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Revered, reserved and reticent Renaissance man: QLS acknowledges leaders of the profession

As time ticks over to mark 50 years of dedicated service as one of Queensland’s leading solicitors–a cursory glance over Greg Vickery’s achievements shows they are not only exhaustive, but reflect an individual who is a genuine Renaissance man.

His list of accomplishments in the legal profession alone is sufficient to fill a hefty sized leather-bound book, but it is the depth, diversity and generosity of time and energy he has dedicated to the wider community that makes Greg a genuine polymath.

Since being admitted as a solicitor in Queensland in 1970, a snapshot of Greg’s staggering list of accomplishments include:

  • Serving on numerous boards and committees including nine years on the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee–the prestigious committee that advised Treasury on national company and market law reforms;
  • Red Cross volunteer for more than 40 years and between 2011 and 2015 held one of the top three positions in the Red Cross internationally – as the Chair of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, a committee he remains a member of–one of the only two Australians to ever hold this significant position;
  • Long-time supporter of Opera Queensland, Queensland Theatre, Queensland Ballet, Camerata of St John, Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble and 4MBS Classic FM Radio;
  • Significant commitment to legal ethics and the current Chair of the Law Council of Australia’s Business & Human Rights Committee;
  • Queensland Law Society President (1989-1990);
  • Was for seven years (until 2006) the Honorary Consul for Indonesia in Queensland and to this day remains an active member of the Australian Indonesia Business Council;
  • One of the founders of the International YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association)
  • Was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (2013) for his governance roles in humanitarian aid organisations; and is
  • Currently Special Counsel at legal firm Norton Rose Fulbright.

There is little doubt Greg Vickery has contributed greatly in both his professional capacity and as an all-round humanitarian over the past half century.

His significant contribution to the legal profession was recognised last night with the awarding of the Queensland Law Society’s 50-year pin during the Society’s annual President’s Dinner at Brisbane’s Olive & Angelo restaurant.
The dinner was attended by 20 former Presidents and included now District Court Judge Ray Rinaudo, current President Luke Murphy and 2021 President Elizabeth Shearer.

While his achievements are substantial, Greg was particularly modest, self-effacing and pretty matter-of-fact about his life’s achievements when he sat down for coffee and chat with QLS Proctor this week.

“I came to the law at a time when UQ (University of Queensland–then the only law school in the state) only graduated 40 students and everybody got a job,’’ he said.

“I got an interview (with partners of two firms) because my dad, who was in insurance, knew both of them. I knew straight away they were both offering me a job and I remember thinking… ‘these are extraordinary times.’

“I’d been admitted one year and was doing my articles when I was offered a partnership. So I was partner at the age of 25. None of that happens these days.’’

While his career has reached dizzying heights, Mr Vickery attributes some of his success and motivation to his potential for laziness.

“I really like multi-tasking. In fact I like to stay busy,’’ he told Proctor.
“Essentially I can be really lazy and if you give me one thing to do I could take all day getting around to it. You give me 40 things to do I will start planning the day and I’ll get them all done.

“As many people will know, I like to have a clean desk. I’ll often have people come in and say ‘where is your in-tray?’ and I will say ‘put it in front of me and I will do it today or tonight’.’’

“As my former managing partner used to say quite often–and this resonated with me–there are only two kinds of lawyers in this world: the quick and the dead. Essentially he was saying to do a good job slowly was not appreciated.’’

And there is no sign of Greg Vickery slowing up soon, nor a lack of firms wanting to secure his skills.

“About four years ago when had I just turned 70, I received a call at work from recruiters asking me if I would be interested in a position at another law firm,’’ he said.

“My first response was very ageist as I said: ‘Do you know how old I am?’
Then I provided the correct response and said the firm I have been with for almost 50 years had been so friendly, supportive and good to me that I would feel it greatly disloyal to go elsewhere at this stage of my career.’’

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