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LIV President's Blog 2014

LIV President's Blog 2014

Geoff Bowyer, LIV President 2014 on the latest issues and topics. Read and comment.

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Welcome to my first blog as President

Welcome to my first blog as President

Each New Year brings with it the reminder that we can make changes to improve.  I’m excited to say that the LIV recently finalised a new strategic plan to help us deliver greater value for members, increase our regulatory role and refine our processes to create a leaner, more efficient vehicle for advancing the legal profession in Victoria.

A small change you’ll notice immediately is that we’ve refreshed the LIV brand. A change that will take longer to materialize, but which is absolutely critical to our overall strategy, is that the executive will be working overtime to create a much closer and more mutually beneficial relationship with our country and suburban law associations.

These associations – your associations – are foundation members of the LIV but, in some ways, we’ve allowed the relationship to become distant over the years, and that’s to the detriment of both the LIV and our members.  The LIV should be our members’ partner in seeking out the solutions to the challenges facing our profession. Particularly issues of concern to our small or remote practitioners, such as;

  • A dwindling awareness of the value of lawyers in local communities
  • The erosion of significant practice areas
  • Ongoing criticism of time-based billing

These issues are part of the wider debate on the future of the legal profession and that is a conversation the LIV wants engage our members in throughout the coming year.  Preparing our members for the changes that are already here or which lie in the not too distant future is something the LIV is committed to going forward.

However, the solutions to these problems do not lie in a one size fits all approach.  They are looming issues that can only be addressed through the acknowledging the realities, sharing our ideas, and having candid debates around how the profession in Victoria needs to evolve if it’s to counter these threats to our practitioners.

As a first step, I am personally aiming to make it to at least one meeting of every country and suburban association in coming months.

I have also commissioned an online survey of our presidents of those associations to gauge the perceived health of the relationship they feel their members enjoy with the LIV.  If we’re going to improve we need to know what our members think the LIV is doing well and where we could be doing better in delivering value.

The results will then be discussed at our upcoming Conference of Council in late February so that we can establish how the relationship can be improved and galvanised over coming years.

As a regional solicitor, I can appreciate firsthand the shared value of increasing the engagement between the LIV and our country and suburban law associations.  Strengthening that relationship will not only mean strengthening the LIV but also help secure the sustainable future of our practitioners outside the large CBD practices.

So, that is the New Year's resolution I have set for 2014.  What do members want to see change in 2014?

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Hi Geoff & welcome,

I am hoping for an LIV responsive to its members in 2014. It seems that that's where you're taking us, so I look forward to the year to come.


27/01/2014 9:13:49 PM

Geoff Bowyer
Thank you for taking the time to comment Margot. I agree that we need to continue to do more to educate the public on the value of working with lawyers on matters such as conveyancing – in fact, the LIV has developed a video and fact sheet on this very issue and I encourage you to take a look:

The LIV is aware of the frustrations our members have with banking institutions regarding delays in being able to book settlements and our Property Environmental Law Section committee has had numerous consultations with them on this matter, supported by appropriate correspondence. We have also been a major supporter of the adoption of an electronic conveyancing process which once fully adopted will provide for electronic booking of settlements which should save significant time. We also continuously lobby Consumer Affairs Victoria to ensure that those providing conveyencing services meet the high standards required.

As someone who has operated as a sole practitioner in the past, I appreciate your challenges. We would welcome your input into our PELS committee and I’d be very happy to discuss these matters with you further by phone.
24/01/2014 4:36:49 PM

Morris Margolis
Dear Mr President,

Unfortunately, I find myself in agreement with the observations of Margot Foster, particularly in so far as the Banking Oligarchs are concerned.
24/01/2014 1:43:47 PM

Margot Foster
Geoff and your council. i have long been disappointed about the lack of support the LIV has given to its small practice members. back in the 90s i recall an advert in The Age extolling the virtues, in the form of 20 good reasons, why people should use lawyers and not conveyancers for property work. There has been screaming silence on this topic ever since and as a consequence lawyers have been pushed out of the market by kitchen table operators who have convinced the public (and government) that conveyancing is a transaction that has no value and can be done by anyone. Where has the LIV been in recent years when the banks and lenders have become more and more impossible to deal with as they outsource, complicate, obfuscate and generally stuff up what was once a relatively simple process to organise and book a settlement? i can't tell you how much time i have wasted sitting on the phone waiting for some functionary to tell me they can't book a settlement, or whatever, because the left and right hands of the institution are out of sync. Has the LIV been in conversation with the banks about their processes in the interests of the profession and of efficiency? to my knowledge not. These are but 2 examples of the failure of the organisation to which i pay my fees and if i had more time i would detail more. the erosion of the value of lawyers continues and yet we do so much for free both in our practices and beyond. i look forward to the LIV properly addressing the issues raised in your blog and telling those of us who continue to bother to belong about what changes we might see in the near future.
23/01/2014 12:57:20 PM

Victor Tse
G'Day Mr President, colleague and dear friend. I am very pleased to see in your first blog, you emphasis LIV's strategic plan to deliver greater value for members. Wearing both hats as member and chair of LIV practice section committee, I place significant importance on the value for money for services organised by LIV for members. I look forward to LIV delivering members programs that are good value, not just market competitive, so that members feel it is their privilege. As a member, I personally like to see significant improvements in this area.
23/01/2014 11:13:30 AM

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