311
Goulburn Valley Law Association
Anthony Coote 5821 4144
Mornington Peninsula Solicitors Association
Stephen Shipp 9783 7700
North East Law Association
Karen Keegan (02) 6056 8210
North West Law Association
John Roccisano 5021 6227
Western District Law Association
Anthony Robinson 5562 1044
Wimmera Law Association
Phil Babic 5382 4455

To find out more about LIV Governance and Representation see http://www.liv.asn.au/about/structure and http://www.liv.asn.au/directory/lawasns or phone the Secretary to the Council on 9607 9372 or email preid@liv.asn.au.

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