Some 300 lawyers and distinguished guests gathered tonight in Brisbane for the Queensland Law Society Legal Profession Dinner – continuing its annual tradition of recognising honorary QLS members and revealing the winner of the QLS President’s Medal.
Honorary memberships are offered to those in the profession who have dedicated 50 years of service and/or have been nominated to the QLS Council as having made an outstanding contribution to the Queensland profession.
With QLS CEO Rolf Moses as MC this evening, QLS President Chloé Kopilović presented honorary memberships to five QLS members who have committed 50 years or more – Keith Bow, Peter Challen, Dr John de Groot, Michael Klug AM and Paul Sayer.
From left: Paul Sayer, Peter Challen, Dr John de Groot, Michael Klug AM and Keith Bow with Chloé Kopilović
Other longstanding members receiving their honorary membership of the Society this year include Brian Bartley, Dennis Boucher, James Creagh, David Grace OAM, Vince Hefferan, Geoffrey Hyland, Michael Kyle OAM, Robert Lehn, Alex Mackay, Iain Marshall, Virgil Power and Christopher Toogood.
Ms Kopilović later presented Page Provan Director Stephen Page with the 2023 QLS President’s Medal, an award which recognises an experienced legal practitioner who has demonstrated significant service to the legal profession and wider community.
Mr Moses told guests that Mr Page had made the decision to specialise in family law in 1988 and is today widely considered as one of Australia’s leading surrogacy lawyers. He has advised in more than 1800 surrogacy cases for clients in Australia and in more than 30 countries overseas.
Stephen Page receives the QLS President’s Medal
“It is deeply humbling and a great honour to receive this award,” Mr Page told the audience at tonight’s dinner. “I want to acknowledge those who I have worked with and for over the last 30 years or so – including my husband Mitchell, my partner Bruce Provan, my colleagues Kay Feeney & Guy Waterman and those colleagues both near and far who supported my nomination.”
Looking to the year ahead, Ms Kopilović in her presidential address reflected on the practice of law in the current climate and emphasised the ongoing importance of friendship and mentorship.
“While we have enjoyed a collegiate generation, a different time has arrived,” Ms Kopilović said. “There will be graduates joining our profession who have not met a single fellow law student throughout their degree because of lockdowns and advances in technology.
“What does this mean for our profession? A changing landscape. It means that without (your help), there may well be a generation of lawyers that lack the collegiality we have all had the benefit of. And ultimately, this impacts the next generation of lawyers as they navigate their careers and represent their clients.
Ms Kopilović addresses attendees at the Legal Profession Dinner
“I would like to call on everyone to pay attention to the small things, take the opportunity to introduce yourself to someone new, to catch up with a colleague. For all early career lawyers, find yourself a mentor. For all our experienced practitioners, take the opportunity to impart some of your wisdom.
“One of the greatest gifts we can impart is our time. By investing in their future, we are in turn investing in the future of our profession.”
Tonight’s event, sponsored by PEXA, also featured an address from Law Council of Australia President Luke Murphy and concluded with a toast to the profession led by Chief Justice Helen Bowskill.