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AG Jill Hennessy opens new LIV home

 AG Jill Hennessy opens new LIV home

By Carolyn Ford

A New Home Workplace 


State Attorney General Jill Hennessy officially opened the new home of the LIV at 140 William St on April 4. Ms Hennessy said she was greatly honoured to be part of the celebration and congratulated the LIV on its “incredibly beautiful” premises in the heart of the legal precinct. “To Stuart [Webb, LIV president] and your team, I want to congratulate you on this new building, it is incredibly beautiful. The LIV has obviously worked hard in making the decision around what their future will look like and get that match between the infrastructure and purpose and vision,” Ms Hennessy said. “The only thing I would have quibbled about is having the beautiful view down to Spring St. Be careful what you wish for. The view is not always a pretty one,” Ms Hennessy joked. “My advice is to look at the non-Spring St view and keep your eye firmly on the legal precinct as well. “I take off my hat to your staff and team for what has no doubt been an incredibly demanding process to build this beautiful space. “I do just want to acknowledge the genius of starting a Bread and Cheese Club as the genesis of the LIV and I think that reflects finely upon the profession,” she said, noting that at a quarterly meeting of the fledgling organisation in 1868, only three people turned up and it was shortly thereafter adjourned. “As you contemplate the culture you want here, both as an organisation but also for your members, don’t forget the importance of bread and cheese and short meetings.” The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by 20 past presidents of the LIV, regional and suburban law association representatives, LIV section chairs as well as legal and political VIPs. Guests had an opportunity to tour the office – members on 12, staff on 13 – which, Mr Webb said, was all about connecting with members. “Our goal is to provide a comfortable space for our members to conduct business, learn, and relax, as well as modern facilities for our staff. “We want members to drop in next time they are in the neighbourhood and treat the place like a home away from home” Mr Webb said, adding the coffee was complimentary and good. The new historical timeline on a wall of the members’ floor was also on display. The installation showcases significant moments in the Victorian legal profession and that of the LIV, dating from the arrival of Melbourne’s first solicitor Joseph Gellibrand. There is also an interactive screen profiling every LIV president since the organisation’s humble beginnings in 1859 with David Ogilvy at the helm. The opening signals a new era for the LIV, which is the oldest law society in Australia and celebrates its 160th anniversary this year. “Since our early days the LIV has focussed on maintaining standards and preserving practice areas for the profession, as well as advocating justice for all,” said Mr Webb. “The buildings might have come and gone … but our purpose has remained constant. “In 2019 we represent over 19,000 lawyers and people working in the legal profession. We are the peak membership body for the profession in this state and the leading voice for the legal profession. “With our members we advocate for justice for all and promote excellence in the practice of law. Our purpose is to be the trusted voice of our members, respected for delivering value to members, while driving excellence in the profession and steadfast in safeguarding the rule of law on behalf of the community.”

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