Sun, surf, sand and the ’70s to Queensland legal icons: QLS acknowledges leaders of the profession

Left to right - William Cusack, Paul Hopgood, Joe Ganim, Noel Barbi
Left to right - William Cusack, Paul Hopgood, Joe Ganim, Noel Barbi

They are considered Queensland legal royalty – but many in the profession would be unaware these two mates devised plans for their now renowned firm sitting on the sand of the Gold Coast’s glitter-strip almost a half-century ago.

The two highly-respected and revered identities of the legal profession, Paul Hopgood and Joe Ganim, were last night (Thursday 11 November) recognised for their 50-year contribution to the state’s legal profession and Queensland Law Society membership.

QLS President Luke Murphy presented the pair and 14 other Society members with pins commemorating their membership during a ceremony at Brisbane’s Blackbird Bar and Grill.

“(All) pin recipients are leaders of the legal profession who have made significant contributions over decades to the Court, their clients, colleagues and communities,’’ Mr Murphy said.

As the two named partners of HopgoodGanim Lawyers the pair have long been pioneers in the law and in their day were the first firm in Queensland to install a “fax machine’’.

However, the amazing story of how the firm really began started in 1973 when Joe and Paul returned from a three month jaunt through Europe and they pondered their future while lazing on the beach at Surfers Paradise.

Proctor, with assistance from Mr Ganim and Mr Hopgood’s colleagues, learned: “Once they got back to Australia, the pair realised that even though they were both at the top of their game in their respective firms, enjoying all the trappings of success, they could take better control of their careers and their destinies by going out on their own.’’

“Joe and Paul were sitting on the beach at Surfers Paradise when they began thinking seriously about starting their own firm.

“Using a stick to draw a balance sheet in the sand, they discussed how much money they would need for their first year in business, and other logistics of starting their own firm.

“Joe resigned from his job and rented a single room in Perry House (now heritage listed Albert Street apartments) to start the business. Paul joined Joe one month later, in August 1974.’’

The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, the firm has close to 300 people across Brisbane and Perth and is a full service commercial practice and home to one of Australia’s leading private client and family law practices.

Proctor was told the pair continue to be regular visitors to the firm’s Brisbane office.

“It is fair to say we all know when they’re here and enjoy the laughter that tends to follow them around the office,’’ one colleague said.

“They always were very serious about the law but didn’t ever take themselves too seriously which is one of the refreshingly unique traits of the firm that remains to this day.”

Supreme Court judge and Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal President Justice Martin Daubney AM, who spoke at the ceremony, paid tribute to the pair for more than five decades of outstanding professional leadership.

“For Paul Hopgood and Joe Ganim, this anniversary is not simply about longevity in the law – although it must immediately be acknowledged that the fact that their eponymous firm has for so many years occupied a leading place in the legal profession in this State and is itself a testament to their foresight, expertise and leadership,” Justice Daubney told Proctor.

“This is a celebration of lives fully lived as professional and community leaders.

“In their own specialist practices and through the services offered by their firm, Paul and Joe have been dedicated and innovative in serving the interests of their clients while never wavering from the best traditions of the profession.

“Each of them has used his well-earned reputation as a leader in his field to maintain and protect the rule of law.

“Each of them has been demonstrably successful in practice and generous in support of the profession and the wider community.

“In short, for the last 50 years, Paul and Joe have each embodied the professional ideal of public service.

Other members presented with 50-year pin last night included Noel Barbi, NR Barbi Solicitor, and William Cusack, Lillas & Loel Lawyers.

Solicitors who received their 25-year membership pin were Glen Cranny, Zinta Harris, Dan Howard, Vincent Kartelo, Ian Lockhart, Ross Moschella, Andrew Nicholson, Shane Roberts, Peter Scanlan, Michelle Taylor and Paul Venus.

QLS Chief Executive Office Rolf Moses said the evening was one of the first Society member events that could be staged since the COVID-19 lockdown in March.

“It is a celebration of leaders of the profession and gives thanks to those who have dedicated valuable time and energy to the Society and legal community as a whole, particularly during this challenging and extraordinary year,’’ Mr Moses said.

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