The establishment of the Legal Services Commission in 2004 was a momentous event for Queensland Law Society, which had previously been solely responsible for the regulation of Queensland solicitors.
With a period of both internal and external upheaval, including other changes prompted by the introduction of the Legal Profession Act, then Attorney-General Rod Welford suggested to QLS President Glenn Ferguson that he could consider extending his term in office to assist in the transition period.
“He indicated it would be ideal for me to stay on, and the Council supported that to ensure a smooth transition whilst dealing with all the relevant stakeholders,” Glenn said.
This resulted in the unusual distinction of a 24-month presidency from July 2003 to June 2005, instead of the regular 12-month term.
“The biggest issue at that time was definitely the Legal Profession Act, which was a quantum change for the role of the QLS, including in the role professional discipline etc.,” Glenn said. “Another big issue was bedding down our insurance program, which as a profession we took over from 2001 as QLSI (now Lexon). I was involved in that on the Executive and later as President.
“And there was also LAWASIA downunder 2005 in March of that year, which was a massive event incorporating the annual QLS Symposium, the 19th LAWASIA Biennial Conference, the Conference of Chief Justices of Asia and the Pacific, a meeting of Australia’s Attorneys-General, the Law Council’s Australian Legal Convention and other major meetings.”
However, Glenn’s favourite memory of his time in office is quite simple.
“It was meeting all the members and the many and varied stakeholders,” he said. “QLS was a respected professional organisation and recognised both nationally and internationally.
“Our relationships with the judiciary and the Bar were very strong and collegiate. I also very much enjoyed the policy and advocacy role and the work done in that space.”
In 2010, Glenn became President of the Law Council President, a role he saw as markedly different.
“The Law Council was a very different role as you are very much focused on the national and international picture,” he said. “I was lucky to serve on a fantastic executive and had wonderful relationships with all the constituent bodies throughout the country. It was an incredibly rewarding role.”
Glenn says that legal practice is now somewhat different to what it was during his presidency.
“I think the pace of practice and the challenges in an ever-changing world, from both a commercial and societal perspective, are onerous,” he said. “There are very different challenges than 20 years ago, but as lawyers we must adapt and rise to those challenges.”
For his service, Glenn was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2015 and today is Managing Director of the law firm, fc lawyers (formerly Ferguson Cannon Lawyers), with offices in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Sydney. He is also a notary public.
“I still love the practice of law,” he said. “In our practice we have a saying, ‘Our clients are our friends and our friends are our clients’.
“My role now is very much in the management, but I still enjoy the interaction with clients and the community, as we have a strong focus in that area.”