We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.1
We often hear the legal profession is founded on collegiality, and this is largely true, although individual members approach the issue differently. Many of us strive to incorporate collegiality into our daily practice, most of us give at least some regard to the concept, and regrettably a small number of practitioners use it as little more than a punchline.
On 28 October, a group of us held one more function for a dearly departed practitioner who absolutely lived collegiality, Richard Gray.
Richard Gray. Photo: Phil Anthony
As noted in the eulogy in Proctor, Richard was taken from us much too soon, and left behind a devastated family and a group of clients Richard helped because they had literally nowhere else to turn.
Richard had always been the first to offer a hand to a mate, a fellow practitioner, and in fact a total stranger, and this inspired in his mates a desire to repay in some small part his loyal friendship, commitment to justice and willingness to help anybody in need.
Richard was the last one to have wanted a sombre memorial of the ‘weeping and rending of garments’ sort, so instead a celebration of all things Richard was held, which doubled as a fundraiser for his family and for the Northside Community Legal Centre. Richard was a strong supporter of community legal centres, and as a Nundah local he had a special place in his heart for this one.
Collegiality of course is not the sole province of the legal profession, and when the call was put out the troops certainly rallied. Richard was a proud graduate of the Ipswich Grammar School class of 1983, and a solid contingent from that cohort responded.
Likewise, those who knew Richard from the QIT Law School (and perhaps more likely, the Campus Club) were well-represented – as were Richard’s team-mates from his many sporting endeavours over the years. Prominent among these groups were those who had spent themselves in a worthy cause alongside Richard in the mighty QIT/QUT Gerbils Rugby League team, and those who had played ‘Golden Oldies’ rugby union with him.
A great night was had by all, with the fine food, fine wine and fine company helped along by a trivia competition focused on Richard, and his favourite tunes belted out by the always awesome Pat Flynn. On top of it all, more than $4000 was raised on the night, to be split evenly between Richard’s family and the Northside Community Legal Centre – a fitting legacy for a man who held family, friends and justice as the most important things in life.
I’d like to express huge thanks to the man who pulled it all together, Richard’s IGS classmate and footy comrade Paul Herbert; thanks also to Philip Anthony and Johnny Warlow from the law school and rugby league groups, who contributed greatly to the success of the night.
The fact that so many people pulled together so quickly in this time of need is a testament to the value of collegiality – in the halls of learning, on the sporting fields and in our mostly noble profession.
Richard had a smile, a handshake and a joke for everyone he met, and it made him a plethora of life-long friends; there’s a bit in that for all of us I reckon.
1 The St Crispin’s Day speech, Henry V, by William Shakespeare, Act IV Scene iii