President’s Report – May
Law Week 2017
May means Law Week is just around the corner. This year’s Law Week will run from 15 to 19 May.
Each year, Law Week provides an opportunity to focus on the importance of law and justice in our community. It offers a chance for the profession to engage with the community and help build a shared understanding of why the Rule of Law is fundamental to our way of life.
According to the Society’s records, the first ‘Law Day’ in Western Australia was held on Monday, 18 April 1983, although the Society had been active in the community before then, for example conducting lectures for schoolchildren and community groups and running the Law Museum. The March 1983 edition of Brief notes that “Law Days and Law Weeks [had] been held in other States over the past few years”, but 1983 was “the first time that such a venture [had] been held in WA.”
In his report to the Society’s 56th Annual General Meeting, the Society’s then President Ian Temby QC reported that Law Day had been “an outstanding success”. Mr Temby remarked upon the considerable work that had been undertaken by the organising committee, led by the Society’s young lawyers.
At Law Day 1983, the Society conducted “law booths” in the city and at a number of suburban shopping centres, helping many people who required legal assistance, with the incidental benefit of “favourable publicity” for the profession.
Maintaining access to justice for members of our community remains a key focus of Law Week, some 34 years later. This year, Law Week includes more than 30 events organised by the Society and a variety of other organisations – both for the legal profession and the wider public.
Law Week 2017 commences with the Law Week Breakfast at the Argyle Ballroom, Parmelia Hilton in Perth on Monday, 15 May 2017. I hope you will join me for a keynote address by Katie Miller, 2015 President of the Law Institute of Victoria and current Executive Director, Legal Practice at Victoria Legal Aid. Katie is also the author of the report Disruption, Innovation and Change: the Future of the Legal Profession and will discuss Legal traditions in an age of disruption: How do lawyers decide what to keep and what to relinquish? The Hon Wayne Martin AC, Chief Justice of Western Australia, will chair the discussion^1.
The Law Week Breakfast is also the occasion for the presentation of the Attorney General’s Community Service Law Awards. The Attorney General, the Hon John Quigley MLA, will present awards to an individual legal practitioner and to an organisation who have provided outstanding pro bono legal services to the Western Australian community.
Also on Monday, 15 May 2017, Legal Aid Western Australia will hold a Legal Advice Outreach Service at Citiplace Community Centre. Legal Aid lawyers will be in attendance to provide legal advice to clients of Citiplace, in various areas of law, from 9.00am to 3.00pm.
On Tuesday morning, 16 May 2017, the Law Access Walk for Justice will take place from 7.30am, commencing in front of the Bell Tower on the Perth foreshore. The Walk for Justice is an opportunity to celebrate the pro bono work of the legal profession, while also helping to raise funds for Law Access Limited.
Members may be aware of the very important work performed by Law Access in matching individuals and community organisations in need of legal assistance with members of the profession, who generously donate their time and expertise. Participants in the Walk for Justice will take a 4.4 km return trip before being provided with a complimentary South Indian vegetarian breakfast at Annalakshmi Restaurant.
On Tuesday evening, 16 May 2017, Pragma Legal will hold a Quiz Night, with profits to the Street Law Centre WA (Inc). The event is described as a fun, anecdotal take on the more interesting and entertaining aspects of the law, all for a very worthy cause.
On both Tuesday, 16 May 2017 and Thursday, 18 May 2017, Latro Lawyers in Albany will offer free simple wills for seniors card holders.
On Wednesday, 17 May 2017, Fremantle Community Legal Centre will provide free legal advice on family law, traffic matters, employment law, and criminal matters among other areas. On the same day, HHG Giving Back Free Legal Clinics will be run from 4.00pm to 6.00pm in West Perth and from 4.00pm to 5.00pm in Mandurah and Albany. In the evening, the Young Lawyers Committee will host a panel discussion in Court Room 1, Supreme Court building Stirling Gardens, on Access to Justice for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
The Law Week Awards Night on Thursday, 18 May 2017, at Bankwest Place, Raine Square, will recognise those who have made an important contribution to the legal profession, including the 2017 Lawyer of the Year Award winners. Members of the profession who have achieved 50 and 60 years in practice will also be recognised.
The above summary reflects merely a handful of the many events scheduled for Law Week 2017. A complete list may be found at lawsocietywa.asn.au/law-week and is included on page 8 of this edition of Brief. I look forward to seeing you during the week.
- As one of its strategic objectives, the future of the legal profession is an issue of major importance to the Society. As noted in the April edition of Brief, the Society’s Executive will meet with a range of managing partners and other key stakeholders on Friday, 19 May 2017 for a discussion on a particular aspect of artificial intelligence of significance to the profession. Look out for an upcoming edition of Brief with a focus on the future of the profession.