2017/18 Annual Report
The Law Society’s Young Lawyers Committee (YLC) is dedicated to providing key support to new members of the profession.
During the year the Law Society through the YLC provided a range of events focused on the young and emerging segment of membership including:
- social events to promote collegiality, such as the Welcome to the Profession breakfast and inter-firm sporting events (volleyball and netball);
- the Western Australian Golden Gavel Competition, which was held as an evening event instead of a breakfast event for the second time in 2017 and was a highlight of the social calendar;
- the Practical Advocacy Weekend, including a preparatory seminar as well as a weekend of coaching sessions by judges and other senior members of the profession, which was held in the Children’s Court in Perth for the first time in 2017 instead of in Mandurah, in order to make the event more accessible for practitioners;
- raising awareness about social justice issues through a panel discussion during Law Week 2018 on the topic of access to justice for Indigenous Peoples, chaired by Michael Lundberg, Quinn Emanuel Urqhart & Sullivan and attended by a panel comprised of the Hon John Quigley MLA, Attorney General of Western Australia, the Hon Justice Robert Mazza, Supreme Court of Western Australia, Peter Collins, Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia and Tammy Solonec, Amnesty International;
- informing junior lawyers about alternative career paths, with a focus on social justice and community legal centres, at the Social Justice Opportunities Evening;
- mental health and wellbeing initiatives, including a Geoffrey Robertson QC-style mental health hypothetical panel discussion;
- informal networking opportunities for lawyers in small to mid-sized firms through the Small Firms Network; and
- the annual Law Student Mentoring Programme, which in 2018 included law students from all Western Australian law faculties for the first time and which continues to increase in numbers – from 50 students in 2017 to 76 students in 2018.
In recognition of the changing legal landscape, the YLC has maintained its focus on giving junior lawyers the opportunity to build their professional networks with young professional bodies from other industries, including accounting, consulting and engineering. This includes meeting with various young professional bodies, promoting their events and holding regular Inter Profession Networking events. In 2018, the Committee hosted a Speed Networking event, which gave young professionals the opportunity to develop “soft” skills and network with professionals from other industries.
In addition to these initiatives, the YLC also:
- introduced a new agony aunt column, Aunt Prudence Juris, and interviews with members of the profession who have had diverse and interesting career paths, in the Brief journal;
- continued to arrange monthly case notes and provide various articles for Brief;
- conducted a survey of junior lawyers seeking feedback on issues facing junior lawyers and on the Committee’s activities;
- continued to connect with the five Western Australian Law Student Faculty Societies and the Australian Young Lawyers Committee; and
- continued to welcome observers at Committee meetings.