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Annual General Meeting LIV President's Address

Annual General Meeting LIV President's Address

By LIV Media


It has been a momentous year – for me personally as your President, and also for our organisation.

So much has been accomplished that places the LIV at the heart of our profession.

We left our home of 40 years to set up in an environment more conducive to cooperative working, communicating with colleagues across the state in premises that allow for proper discussion of law, work-life balance and wellbeing.

The LIV Council is delighted with the facilities our new home provides for our members, and I throughout the year I have encouraged all to visit next time they are in the legal precinct.

I have been proud to see the LIV and its members leading on issues that affect our profession and our community.

We have called out sexual harassment in our workplaces. Brave individuals have stepped up and told of their experiences, and responsive firms have developed policies with teeth to enforce penalties for breaches. The LIV has been central to facilitating these discussions, and will promote policies that all firms can use in their workplace.

And we need to have these effective policies as our workplaces change. A new generation of lawyers is demanding that we work differently, with technology, flexibility and awareness key to being seen as employers of choice.

We have seen the demographic of lawyers shift – there are now more female lawyers than male lawyers in Victoria. The next step is to ensure there is an equitable number of partners and leaders of organisations reflecting the current diverse makeup of our profession.

There have been challenges to face, as the public’s faith in the justice system has been questioned with high profile inquiries and judgments.

The public is more conscious than ever of the role and responsibilities of the courts, judges, prosecutors and lawyers who work with them.

We have spoken strongly on behalf of the profession, to demonstrate the value lawyers provide to our community every day.

We will never allow the aberrant behaviour of the few to define our profession. It is the exemplary practice of the many that defines us and gives us our privileged position as trusted advisers to our clients, and faithful officers of the court.

I have seen many examples of the selfless nature of our profession during this year, and it makes me proud to be one of you.

The LIV Council has been busy. We consulted widely before settling the Strategic Plan for 2019-2022. The plan is focused on giving value for membership, assisting members across the lifetime of their practice, speaking on your behalf and ensuring the Victorian community has a fair and just society through our advocacy on important policy discussions.

We have commenced a governance review of the LIV to ensure that how we govern ourselves is fit for purpose and delivers the mix of experience and skills for governance that a modern professional member association requires now and into the future. We are excited by the opportunities this provides.

Having sold our old home, we have had to be diligent in ensuring the intergenerational capital that has been made available from the sale is invested wisely. We developed an investment strategy, available on our website, and work closely with respected financial advisers Koda Capital to grow the investment.

I would like to thank the staff for their assiduous work on behalf of the LIV. The supportive and inclusive work culture that has been fostered this year is testament to the commitment LIV staff have to this organisation.

We have a new CEO and team of senior managers, who have brought a wealth of expertise from diverse backgrounds to work at the LIV to provide services and support our members seek.

Our sections, committees and affiliated regional and suburban law associations have continued to provide lawyers with opportunities to meet, develop policy and law, and socialise with colleagues.

We are now sought out for comment on legal policy and administrative law matters by Government, the opposition, the Department of Justice and Community Safety and relevant agencies who value the insight our members provide from the coalface, and lessons learned from experiencing the system. Only yesterday we have a very engaging meeting with Tony North of the VLRC to discuss laws that we believe need to be reformed in a modern and vibrant Victoria

I thank all who have taken part in our activities and the LIV looks forward to continuing to work with you in the future.

The LIV Council is made up of 18 women and men who volunteer their time and energy to ensure the organisation functions as well as it can.

There have been challenges faced and robust discussions over the past year, but we have made decisions that have far reaching benefits for the LIV. I thank each of them for the time and effort that they have provided on LIV’s behalf.

I am honoured to celebrate the LIV’s 160th anniversary this year, reflecting on the history of the oldest legal professional association in the country.

But I am equally excited with the opportunities that lie ahead of us all. We will continue to seek improvement in the way we work across the board, consulting, leading and supporting worthy initiatives.

It is an exciting time to be involved with the professional association for lawyers in Victoria.

Thank you to all who have shared my journey.

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