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Unsolicited: Letters to the editor

Every Issue

Cite as: October 2009 83(10) LIJ, p8

Managing maternity leave needs in-depth discussion

I read with interest the article in the August 2009 edition of the LIJ entitled "VGSO manages pregnant pause".

Under the tag line, "The Victorian Government Solicitors' Office leads the way in accommodating solicitors returning to work from maternity leave" the article explained that 11 VGSO lawyers have gone on maternity leave since 2004; eight have come back part-time, and the remaining three are expected to return this year.

You might find that there are firms substantially further advanced in their experience of this issue than the VGSO.

In the same period, there have been 20 instances of solicitors in my firm taking maternity leave.

Except for one they have returned, and in almost all cases to part-time work.

The firm has employed between 40 and 50 solicitors over most of the period. I see from the article that since May 2006, the number of VGSO lawyers has doubled to 100.

As with the VGSO, this has generally been a positive experience for the firm and the solicitor, but not always, and the superficiality of public discussion about it can be frustrating.

We and possibly many other people involved in small business would be grateful if such issues as client disappointment with lack of continuity, professional and firm development for the member of staff on leave, court scheduling, obligations to replacement staff and the financing of generous maternity leave arrangements could get more attention.

Matthew Maher

Wisewoulds Mahony

For providing the letter of the month, Matthew Maher has won a $50 book voucher from the LIV bookshop, redeemable for the next 12 months.

Member trust rewarded

We recently purchased and commenced using the new LIV web based trust accounting package and have found it to be outstanding.

It is user-friendly, reliable and cost-efficient.

It also significantly assists with making our compliance obligations less burdensome.

The LIV's help desk staff have been exceptionally good to deal with, particularly in assisting with the transition from our former trust accounting system.

We would recommend it to any firm as an excellent IT solution for a growing practice.

The LIV should be complimented for making this solution available to us and we look forward to further developments with the software.

Stephen Lucas

Principal, Lucas Lawyers

It's all in the timing

I have been the mediator in a number of cases recently where it became obvious that the parties had not considered the timing of the process.

If a mediation is brought too early, before exchange of documents, costs are thrown away and adjournments are required.

If mediations are held too late - i.e. after thousands of dollars have been expended, the parties perceive that they have no incentive to resolve and instead of discussing the merits of the case the issue of costs takes priority.

A well-timed mediation can achieve client satisfaction if the matter resolves, and a clear isolation of issues if it fails.

Julian Ireland

Barrister/Mediator


We welcome letters to the editor of no more than 400 words. Email: letters@liv.asn.au Fax: 9607 9451 Mail: LIJ, Managing Editor Mick Paskos, GPO Box 263C, Melbourne 3001; or DX 350 Melbourne. We reserve the right to edit letters and to republish them in their original or edited form on the internet or in other media. Letters must include a phone number and address for authentication.

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