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LIV Awards opening remarks

LIV Awards opening remarks

By Steven Sapountsis

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Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

Welcome to this wonderful venue to celebrate the achievements of some of our best, brightest and most committed in the legal profession.

First though, I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional custodians of the lands on which we meet today; the peoples of the Kulin Nation. I offer my respects to their elders past and present.

I have been asked to mention that we are live tweeting. You can tweet your thoughts about the awards, or tweet photos of the action, by using the LIV Awards hashtag.

Some parts of the awards will also be live video-streamed on the Young Lawyers Facebook page.

Please tell the events team if you do not wish to be photographed or videoed.

This year’s awards are proudly supported by our Platinum Sponsor, PEXA.

PEXA is an online property exchange that allows lawyers and conveyancers to electronically lodge Land Registry documents, and complete Financial Settlement. I’d like to thank PEXA for their invaluable contribution in helping us hold these important events for Victoria’s legal community.

And now – while every one of you here tonight is special, please let me acknowledge particularly:

  • Chief Magistrate , Peter Lauristen
  • Former deputy chief magistrate Robert (Bob) Kumar
  • Federal Circuit  Court Judge Josh Wilson
  • Managing director of Victoria Legal Aid, Mr Bevan Warner
  • Mr Bayrem Aktepe , President of the Islamic Council of Victoria
  • Past presidents of the Law Institute:
    • Mr Michael Holcroft
    • Dr Gordon Hughes
    • Ms Katie Miller
    • Mr Reynah Tang
    • Mr Mark Woods 

President of the LIV Young Lawyer’s section, Ms Linda Rayment

Past Awards recipients 

Our  CEO, Ms Nerida Wallace and

Fellow members of Council

I would like also to remember absent friends - especially past president Mr David Denby  who was president in 1993-94 and who passed away in March.

David was a member of the current LIV Awards Committee, the committee that oversees the awards process, and he would have loved to have been here tonight.

[Thank the LIV staff for organising]

The Law Institute of Victoria Awards is our night to acknowledge the great work being done by so many lawyers in this state.

We are members of a noble profession that provides a vital service to our clients – whether it be in private, public or community practice.

Serving “well and honestly” are the minimum requirements for a lawyer. But we know that, in practice, many of our friends, colleagues and even our opponents in the profession perform well beyond those minimum requirements.

The LIV Awards go some way to publically recognising those who go beyond the call of duty in that role.

Tonight we’re presenting 14 awards, as well as a number of Certificates of Service, that applaud those individuals and organisations whose exemplary service sets them apart from the everyday.

They are the young lawyers who are already showing their potential as future experts or leaders. They are the law firms – in the city, suburbs and regional areas – which provide exceptional service to clients in complex or high stakes work, and who are working towards making their workplaces, and the profession, relevant and inclusive.

They are also those in community legal services or other pro-bono practice who work tirelessly and with little or no financial reward to improve access to justice for the most vulnerable Victorians.

I have on other occasions sought to remind anyone who would listen of the tremendous contribution that lawyers make in the provision of pro-bono legal services.

However, the profession can only do so much and there remains a pressing need for governments - especially at the Federal level -  to make sure all Australians get a fair go in their travails with the legal system.

That is why the Law Institute has joined the current campaign by the Law Council of Australia to advocate for increased legal aid and community legal centre funding. We will continue with that work.

And now, on to the awards.

The awards are only possible because of the work of the LIV, the awards committee and the various judging panels. Thank you to the members of the committee who have been working for months to make tonight happen – and thank you too, to the judges of tonight’s awards.

Best of luck to all of the finalists.

I’d now like to hand over to the master of ceremonies for tonight, Mr Jon Faine.

As some of you may know, before he became a radio presenter, Jon Faine was a lawyer. He worked as an intern at the Springvale Legal Centre – as so many bright young Monash law graduates did at the time – and later at the Fitzroy Legal Service. He also produced and hosted the Law Report on Radio National for seven years before becoming the host of ABC 774’s morning program.

Please join me in welcoming Jon Faine to the stage.

Remain on stage to assist with handing out awards

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