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Practice support boost for members

Practice support boost for members

By Law Institute of Victoria

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2019-2020 practice support priorities

  • Trust consulting service – we go to you
  • Online learning – anywhere, anytime
  • New website – easy access to information, products and services
  • Ethics expanded – we answer your questions
  • CPD refresh – keeping members up to date on key practice areas
  • Referrals focus
  • Recognition of member commitment to the LIV
  • Communications – listening to you and telling you what we are doing
  • Wellbeing programs – helping practitioners manage

Close to 1000 members have responded to a survey outlining what they want from Victoria’s peak legal body.

A major survey of members is helping drive the LIV’s future focus to improve member services.

The LIV is dedicated to providing resources and services to support practitioners and help members stay current and connected. To honour that commitment, the LIV asked members, “what do you need?”, “what is your perception of the LIV?”, “what value does it provide?”

Big picture objectives of the survey were engaging members, informing the new strategic direction of the LIV (see May LIJ, p20) and continuing to uphold public confidence in the LIV as the peak body for the legal profession in Victoria.

Close to 1000 LIV members from across the Victorian legal profession responded to the survey conducted in late 2018. Immersive interviews were also done with LIV staff.

Approximately equal numbers of male and female members of all ages from city, suburban and regional areas responded. They were sole practitioners, corporate counsel, members of the judiciary, lawyers in private practice, with government, community legal centres and at every career stage, from students to managing partners to members who have retired.

The message was clear – the LIV is valued, there is great loyalty towards it, but there is room for improvement. In satisfaction and value, members want and expect the LIV to do better.

Members rated satisfaction [6.09 out of 10] with LIV higher than they rated value (5.53 out of 10) of membership. Full members were less satisfied than other groups. Overall, satisfaction and value declined over the course of membership tenure.

Reputation was by far the biggest area that influenced and determined a member’s satisfaction, with acting in members best interests and being a trustworthy organisation the leading indicators.

This was followed by contact experience, professional development, compliance and practice management support and resources, products and services.

Comments by members questioned the “passion” with which the LIV represented its members and their interests. They expressed frustration at making contact with LIV staff in person or by phone or obtaining information or advice. Better notes for CPD events were asked for, as well as CPD for specific areas of practice within various areas of law. It was very important, members said, that the LIV knows what changes in law are coming up and guides practitioners in dealing with them. The LIJ was the most widely used LIV resource.

Value was driven by joining/renewing, followed by advocacy, reputation, compliance and practice management support and professional development.

Some members questioned benefits described as not well defined, an offering that only met the needs of certain types of lawyers and a membership fee that was hard to justify given additional fees to access services.

The survey was a scorecard, a snapshot of a moment in time, Mr Awty said. “We want to know how members rate us. We need to understand what drives satisfaction with the LIV.

"We accept we need to be better. That's why we have launched a new strategy focused on members, opened a state of the art office and held membership fees, among other initiatives.

“We are above the pass mark but there is room for improvement. We don’t want to just pass. We want members to be proud and engaged and see us as a safe harbour when there are concerns about ethics, wellbeing or practice support."

Mr Awty said the Victorian legal profession was a broad church and the challenge was to keep as many members satisfied as possible with available resources.

“We need to be accountable that we are investing in the right areas, giving you what you need within the LIV’s capabilities. We will invest in priorities.

“We need to leverage the common threads but also support the differences and unique needs of different practitioners.

“Some changes needed won’t happen overnight but this is about the opportunity for long-term future sustainability. The LIV has been here for 160 years. We are its custodians today. Our job is to ensure a successful, sustainable future as a strong, vibrant and respected force to be reckoned with.”

For ongoing responsiveness, a member survey will be done annually. “This will tell us how we are doing, and more broadly enable the LIV Council and team to continue to hone and deliver what members need.

“Please keep the feedback coming – whether it be in our annual survey or directly to me aawty@liv.asn.au or 9607 9367. We are listening to you and acting on what you tell us.” 

 


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