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LIV President's Blog 2012

LIV President's Blog 2013

Reynah Tang, LIV President 2013 on the latest issues and topics. Read and comment.

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Accepting people like me as members

Accepting people like me as members
As a young lawyer, I wrote an article and submitted it to the Law Institute Journal. To my dismay, the editor wasn’t dazzled by the musings of an articled clerk. I would have to wait longer for my first byline, although perhaps I have had the last laugh now that I have a regular LIJ column!
 
As law students, many of us want to have a voice. Let’s face it – lawyers are an opinionated lot. There is no better way to have your opinions heard than in a manner that enables you to make a meaningful contribution to your profession. That’s why I got actively involved at the LIV.
 
Perhaps being immersed in the culture of Corrs – where I did my articles and where I am now a tax partner – made an association with the LIV almost inevitable. Lots of Corrs alumni have had the honour of wearing the LIV President’s hat – including former Supreme Court judge the Honourable Bernie Teague (twice), James Syme, David Miles and Sir Edward Cohen. But the main reason I got involved was because I was looking for ways to get involved in shaping public policy in my area of practice - tax law.
 
Making a difference
I joined the LIV’s tax and revenue committee around a decade ago. It is a good feeling when you are able to help your clients, but it is even more fulfilling when you are able to make a difference on a larger scale.
 
A fundamental aspect of the lawyer - client relationship is the privilege that attaches to communications between them that allows for full and frank disclosure.  So I was very privileged to be part of the group working on the submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission to ensure that client legal privilege was maintained in the context of federal regulatory investigations, by bodies such as the Australian Taxation Office. The experience also gave me my first taste of working with the Law Council of Australia and I am pleased to say that the privilege remains to this day.
 
I became the chair of the tax and revenue committee, and later chaired the commercial law section executive. Through that, I gained insights into issues well beyond my area of practice, by attending the annual Conference of Council and some of the LIV Council meetings.  One thing led to another, and before long I found myself on the LIV Council, where I have long pushed the need for national legal profession reforms – something that I still hope will start this side of my presidency.
 
Before I became President, I had the chance to attend conferences on social justice issues, and that made me want to learn more about the issues affecting marginalised people, and to do some advocacy work to help them through the mainsteam media, representations to government and our social media channels.
 
I’m sure you’re wondering what has brought on all this nostalgia. It’s because the LIV thrives on the involvement of its members in the various sections and committees. And I urge you to get involved.
 
Add your voice 
Our section members write submissions to a multitude of government inquiries. There is often fairly intense debate on the more divisive subjects, which can make for some interesting meetings! We’re keen for you to add your voice to the debate. But to do this, you must be an LIV member. If you haven’t already done so, you can renew here.
 
The LIV has also been working hard to support our members this year.  We’ve enhanced our limitation of liability scheme, launched some videos telling good stories of the work that lawyers do, and judging by the increasing number of calls, the practice support line is of great benefit to many of our members. 
 
This year, for the first time, the LIV is hosting the legal careers fair, and more of our mid-tier to large law firms are taking advantage of our tailored ethics programs. No member is likely to need every service or benefit, but there should be something of benefit for everyone, even when it comes to buying a car or getting a loan.
 
Unlike Groucho Marx, I'm actually very happy to belong to a “club” that accepts people like me as members.  The personal satisfaction I have gained from being part of the LIV is not quantifiable. So join me, and get involved in the issues you’re passionate about.
 
What issues do you think the LIV should campaign on?
 
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