Humble family lawyer given top honour

Nicky Davies was presented the President's Medal by QLS President Rebecca Fogerty on Friday night. Photo: Legal Aid Queensland

The recipient of this year’s Queensland Law Society (QLS) President’s Medal describes herself “a humble family lawyer”.

However Nicky Davies, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ), was recognised as a practitioner who goes above and beyond to uphold the core values of the profession at Friday night’s Legal Profession Dinner.

The President’s Medal distinguishes an individual at the pinnacle of their career and recognises an experienced legal practitioner who has shown great integrity, courage, and responsibility through their commitment to continual improvement of the profession and of themselves.

So after 28 years at Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ), Nicky found the awarding of the President’s Medal “quite daunting and humbling”.

“But very pleasing that someone in the legal assistance sector is recognised,” she said of the award which is judged by a panel of past QLS presidents.

“It is personally rewarding, and recognition for the hard work not only that I’ve done, but for a whole range of people I’ve worked with over the years.”

During that time, Nicky has seen changes, which she is proud of.


“Some of the changes I’ve seen have been, particularly in recent times, the expansion of Legal Aid Queensland so we are to be able to offer more services around the state,”‘ she said.

“And also being able to, a couple of years ago, get some additional funding for preferred supplier law firms. We realised that Legal Aid funding is still not adequate but we were able to, from the State Government, obtain additional funding which enabled us to increase the state fees by about 20 per cent, which was pleasing.”

Before becoming CEO, Nicky spent about 17 years heading up the Family Law Division at LAQ and saw the difference that LAQ could make.

“Really seeing the importance of the voice of children in family law and child protection proceedings and the recognition, appropriately, that family and domestic violence is a terrible scourge and that there needs to be legal responses to that,” she said.

And there are still challenges for Legal Aid Queensland, outside of funding.

“Besides the funding, Queensland is a very big state. Queensland has more people that live in the regions and remote areas than any other mainland state, so trying to deliver services right across all the areas of law is a real challenge,” she said.


“Both in terms of legal assistance but also the reduced number of firms actually practising in the regions, but also the reduced numbers who are prepared to do legal aid work.

“More and more we are seeing that we have to fly lawyers around the state from our in-house practice or for preferred suppliers to be able to deliver services to very vulnerable clients.”

Nicky addressing the audience. Photo: Event Photos

And Nicky took that message to the DLA Presidents Workshop on Friday at Law Society House. Letting them know that LAQ provided legal services to 400,000 people in Queensland in 2022-23 is now part of her role.

And the humble family lawyer wants to thank her colleagues for the commitment she has seen over past decades.

“It’s about the people I’ve been able to work with in the last 28 years here, and what I’ve learnt from them and what we’ve been able to achieve in service delivery, particularly for children and victims of domestic family and sexual violence.”

Nicky and husband Peter. Photo: Event Photos

At Friday’s presentation, Nicky also thanked for her husband Peter for his support, which started out with him carrying her schoolbag.


She told the audience of about 250 at the Brisbane Hilton that their teachers warned the school sweethearts to stop spending so much time together.

“They warned us if we didn’t stop seeing each other that we would make nothing of ourselves,” she shared. “Well we haven’t done too badly, have we darling!”

Nicky was admitted as a solicitor in 1986, and worked in England before moving to Queensland in 1995 for Peter’s job opportunity at QUT.

She was a member of Family Law Council (2004-2012), and convened the council’s Violence Committee. Nicky was a board member of the Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Queensland (2001-2009), including a term as President. Nicky was a foundation member of both QLS Children’s Committee and Domestic and Family Violence Committee, and also served on the Society’s Family Law Committee.

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