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LIV 50 years of membership

LIV 50 years of membership

By LIV Media

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It is a pleasure to be here tonight amongst some doyens of the legal profession.

You are all welcome and honoured, you are an esteemed group who have all contributed to the development of the law and the LIV. I would like to recognise four of your colleagues who the LIV has previously provided Honorary Life Membership for their contribution to the LIV, Past President John Cain; Geoff Gronow; Roger Batrouney and Derry Davine. Roger and Derry are both here tonight.

We are fortunate to have the benefit of your collective wisdom, which spans the heady days of the late 1960s until now, when we are celebrating the LIV’s 160th anniversary.

When we did some research into issues that the legal profession was grappling with in 1968 and 1969 you will not be surprised to know that they included the provision of legal aid and proposals for law reform!

Regulation of the profession was also a topical issue, then as now!

Next month, the LIV will publish historian Simon Smith’s history of the solicitors and the Law Institute of Victoria to coincide with our 160th anniversary.

Dr Smith says the LIV entered the 1960s with an air of optimism. The economy was growing, and the numbers entering the profession reached new heights.

This led inevitably to the need for new premises, and we moved to a former ink factory at 465 Lt Bourke St, which was a precursor to our building at 470 Bourke St, which preceded our current new home where we meet tonight.

LIV Membership continued to grow in the 60s from 1896 in 1965 to 2603 in 1970. I note that we now stand at over 19,000 members!

Another issue for the profession was the advertising conduct rules, which were not abolished for another decade. Back in 1969, the LIV Council determined that the letters in the words “solicitor” or “barrister and solicitor” in signs could be not more than two inches high and a width or not more than one inch. Solicitors wanting to seek an exemption from the rule had to forward applications to the LIV secretary. As you will no doubt recall, the secretary of the era, and in fact for a remarkable 27 years, was Arthur Heymanson.

Your Presidents in 1968 and 1969 were Thomas Molomby and Neville Colbran respectively.

In the December LIJ, President Molomby reported on suburban solicitor meetings, drew attention to the annual Christmas party and the opening of the legal year events; reported on upcoming training courses and encouraged members to contribute to the Journal!

While the topics may not change much, we have seen progress. In 1968 there was a male and a female pay rate, with first year law clerks being paid $45.50 and first-year females $37.30 (which was the same rate as typists, stenographers and switchboard attendants). We now have equal pay, though still a way to go with pay parity and retaining females in our profession.

The LIJ also published in late 1968 a Guide to Supreme Court Rules, Civil Proceedings, which was authored by B. G. Teague of Messrs Corr & Corr, who went on to have quite a distinguished career in the law!

In March 1969, President Molomby wrote in the LIJ that the Premier, Sir Henry Bolte, with Sir Arthur Rylan and the Honourable George Reid visited the Institute and met with members of the Council.

He reported: “On your behalf I assured the Premier that each of us was prepared to play our part in the administration of justice and in legal education, law reform and legal aid”.

That is a message I still carry on behalf of our members to our political leaders.

You have seen, and contributed to, many changes in the law over the past 50 years.

We hope that the LIV has provided you with support and the resources to help you succeed in your careers.

I am heartened by the message received from one member unable to attend this evening who said:

“Members are fortunate to be supported by an Institute that provides advice when needed and encourages compliance to ensure the most important stakeholders… clients …, are treated fairly”.

  • That is a high standard to uphold.
  • We thank you for your service - to your clients, your communities, your local law associations, and the rule of law.
  • We hope you enjoy catching up with old friends and colleagues this evening and thank you to all our members and guests for joining us.


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