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Call for bushfire disaster legal help

Call for bushfire disaster legal help


The LIV is a partner in Disaster Legal Help Victoria and once again lawyers are responding generously to calls for help.

My first column brings mixed emotions as the Victorian community has again been struck by devastating bushfires. Our thoughts are with those directly affected, fire fighters, emergency workers and all Victorians impacted by the fires.

The LIV is a partner in Disaster Legal Help Victoria (DLHV), part of a coordinated response team with Victoria Legal Aid, Justice Connect, Federation of Community Legal Centres and the Victorian Bar to assist those affected. In early January, I wrote to members seeking expressions of interest to provide pro bono legal support which was met with an overwhelming response and I thank you for your continued support of the Victorian community. If you would like to assist, please visit the LIV’s website to complete an expression of interest form. Legal assistance and support (in areas including insurance, credit, tenancy and general legal issues) will be needed over many weeks and months as the recovery process continues (see

Our profession is a broad and diverse community of lawyers, from government and in-house, to community legal centres, large city law firms and our suburban and regional practitioners. The LIV strives to represent all of you and assist you in your careers.

In my career I have worked in government, the regions, large city firms and more recently run a small suburban practice. I understand the particular challenges small practices face every day, with the administrative and regulatory requirements of running a practice, before you can even start practising the areas of law you love. I understand the difficulties our young and graduate lawyers face in finding jobs, developing their careers and networks, and navigating the constant pressures of social media and profile-raising to achieve the next stage of their careers.

I am a strong believer in listening to your needs and understanding the daily challenges you face in your practices. I will work hard to provide value and a sense of belonging to our members. I value our regional practitioners who are strong contributors to our profession. We must ensure those practitioners are supported and feel part of the LIV family.

I recognise that we need to be a passionate voice for the profession and ensure we are consulted, respected and listened to when government seeks our views on legislative change.

Over the past 18 months, we have worked to ensure our members feel valued and receive value from us. We have introduced new and enhanced tools to support members in their practices such as the LIV Practice Support line and the Practice Management Consultancy Service. But value also comes in being a strong, respected voice for the profession and advocating to the community and government on issues that are important to us. To do this, we need your continued support through our 12 sections and 80 committees, to which members generously volunteer their time to provide high quality ideas and submissions, networking and a sense of collegiality and belonging.

We are essential to the community we serve and a respected voice to government. We are ready to uphold the rule of law, provide access to justice and support each other. We must ensure the community understands the benefits of instructing highly trained, ethical, regulated and professional lawyers. The Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants has diluted this message and we must ensure our professionalism and integrity remain robust. I will work hard to deliver this message to the community on behalf of the profession.

We now represent a profession that has more women than men, but we have more work to do to ensure women stay in the profession and reach senior levels. I am committed to promoting gender diversity this year and beyond.

As Victorians, we should be proud of our vibrant multicultural society which should be reflected in our profession at all levels. To do this, we must better understand the diverse makeup of our profession so that we are able to develop effective initiatives to promote more diverse workplaces and more accessible services for the whole community.

I am filled with hope for 2020 and proud to represent the LIV’s 19,000 members. I look forward to meeting and listening to you throughout the year. We are stronger together.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the life’s work of the late John Cain, as others do in this edition. Reforms achieved by the one-time president of the LIV have improved the lives of all Victorians. Our thoughts are with the Cain family.

Sam Pandya
LIV President

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