QLS President: Mental health a most serious issue for the profession

Queensland Law Society 2022 President Kara Thomson has flagged mental health as one of the most serious issues confronting the state’s legal profession.

Ms Thomson, in her QLS 2021/22 annual report President’s review, said mental health continued to be a significant concern for legal practitioners.

Mental health was one of a myriad topics raised by Ms Thomson in her review – including the need for the profession to continue to support inclusion and diversity, as well as meaningful engagement with First Nations people.

The 222-page QLS 2021-22 annual report was tabled in Queensland Parliament last week.

“The changing needs of the profession, societal expectations and challenges posed by the pandemic have resulted in pressures for the profession which have taken their toll and continue to linger,” Ms Thomson said.

“In addition to all of the resources available to members regarding their practising obligations, the Society has a well-established mental health and wellbeing workgroup.


“Our Practice Management Course is the only course of its kind that has a mandatory requirement for practitioners to complete a unit on mental health and leading wellbeing in the workplace.

“We provide ongoing guidance on ethical issues and practice support through our Ethics and Practice Centre. We offer LawCare – a confidential, personal and professional support service for our members, your staff and your immediate family members.

“These resources, and many more, are tailored to ensure, as best we can, that the Society is able to assist our members navigate mental health issues and ensure a sustainable and viable practice.”

On the topic of inclusion and diversity, Ms Thomas said QLS had been working for meaningful engagement with our First Nations people in the design and operation of a culturally competent justice system – one which walks with our First Nations people.

“Lawyers have powerful voices, advocating for those who are most vulnerable,” Ms Thomson said.

“As a Law Society we have a collective voice too which is often called upon by stakeholders. We do advocacy work with our specialist committees on legal policy issues trying to defend the rule of law, respect fundamental legislative principles and generally bring about good law.


As an example, Ms Thomson said QLS and national federal law body the Law Council of Australia participated in the federal election by giving a voice to matters members considered important.

“We collaborated and put out Call to Parties documents listing some of the priority issues that our committees and our members told us were important to them, the legal profession and community,” she said. “The major parties responded and gave us and the Law Council commitments.

“We had a voice. We were seen as legitimate and authoritative. We could be heard.

“Not everyone in our community is in such a position. For those people, lawyers have a key role to play in giving them a voice.

“The voice of our First Nations people is a priority. The QLS First Nations Legal Policy Committee endorses the Uluru Statement from the Heart and actively advocates for its implementation.

“The Statement from the Heart seeks a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution and a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making and truth-telling.


“Finally this issue may be on the table and there can be a proper discussion about what the statement calls the torment of powerlessness.

“Having a voice, making agreements, telling the truth – these are concepts lawyers are very familiar with and are the very basis of what we do and who we are. It’s not really so very far, but perhaps if our nation is brave, we can find a voice and make change. This is something I continue to advocate for in my time as President and something I believe needs to be a focus in coming years.”

Ms Thomson said QLS would continue to support this type of ongoing inclusion and diversity.

“The Society has been working for meaningful engagement with our First Nations people in the design and operation of a culturally competent justice system – one which walks with our First Nations people,” she said.

“We have committed to our Cultural Outreach Strategy following on from our Reconciliation Action Plan and included the voice of First Nations people in our policy committees, our workforce and our education.

“We see these partnering opportunities as invaluable. We have too few First Nations members and we see these steps as vital to ensuring adequate representation of First Nations lawyers in the profession and to ensuring First Nations community members are represented and have access to lawyers who understand their cultural needs.”


Read the QLS annual report.

Access LawCare.

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One Response

  1. The Queensland Law Society should stop purporting to be a representative of its members if it insists on advocating for a change to our nation’s constitution. The ongoing political activism by the QLS demonstrates the QLS’s willingness to support left-progressive political campaigns despite the differing views and interests of its members.

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