Queensland Law Society (QLS) has long recognised the importance of our early career lawyers. It has provided resources, including dedicated professional development, networking and social events and an Early Career Lawyers committee so that members from this segment could voice their concerns and advocate on behalf of their colleagues and practice resources.
I joined the Early Career Lawyers (ECL) committee in 2017. As a ‘regional’ practitioner at a small, full-service firm, I didn’t have access to all the resources, support and training available to some of my colleagues who went on to graduate or associate roles. While I had two incredible mentors, I always felt that there was more that I could learn to be a better advocate. Little did I realise that the segment I wanted to advocate for wasn’t the client walking through the door — but the people working behind it.
Luck and opportunity collided when, through my involvement with the ECL Committee, I became aware of a role available at QLS in the Professional Development team. Continuing personal and professional development is a non-negotiable for me so the opportunity to create products which help educate the legal profession with the support of the peak professional body was a no-brainer.
The establishment of this new role is a testament to the dedication of QLS to better resource our future lawyers and leaders. I am excited to collaborate with universities across Queensland to drive future-focused engagement and innovation initiatives to better serve the changing needs of practitioners. I’m also excited to be working to bridge the training and competency gap between law school and law firm.
With the support of CEO Rolf Moses, QLS council and key internal stakeholders such as our new Manager, Membership and Partnerships, Hayley Angell and QLS Ethics and Practice Director Stafford Shepherd (whose passion for the well-being of profession and practitioners mirrors my own), this role has been created to be your partner in law from law school to law practice (whatever that may look like).
In the past few months, we have established a new QLS Student Membership program, which will build deeper engagement with universities and re-imagine future lawyer recruitment including the QLS Legal Careers Expo. The existing ECL committee has been elevated to a policy committee and we are working towards establishing a democratically elected (by peers, for peers) ‘Future Leaders Council’ which will provide yet another platform for the next generation to advocate the changes concerning the legal profession.
I would like to thank and congratulate QLS for their commitment to the future of the legal profession through the establishment of this role and make the following promise:*
I will listen and care. I will advocate for our students, our early career lawyers and those who may not have the means to advocate for themselves. I will challenge the systems and discourses that disadvantage or marginalise. I will help build bridges for success and continuity for the profession. I will champion diversity and inclusion because our profession is diverse and together we are stronger. I will do this because beyond my employment with QLS is my collegiality with the legal profession.
I will do this because you’ve given me the honour and privilege of doing so.
If you wish to get involved or have ideas on how we can help foster good lawyers, good law and public good, please do not hesitate to contact me.
*inspired by Yasmin Murray, Secretary, Pride in Law
Relationship Manager — Future Lawyers, Future Leaders