Law Society Annual report 2012-2013

ANNUAL REPORT 2013

AL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all

We defend

2013 We defend the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all

d the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT

ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend

013 We defend the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all

Vision

LEADERSHIP OF THE PROFESSION SERVICE TO MEMBERS A JUST LEGAL SYSTEM

We defend the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the righ

rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all AN

ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013

2013 We defend the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the

the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all AN

© 2013 The Law Society of New South Wales Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), no part of this publication may be reproduced without the specific written permission of the Law Society of New South Wales.

Mission

Activities and services determined by the needs and welfare of members A profession effectively represented at government and community levels A competitive national profession A community served by ethical, competent and independent legal practitioners A community with reasonable and affordable access to justice Ongoing reform of the law and the legal system

s of all

ANNUAL REPORT 2013

We defend the

Contents

UAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all

President’s Report

4

We defend the rights of all ANNUAL REPORT

Profile of the Profession

4

rights of all ANNUAL REPORT 2013 We defend

Complaints against solicitors

10

UAL REPORT 2013 We defend the rights of all

Chief Executive Officer’s Report

14

LawCover Group of Companies

22

NSW Young Lawyers

24

Corporate Governance Statement

26

Law Society Councillors

28

Major Law Reform Submissions

30

Strategic Plan 2013-2016

32

Treasurer’s Report

36

Concise Financial Report

38

3

President’s report

John Dobson For the past 12 months the law reform and advocacy work of the Law Society of New South Wales has been dominated by legislative reform relating to the state’s injury compensation schemes as the NSW government has sought to reduce benefits and curtail access to legal representation for injured people as part of its reform agenda. The Society has been working hard to educate the public and consult with key stakeholders to develop a meaningful dialogue with government on these key issues through a focused program of strong advocacy and campaigning in the media and though our submissions.

Male/Female Solicitors

Private 69.98%

Corporate 18.95%

Government 11.07%

Private 69.98%

Corporate 18.95%

Government 11.07%

City 51.53%

Suburb 31.68%

Profile of the profession On 1 July 2013 there were 25,348 solicitors registered in Male

52.51% 13,310

47.49% 12,038

52.51% 13,310

47.49% 12,038

Male

Female

Female

New South Wales, an increase of 763 since last year.

Age of solicitors

Female Male

Female Male

3172

5395

3225

3432

45-54 2876

2020

55-64 2787

930

1188

<35

35-44

>

3172

5395

3225

3432

45-54 2876

2020

55-64 2787

930

1188

195

<1 1057

<35

35-44

>65

4

The Law Society of New South Wales

ANNUAL REPORT 2013

15000

LawAsia Thanks to an agreement brokered in the second half of 2012, from August this year the Association for Asia and the Pacific (LawAsia) will be hosted at the Society. A coup for the Society, this agreement delivers benefits to LawAsia through the provision of access to the Society’s corporate services and infrastructure, and in turn there will be opportunities for national firms to strengthen their ties with key Asian counterparts, and new international opportunities for lawyers in the region. National legal profession reform We have continued to work closely with the NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice, the NSW Bar Association and Office of the Legal Services Commissioner towards a national

T he Society has a strong history of supporting the advancement and retention of women soli citors and, in recent years, has been at the forefront of initiatives designed to have a positive impact on the experiences of women in the legal profession. Over the past year we have continued to work on the recommendations of the Advancement of Women in the Profession report. Encouragingly, recent figures on women in leadership roles in the profession indicate that women are now being appointed first-time partners in rates much closer to their representation in the wider private practice population. New research also suggest that many senior roles in corporate and government practice are held by women. Country 12.68% Overseas 3.67% Interstate 0.44%

12000

9000

6000

3000

0

0 10 20 30 40 50 60

City 51.53%

Suburban 31.68%

Experience of solicitors

Female Male

15000

12000

1057

1498

1947

2760

6-10yr 2236

3094

11-14yr 1572

1652

6498

3034

9000

<1yr

2-5yr

>15yr

6000

Location of solicitors

Category of solicitors

3000

0

S 31 0 10 20 30 40 50 60

City 51.53%

Suburban 31.68%

Country 12.68%

Overseas 3.67%

Interstate 0.44%

Private 69.98%

Corporate 18.95%

Government 11.07%

City 51.53%

52.51% 13,310

47.49% 12,038

Male

Female

5

Female Male

Female Male

President’s report

system of regulation for practitioners. This will give practitioners and their clients a consistent and accessible regulatory system, with benefits that flow to the national economy and the whole legal profession. Despite setbacks, NSW and Victoria remain committed to national legal profession reform, and with these two states on board, the vast majority of Australian lawyers will be covered by the new regulatory scheme. The Society has continued to work diligently on arrangements for implementation of the reforms both at state and national levels. The national law (as applied in NSW) is expected to commence in 2014. Law reform and advocacy The Society’s ongoing program of legal policy work has seen us dealing with a number of major developments over the past year. In October 2012, the NSW government announced its plan to consolidate the state’s tribunal system with the establishment of a new body, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).  A reference group of key stakeholders was formed, with the Society represented by Councillor Gary Ulman.  Throughout the consultation process a key issue has been legal representation, with the Society making submissions on early dispute resolution, constitution of the panels, hearings and compliance and enforcement. We now expect a bill establishing the legal framework for the new commission to pass both Houses of Parliament in the next session. In June 2012, many in the legal profession expressed concern about a suite of reforms recommended by the Legislative Council’s Joint Select Committee on NSW Workers Compensation, including the retrospective removal of benefits, the reduction of lump- sum payments for pain and suffering, and the abolition of journey claims, all of which have had a negative impact on thousands of injured workers. Throughout the reform process the Society provided input to the WorkCover Taskforce, as well as seeking to engage directly with the office of the Premier. However, despite our best efforts legislation was pushed through NSW Parliament with

Honouring 50 years of service to the law Twenty-seven Law Society members were honoured for 50 years in practice at the Law Society 50 Year Members’ Lunch in September 2012. The 15 practitioners who attended the lunch were presented with certificates marking their service to the law. Admitted in 1962 with long careers ahead of them were: (l to r, seated) Gunnar Mollenbeck, John Shailer, Brian Folbigg, David Ross, Gordon Salier, Anthony Restuccia, John Cassidy; (l to r, standing) William Henningham, John Paine, Robert Maguire, Geoffrey Williamson, Kenneth Austin, Robert Hemphill, John Picone, and Charles Vandervord.

PHOTO: ALEX CRAIG

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The Law Society of New South Wales

ANNUAL REPORT 2013

assent given to the legislation at the end of June. The full impact of this reform is still emerging but, in a recent development, the NSW Court of Appeal has upheld existing rights to lump sum compensation, providing the claim was made in respect of the injury prior to 19 June 2012. In the first half of 2013, proposed changes to compulsory third party (CTP) insurance were central to our policy and media work. Detailed analysis of the Motor Injuries Amendment Bill 2013 confirmed there would be a potential doubling of claims generated by the government’s commitment to a no fault system, which would be paid for by the slashing of benefits paid to the majority of injured motorists. In response, the Society launched a coordinated community information campaign which included advertising, and media work targeting major metro, suburban and regional outlets. The Society engaged with the Minister to ensure the best outcome possible for the community and the profession. Our Injury Compensation Committee also joined with the NSW

Thought leadership First of the Thought Leadership 2013 Business Series. Chris Watson, Georgie Farrant, Russell Wilson and Robert Wyld at the Law Society’s Thought Leadership Business seminar on fraud, bribery and corruption voiced their concerns about Australia’s perceived complacency in adopting international anti-corruption standards but thought we were at least taking some positive steps forward. PHOTO: CHRIS GLEISNER

7

President’s report

slashed to pay for a no-fault scheme. This is a great outcome for the people of NSW and the lawyers who represent them. In March, with the last minute support of the Shooters and Fishers Party, the NSW government was able to pass its Evidence Amendment (Evidence of Silence) Bill 2013, limiting the fundamental right to silence when questioned by police. The practicalities of the new legislation and the ramifications for solicitors remain to be seen, but the erosion of fundamental rights is of serious concern to the profession.

Parramatta honours 25-year practitioners For its first celebration paying tribute to legal practitioners who have been in practice for 25 years, the Parramatta and District Regional Law Society cast its net to all of its long-serving members. Tom Halbert of Coleman Greig Lawyers (left), with 56 years in practice, was the solicitor with the most years of service honoured at a function in September 2012. The initiative of recognising 25 years of service has been adopted by a number of other regional law societies around the state. Bar Association and Australian Lawyers Alliance to develop an alternate proposal with reduced costs, in which those injured in motor accidents would receive fair and sustainable levels of benefits and access to legal representation. In a press release issued by the Minister for Finance and Services Andrew Constance on 19 August, the NSW government announced its intention to withdraw the Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Bill 2013, citing its inability to see the bill passed through the Upper House. This decision recognises the level of opposition to the government’s planned reforms that would have seen entitlements

PHOTO: ERNEST FRATCZAK

Regional representation The first regional presidents meeting for 2013 drew together presidents new and existing to discuss plans for the year ahead, with 27 out of the 29 regions represented. Regional Presidents (l to r): Andrew Fleming, Stafford Poyser, Gary Fox, Warwick Hill, Cynthia Grahame, Andrew Boog, Maria Daniele, Maggie Orman, Bill Grace, Laura McGookin, Digby Dunn, David Potts, Chris Dunn, Nick Wordsworth, and Grant Hodgson. Front row (l to r): Rod Storie, Bruce Batey, David Bartram, John Arms, Sandra Morey, Danny Bricknell, Victor Berger.

PHOTO: CHRIS GLEISNER

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ANNUAL REPORT 2013

Thought leadership The Society’s Thought Leadership program has continued in the second half of 2012 and into 2013 with distinguished speakers including Chief Justice of NSW the Hon T F Bathurst, the Chief Justice of Hong Kong, the Hon Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, speaking at the Society. Rule of law panel discussions have included topics of relevance to the legal profession and the wider community, such as the threat of home-grown terrorism and the NSW anti-bikie legislation. In the first half of 2013, our thought leadership activities included a major series covering topics on a business theme. This new series has so far seen events focusing on fraud, bribery and corruption and directors’ duties. Advancement of women As I have already mentioned, implementation of the 12 recommendations of the Advancement of Women in the Profession report, a project initiated by the 2011 President Stuart Westgarth has continued in earnest over the past twelve months. In October we launched the Women Lawyers Mentoring Program, quickly followed by a Thought Leadership luncheon in November 2012, and the release of flexible working resources. The new flexible working resources

provide practical information and tips on creating a more flexible workplace, with clear benefits for practices wishing to attract and retain talent in an increasingly competitive environment. On 5 July 2013, the Society published the Advancement of Women in the Profession Progress Report, which was officially launched by the Honourable Justice Julie Ward. The progress report outlines the work we have done to support women solicitors in their careers since we committed to the recommendations in 2011. Of particular note is new research on women solicitors in leadership roles, showing that women are now being appointed first-time partners at rates much closer to their representation in the wider practice population – 41 per cent for all private law firms and 34 per cent when sole practices are excluded. New survey findings suggested that women are well represented amongst heads of in-house legal teams. Encouragingly, our research also reveals that attrition rates for all solicitors after the first five years of practice are showing some improvement. In fact, the attrition rate for women across the whole profession is at its lowest recorded level at 29.6 per cent.

9

President’s report

Major complaint 1 July 2012 - 30 J

Complaints opened 2006 - 2013 Complaints opened 2006 - 2013

0

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

Year

540

06/07

Personal Conduct

Complaints In 2012/13, 546 complaint files were opened by the Professional Standards Department

584

07/08

Consumer Disputes

643

08/09

Non-Compliance

680

09/10

Cost/Payment Issu

545

10/11

Trust Account matt

550

11/12

Communication/Ser

Other

546

12/13

C 1

Areas of law (most common) 1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013

Profile of the profession The Society is constantly striving to provide

Community connections Central to the work of the Society is our role in facilitating improved access to legal services for the public. One such project is the Family Law Settlement Service, which aims to provide fixed cost mediation in identified family law matters. I am pleased to report that in the first round, the service arranged 90 mediations which commenced in August 2012. Members were gracious enough to give up their time and expertise once again to raise public awareness around the issue of wills and estates as part of the program of Will Awareness Day 2012, including launch events in Gosford and Sydney, followed by more than 60 community seminars throughout NSW. Law Week 2013 was also a great success, with more than 130 events across the state from 13 to 19 May 2013. Now in its 30th year, Law Week continues to bring legal information directly to the community in the places that need it. This year we took Law Week out of the Sydney city centre, with legal expos in Parramatta, Campbelltown and Dubbo. A regular and much loved feature of Law Week is the NSW Young Lawyers Golden Gavel Competition, a chance for young lawyers to flex their mental muscle on humorous topics. This year’s completion was no exception, with the event presided over by the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG before an audience of more than 700. 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 15 14 20 32 68 83 0

Commercial Law

pertinent and relevant practical information tailored to the different segments of the profession and we regularly undertake research on the profession to help us achieve this.  Building on the success of last year’s Law Society National Profile, in May we published Inside In-House Legal Teams, following a survey of lawyers working in-house at corporate and government organisations across NSW. This report has revealed that in-house lawyers enjoy high levels of accessibility to flexible working arrangements, mentoring opportunities and options for career progression.

Family Law

Property Law/Conveyancing 33

Estate/Wills

Criminal Law

Corporate L

Workers Compensation

Employment Law

10

The Law Society of New South Wales

ANNUAL REPORT 2013

Major complaint categories 1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013 Major Complaint Categories 1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013

0

600

700

50

100

150

200

250

300

0

253

Personal Conduct

64

Consumer Disputes

64

Non-Compliance

62

Cost/Payment Issues

60

Trust Account matters

Communication/Service 40

3

Other

Complaints opened, by solicitor status 1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013

Supporting members Based on information provided through a member survey, in the first quarter of 2013 there were new offerings aimed at equipping members with the skills they need to excel in their career, providing them with strategic and practical advice, and insights from prominent solicitors on their own career paths. Coupled with this, career progression was a stronger area of focus for the Society’s CPD program and the Law Society Journal. In March this year, members gathered at the Establishment Ballroom for the launch of the CareerHub and accompanying Rule 42 half-day seminar. The CareerHub is an online resource filled with practical advice on the intricacies of legal career development, drawing on a range of experts in areas as diverse as communications, networking, returning to work and practice development. It has since been recognised with an international Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) award. smalltalk, our new e-communication for small to mid- sized firms has gone from strength to strength since its launch in July last year, complimenting the existing resources in the Small Practice Portal. smalltalk has now also been joined by The Big Picture, a new e-newsletter for large firm lawyers. The Big Picture focuses on the issues and trends that affect the way 0 Non-practising 4.0% Government Legal 0.7% Corporate Legal & Non Legal Entity 0.9% Firms only 2.9% Principal 18.3% Sole principal 47.4% Non principal 25.6%

commercial law is practised, featuring articles from leading experts from law and beyond. It is hoped that The Big Picture will also complement our CareerHub and refocused CPD program by offering lawyers at large firms insights and ideas on how to maximise their careers and acquire the skills they need in a rapidly changing legal environment. Our commitment to enhancing the skills and calibre of our members through professional development has continued over the past 12 months, with learning available for practitioners at all stages of their careers. There have been new offerings for accredited specialists and for legal support staff, as well as the Online Introduction to Legal Principles Course for those considering a career in a law firm. Building on the success of our Young Lawyers mentoring program and the pilot mentoring program targeting female solicitors 10 to 15 years post admission, the Society has developed a new technology-based pilot program. The program matches experienced tech-savvy practitioners with less skilled practitioners to help them to get up to speed with IT products, and give them the confidence to use them in enhancing their practice management. In August, we successfully matched mentors with our applicants and I am pleased to say this pilot is now well underway. 40%

60 70 80 90

20%

11

253

Personal Conduct

64

Consumer Disputes

64

Non-Compliance

President’s report

62

Cost/Payment Issues

60

Trust Account matters

Communication/Service 40

3

Other

Complaints opened, by solicitor status 1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013

on)

Complaints opened, by solicitor status 1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013

0

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90

0

20%

40%

83

Sole principal 47.4%

Non principal 25.6%

68

Principal 18.3%

33

Complaints

Non-practising 4.0%

32

Firms only 2.9%

20

Corporate Legal & Non Legal Entity 0.9%

15

Government Legal 0.7%

14

Practice Connexions Practice Connexions, our new member benefits program with discounts and special offers on products and services specifically relevant to the business and practice needs of members was launch in the first part of 2013. This program includes over 10 alliance partners, including a new partnership with Thomson Reuters to offer member discounts on their print and digital legal products. Regional and suburban law societies The regional and suburban law societies play a vital role representing the local interests of practitioners and ensuring they have a voice in their communities. We have been working closely with the regional law society presidents as we engaged directly with government and with the public through our metropolitan and regional media campaigns on proposed changes to CTP insurance. This working relationship was critical in harnessing regional support for our successful work opposing the NSW government’s proposed changes to CTP green slip insurance.

Reconciliation action plan Indigenous issues continue to be high on the

Society’s agenda. Through the Reconciliation Action Plan, the Law Society has made a strong commitment to the promotion of Indigenous representation in the legal profession and the protection and promotion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in NSW. In the second half of 2012, the Society’s Indigenous Issues Committee was active with submissions on the tax treatment of native title benefits, place based income management and Indigenous business capacity building. We have also recently adopted a new protocol for Acknowledgement of Country. Mental health Maintaining a work/life balance can be a challenge and for those of us working in the legal profession the pressures often seem to be particularly acute. The Society’s “Lawyers’ guide to sanity, profitability and wellbeing” seminars have proven popular with practitioners, enabling them to investigate strategies to effectively manage the pressures of practice.

12

The Law Society of New South Wales

ANNUAL REPORT 2013

0

100

200

300

400

500

600

50

100

150

700

Year

0

540

06/07

253

Personal Conduct

584

07/08

64

Consumer Disputes

643

08/09

64

Non-Compliance

680

09/10

62

Cost/Payment Issues

545

10/11

60

Trust Account matters

550

11/12

Communication/Service 40

3

Other

546

12/13

Complaints opened, by solicitor status 1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013

Areas of law (most common) 1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013 Areas of Law 1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013

0

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90

0

2

83

Sole principal 47.4%

Commercial Law

Non principal 25.6%

68

Family Law

Principal 18.3%

Property Law/Conveyancing 33

Non-practising 4.0%

32

Estate/Wills

Firms only 2.9%

20

Criminal Law

Corporate Legal & Non Legal Entity 0.9%

15

Workers Compensation

Government Legal 0.7%

14

Employment Law

President’s awards Human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson was our guest speaker for the Society’s 2012 Annual Members Dinner on 25 October 2012 at the Opera Point Marquee. Ms Robinson, who is Director of the London-based Bertha Foundation, is best known for her work as a member of announced and was awarded to prominent Central Coast defence lawyer, Stuart Tipple in recognition of significant personal and professional contribution made to the betterment of law and justice in NSW. Mr Tipple, who has practised law in NSW since 1978, was one of the longest serving members of the Chamberlain’s defence team during the inquiries into the death of their daughter Azaria Chamberlain.  The award recognised his contribution to identifying deficiencies in and bringing about change to forensic testing and procedures. Manny Conditsis, a well-known criminal advocate from the Gosford area, also received the Law Society President’s Award as part of the 2012 Justice Awards, for his pro bono work undertaken through the Law Society Pro Bono Scheme. With more than 27 years’ the legal team representing Julian Assange. At the dinner, the 2012 President’s Medal was

experience in criminal law, Mr Conditsis is widely recognised as one of the most experienced trial advocates in NSW. President’s charity It is traditional for the president to nominate a charity that will receive the support of the Society, both financially and in-kind during their term in office. My charity of choice for the year is Civic Lifestyles, a provider of quality services to more than 450 people with a disability in NSW. Conclusion Through the work of our 26 committees and with the support of our dedicated staff, the Society will continue to engage with national legal profession reform and other issues which will shape the future of the profession. Finally, I would like acknowledge the work of the dedicated team of staff at the Society, and the support and guidance of our excellent CEO, Michael Tidball. 

13

Chief executive officer’s report

Michael Tidball The 2012-13 reporting period has been a testing time for the Law Society of NSW as the economy slowed and various policy initiatives necessitated the Society’s rigorous response. Highlights included robust and agile campaigning to propose changes to compulsory third party (CTP) legislation, the successful bid to host the LawAsia Secretariat and the rollout of a number of service initiatives to key segments of the profession (see box). Efforts to prepare for the implementation of National Legal Profession Reform also gathered momentum. The Society has, since 2007, included within its business plan the objective of delivering an operating surplus before interest and investment returns. It is thus pleasing to report that we have now achieved our fourth consecutive operating surplus, with the organisation continuing to build on what is already a strong balance sheet. During a period in which the Society has committed to major investments on both its building and core information systems, this only serves to highlight the importance placed on the prudent and efficient management of the Society’s financial resources. When investment income is included, the Society has finished the 2012/13 financial year with a surplus of $1.4 million and net assets of $49.7 million. The Law Society group, which includes LawCover Insurance and the Solicitors’ Mutual Indemnity Fund has reported a consolidated surplus of $11.6 million, with total net assets of $186.8 million at 30 June. LawCover Insurance, which is the only APRA-licenced legal-profession-owned insurance scheme in Australia, continues to improve its capital position, with a capital adequacy multiple of 2.32 times APRA’s prudential requirement at year- end. Additional information on both the company and group’s financial results can be found in the Treasurer’s Report and Concise Financial Statements. Financial update

“The Society has finished the 2012/13 financial year with a surplus of $1.4 million and net assets of $49.7 million.”

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The Law Society of New South Wales

ANNUAL REPORT 2013

Uniform legal profession regulation

CTP reform The NSW government’s CTP green slip reform proposals were central to the Society’s policy and media work in 2013. In response to the release of the Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Bill 2013, we launched a coordinated community information campaign, with advertisements placed in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph. Online information outlining the profession’s primary concerns was also developed, providing members of the community with the capacity to email their state politicians and voice their concerns. The Society was involved in every stage of the consultation and made several submissions in response to the discussion paper, proposed legislation and actuarial costings. We also participated in a roundtable held by the government during the winter recess of parliament. Our consistent message was that the government’s proposals would cut off benefits for injured people, prevent them seeking the legal advice they need and likely to prove unaffordable. After a lengthy and concerted campaign by the NSW legal profession, the state government announced in August 2013 that it would withdraw

NSW continued to be at the forefront of legal profession regulatory reform as the state worked with Victoria to finalise uniform legislation. The Society closely consulted with the government and other co-regulatory bodies in NSW about implementation of the new scheme which will see uniform standards applied locally by state and territory regulatory bodies. The system will initially cover around 70 per cent of Australian lawyers with other jurisdictions expected to join progressively following implementation. The Society successfully preserved the role of the legal profession in a co-regulatory framework and will continue to administer practising certificates, regulate trust accounts and investigate complaints referred under the new system. We are also developing a comprehensive information and education campaign for solicitors, to be rolled out prior to commencement of the reforms in 2014.

The CareerHub The CareerHub is the first port of call for members looking for career advice. Launched in March 2013, it has already proved popular with members and the profession more widely. As of late August 2013, it had already attracted more than 28,000 unique views.

15

CEO’s report

The criminal justice system is the subject of ongoing law reform activity in NSW, including new limits on the right to silence when questioned by police. On a more positive note, amended bail legislation was passed following an extensive Law Reform Commission inquiry in which the Society was heavily involved. We also participated in the Law Reform Commission’s comprehensive review of sentencing and await the tabling of the report which has been submitted to government. This year also saw the establishment of the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse and a number of Society committees worked with the Law Council of Australia on its submission on working with children checks. Work to develop a national system for electronic conveyancing is approaching completion with the new system expected to be in place for settlements in mid-2014. The Society has played an ongoing role in this process, consistently protecting the interests of solicitors. The Society has also made a substantial contribution to the review of power of attorney legislation and prescribed forms with the new forms available now. Society committees regularly dealt with issues of procedure and the operation of the courts. This included several submissions on the operation of the Fair Work Commission which made a number of improvements to its practices this year. We provided further feedback on revived proposals to implement legislation providing for access to court information in NSW. In the second half of 2012, the Society administered the successful Family Law Settlement Service, a joint initiative with the courts and Bar Association for the mediation of appropriate cases in the family courts. The Law Society’s Reconciliation Action Plan is now in its second year of operation and we have made significant progress on meeting our commitment to reconciliation. In particular, we are pleased to have provided support to Ngalaya, the association of Indigenous lawyers and law students in NSW. This is also the second year of activity for the Society’s Indigenous Issues Committee which made substantial contributions on relevant policy issues including native title and child protection.

its proposed CTP green slip reforms from the NSW parliament, conceding it did not have the numbers to pass the Bill in the Legislative Council. We will continue to monitor this issue closely and if necessary push for a motor accident compensation scheme which is fair and sustainable and protects the most vulnerable members of our community. Legal policy and representation The Society pursued a diverse range of legal policy issues in 2012-13, making well over 100 written submissions to government departments, law reform bodies, parliamentary inquiries and the courts. This work was driven by the expertise and commitment of the Society’s 26 policy and practice committees, the members of which volunteer their time to review proposals for new legislation, policy or procedure. Our committees also bring solicitors together to deal with issues which arise in particular areas of practice including corporate, government and rural practitioners. The Injury Compensation Committee was particularly busy in 2013, working with Society management on our successful campaign against the government’s proposed CTP green slip insurance reforms. Another significant area of work was tribunal reform, with the government moving to consolidate 23 existing bodies in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). The Society is a member of the NCAT Reference Group and has addressed a number of key issues in its submissions including legal representation, costs and constitutional requirements. NCAT is expected to be established in January 2014. The rule of law underpins much of our policy work and this year became a major focus of the Society’s response to the comprehensive review of the planning system. Inadequacies were identified in requirements for transparency and certainty. On the human rights front, we highlighted issues related to economic, social and cultural rights including the problem of homelessness and ongoing concerns about the treatment of asylum seekers.

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The Law Society of New South Wales

ANNUAL REPORT 2013

Membership and communications

The portal is supported by smalltalk, a bi-monthly eNewsletter which looks at topical business issues facing small practice owners. With its focus on high-quality content from expert contributors, the newsletter has become very popular and attracted engagement. Our new communications Because our diverse membership has different needs (often depending on the size of their employer) we have developed a suite of new eNewsletters for different segments of the profession. These will complement existing publications we develop for the whole profession such as the Law Society Journal and Monday Briefs and will include: l smalltalk – for practice owners in firms of up to 20 partners (launched mid-2012); l The Big Picture – for employed lawyers in firms of more than 20 partners; l Momentum – for employed lawyers in firms of between 11-20 partners; and l Scope – for employed lawyers in firms of up to 10 partners.

CareerHub The Law Society launched the CareerHub in March 2013 as a first port of call for members looking for career advice. The CareerHub offers members only ‘core content’ across three main areas: developing a career, essential career skills, and learning and development. It also features a range of articles written by independent experts which support this core content by looking in-depth at career-related issues. Because much of the CareerHub’s audience consists of young employed solicitors, we decided members needed to be able to interact with the site including having the chance to use social media. For this reason, members can sign in and comment on articles. They can also share posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The CareerHub has already proved popular with members and the profession more widely. As of late August 2013, it had already attracted more than 28,000 unique viewers. The Small Practice Portal The Small Practice Portal helps small practice owners set up and grow a successful law firm. The portal provides information on each step of the business journey, from opening a practice, to day-to-day management, through to closing the doors.

Professional development Now in its second year, the Law Society’s CPD program has been revamped, with the key objectives of creating a cohesive delivery mechanism, rollout of high-quality professional development programs for each member segment and utilisation of online instruction. Image: iStockphoto

PRACTICAL EDUCATION DESIGNED WITH YOUR NEEDS IN MIND The Law Society professional development program has been designed with just one overarching goal in mind: to give you, our members, the knowledge and skills you need to succeed as a lawyer.

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CEO’s report

Member benefits

Professional Development The Society’s CPD program entered its second year in 2013 and reorganisation of the design and delivery of the program commenced in June 2013, key objectives being creation of a cohesive delivery mechanism, rollout of high-quality professional development programs for each member segment and utilisation of online/web-based programming instruction. It was also broadened to offer a variety of face- to-face substantive law sessions, skills sessions, practice management and mandatory Rule 42 CPD. Recognising the need for more skills-based training and the shortage of offerings addressing procedural aspects of practice, a suite of appropriate courses is now in development. One such example is the popular CareerHub series – short CPD skills workshops on topics such as writing, negotiating, business skills and more. The volume of legal support and online training grew exponentially, with new introductory courses developed for solicitors in addition to support staff, in response to customer feedback. The Specialist Accreditation Program continues to thrive, despite the impact of legislative change in some practice areas (for example, personal injury). The business unit managed one of the Program’s biggest intakes this year with 224 applications over eight areas of law.

In 2013, the Society launched Practice Connexions, our new member benefits program that offers discounts and special offers on products and services specifically relevant to the business and practice needs of our members. The program commenced with a new alliance partnership with Thomson Reuters to offer member discounts on their print and digital legal products. Practice Connexions also provides offers from select alliance partners on office stationery, IT, corporate travel lounges, accommodation and car hire with more alliance partners to be added to the program in the future. Member Connexions continues to provide members with discounts and benefits relevant to members’ lifestyle and personal needs with over 20 alliance partners offering discounts on credit cards, home loans, travel, gym memberships, health insurance, IT and much more. Proceeds from both the Practice Connexions and Members Connexions programs are directed towards funding other member services.

Accredited Specialists celebrate 20th anniversary Solicitors in NSW have been making a special investment in their professional development, job satisfaction and marketing potential since 1992, when the Law Society launched its Specialist Accreditation Program. The Program marked its 20th anniversary in September 2012 with a gala dinner. PHOTO: CHRIS GLEISNER

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The Law Society of New South Wales

ANNUAL REPORT 2013

Thought leadership The Society’s Thought Leadership program plays an important role in leading discussion, raising awareness and changing behaviour on issues that impact the profession. The popular program continued in 2013, with the launch of a major series focusing on topical issues around a central business theme. The Business Series allowed the Law Society to engage with lawyers across NSW to draw on current interest in economic matters and deliver a diverse range of seminars on related commercial issues. The Business Series included two successful panelled discussion events on the topics of “Fraud, bribery and corruption” and “Directors duties”. A third event is planned to take place in late 2013 with the theme of the Asian Century. The Advancement of Women project continued to be a focus of the Society’s Thought Leadership initiative throughout the past 12 months. The Advancement of Women in the Profession Progress Report, launched by the Honourable Justice Julie Ward, detailed our progress against 12 recommendations made in December 2011 to support women solicitors in NSW. Mentoring and networking were highlighted in the initial report as key factors in women achieving success in the legal profession. The Society co-hosted with the Women Lawyers Association the successful “Networking event for lawyers to attend with their children” held at the Police and Justice Museum.

The inaugural Women’s Mentoring Program, launched in September 2012 has been of notable success. The program, designed to provide guidance for more senior women at critical points of their careers and an opportunity for experienced practitioners to share their knowledge and give back to the profession, successfully matched 43 protégées with mentors according to skill sets and desired attributes. The success of the program has ensured significant interest in the 2013-14 program.

“The Specialist Accreditation Program ... managed one of the ... biggest intakes this year with 224 applications over eight areas of law.”

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CEO’s report

Community programs As the voice of the profession, the Society has a duty to ensure the combined wisdom of our members is heard in the wider community and that solicitors continue to play a positive role in shaping our society. We do this through a range of community programs such as Law Week, Mock Trial and Mock Mediation and Speakers Bureau. In 2013, the 30th Anniversary of Law Week saw more than 145 registered Law Week events held across NSW including three legal expos in Parramatta, Campbelltown and Dubbo, library talks, court open days, information stalls, the PILCH Walk for Justice and the “Clued Up Kids” program for primary schools. The Young Lawyers Golden Gavel was once again a sold-out event, attended by nearly 700 people. In a first for the Society, videos from the event were posted on the Golden Gavel Facebook page and viewed more than 20,000 times. The Society’s school based programs, Mock Trial and Mock Mediation continue to be an important support and resource for school students, building their knowledge of the law and legal processes. In addition, these competitions, along with the Speakers Bureau program, give solicitors the chance to engage with the community at a local level.

Mock trial The Law Society’s Mock Trial competition educates students about the law and judicial system in NSW. The competition has been running annually since 1981 and is open to teams in years 10 or 11 and up to the age of 21. Students also learn invaluable advocacy and

debating skills PHOTO: Alex craig

“Mock Trial and Mock Mediation continue to be an important support and resource for school students ...”

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The Law Society of New South Wales

ANNUAL REPORT 2013

Workplace gender equality On 6 December 2012, the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (EOWW Act) was replaced by the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Act). The Act introduced a new reporting and compliance framework. The changes are being phased in over two years to allow relevant employers time to transition to the new reporting framework. All non-public sector employers with 100 or more employees continue to be required to report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and Conclusion The Law Society of NSW has over the past year demonstrated the importance of a strong legal representative body standing as a custodian of the rule of law, and the independence of the profession. Through unity in membership, the profession can withstand the head winds that come its way. The practising environment within the profession is difficult; however the Society is well positioned to provide high value and diverse resources to assist its membership. In recent years, the Society has improved its ability to roll out new services and support to practitioners in response to the changing environment. Correspondingly, our ability to provide faster responses to complex policy and representational issues has strengthened. The leadership of the organisation plays a critical role in ensuring that we remain a strong institution. The work of Law Society Councillors is demanding and their role in serving on committees and giving their time is greatly appreciated. It is a privilege to be able to work with Council and to observe the prolific output of the many committees. The role of Councillors and the committee members can never be overstated.

It has been my pleasure to work closely with the President John Dobson, and I thank him for his leadership and commitment to the Society and the profession, not only during his Presidency, but over the many years in which he has served on Council and many of its committees. The demands of the role of the President increase from year to year, and the profession benefits greatly from the commitment made by the President leaving their work for a year, and serving the profession as the Society’s leader. It is finally my privilege to work with a remarkably dedicated team of senior staff, who in turn lead a highly effective staff team. The senior staffing team is an energetic, stable and committed group, which is strongly committed to the values that endure and which are of importance to the profession. Charles Cawley stepped down from a senior management role on 30 June 2013, but will remain as Secretary to the Council. I place on record my appreciation for Charles’s indefatigable approach, integrity and loyalty both to the organisation over a number of years. To the rest of the team: Kenny Tickle, Anne Finet, Magdalena Malota, Claudia Bels and Heather Moore, I place on record my thanks for their stellar contribution over the 2012/13 practising year.

relevant employers must also comply with the new notification and access requirements which came into effect from the 2012/13 reporting period. The new notification provisions requires employers to inform its employees and members that it has lodged its report with the Agency and advise how the report may be accessed. In line with this requirement, the Society’s

2012/13 report can be found on our website at www.lawsociety.com.au/ workplacegenderequalityreports.

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law cover group of companies Chief Executive Officer’s Report

Michael Halliday

The premium pool for compulsory professional indemnity insurance (PII) collected by LawCover has maintained stability over recent years. As the result of another successful year in 2012/13, the budgeted premium pool for 2013/14 is slightly less than that for 2012/13 and equivalent to that for 2010/11. Since 2010, the number of solicitors insured by LawCover has increased by 13 per cent. Claims frequency and severity continues to trend slightly downwards and we continue to work with the profession in risk management and claims prevention strategies. Our continuing challenge is to implement further strategies to put downward pressure on premiums thereby providing predictability and affordability, without compromising the significant capital strength built by LawCover since 2004. The LawCover Group of Companies (LawCover), consisting of LawCover Pty Limited and LawCover Insurance Pty Limited: l underwrites compulsory professional indemnity insurance (PII) for solicitors; l underwrites optional top up insurance in addition to the compulsory layer; l manages the Solicitors’ Mutual Indemnity Fund SMIF);

Number of claims finalised

Policy year 20011/12 2010/11

Percentage of finalisations

79% 83%

2009/10 90% Figures exclude closed/transferred files

Percentage of total incurred claims costs as at 30 June 2013

Percentage of TI (%) 2009/10

Percentage of TI (%) 2010/11

Percentage of TI (%) 2011/12

Percentage of TI (%) 2012/13

Category

Commercial

15 36

23 23

18 18

14 24

Litigation

Matrimonial

2

3

1

6

Mortgage & Lending

20

20

27

20

Probate & Wills

3

5

9

2

Property Other *

24

26

27

34

-

-

-

-

Total

100%

100%

100%

100%

Percentages are rounded to the nearest complete number * Includes: criminal, immigration & defamation # Percentage is less than 1%

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The Law Society of New South Wales

ANNUAL REPORT 2013

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