Leading surrogacy lawyer Stephen Page know first-hand the honour and recognition the Queensland Law Society (QLS) President’s Medal brings to the winner.
The Director of Page Provan won last year’s award which is judged on service to the community, legal competence and personal integrity.
Stephen said it was “extraordinary” to receive the Society’s highest accolade and “being found to be worthy by five former Presidents of the Society to have met these exacting standards”.
“For me that was deeply humbling – that these leaders of the profession considered that I had met these exacting standards. Receiving this in front of all the great and the good, including about 300 colleagues, was extremely moving,” he said.
Nominations are now open for the 2024 medal and Stephen encourages others to nominate colleagues, even though there is work in putting the application together.
“Anyone who knows a colleague who is doing something unique, different to the norm, above and beyond, who is making a difference by changing the law or changing people’s lives – and sometimes both – should consider nominating them for the President’s Medal,” he said.
“Their colleague would then be in the running to achieve that recognition for all their worthy endeavours.
“They might be from a big firm, or a teeny tiny firm. Wherever they are from, I would encourage them to nominate their colleagues. We should be proud as a profession of those who make a difference.”
And Stephen’s award is proof of that.
“I have been lucky to be considered by colleagues overseas that I am the leading international surrogacy lawyer in the world – all the way from my little firm in Brisbane,” he said.
“Much like the little engine that could. Those who are eligible may not come from one of the big six firms.
“Although I have been fortunate to receive some awards, I had felt that some of the extraordinary things that I had done in my career to date had not been recognised here.
“While I did not ever do this work – including writing and presenting around the world (or for that matter in the last week, taking on the Pope, writing policy for the American Bar Association, etc. – to win an award – but because it had to be done- and in the words of Michael Kirby, ‘those who join make history’.
“It was nice to be recognised, when the quality of the judges and the judging process cannot be doubted.”
The President’s Medal seeks to acknowledge an exceptional solicitor who has distinguished themselves and made an outstanding contribution to the legal profession in Queensland.
The award recognises the achievements of a practitioner at the pinnacle of their career who has displayed leadership in their professional and personal spheres of influence and demonstrated the highest levels of integrity and commitment to advancing the practice of law throughout their years of service.
Stephen said he valued the unique nature of the President’s Medal and ceremony.
“I was vain enough to have my hair cut the day before, both because of the ceremony, but also because I was about to do a media interview,” he recalled.
“I told my barber that I was receiving a major award the following day, but I could not tell her what it was, as it was secret squirrel.
“The week after I received the medal, I popped in when she was quiet. I told her what the award was, that the ceremony was held at the Hilton, 300 there, all the great and the good, LCA President, judges, colleagues and friends. She said ‘How many did they hand out?’ I said: ‘One.’ She said: ‘Oh’.
“The President’s Medal is special. It is not a case of every child gets a prize, but is a unique award, as I made plain to her.”
The President’s Medal will be presented to the successful candidate by the President at the 2024 Legal Profession Dinner in March.
Only peer nominations are accepted.
Nominations close on 23 February 2024.