Earlier this week, eighteen newly appointed senior counsel for the state of Victoria took their bows in the Supreme Court of Victoria, Federal Court of Australia and Family Court of Australia. These ceremonies are a wonderful rite of passage for new silks, and an opportunity for their family and friends to join in the profession’s acknowledgement of their appointment.
The Honourable Chief Justice Ferguson addressed the new silks in a ceremony held in the Banco Court of the Supreme Court of Victoria. Her Honour reflected on the new appointees’ skill, integrity, independence and standing in the profession, and that they had all demonstrated the ability to lead with distinction. Her Honour encouraged the new silks to embrace the opportunities offered by their appointment, to give back to the profession, and to be mindful of their own wellbeing and that of others. A video recording of the ceremony in the Supreme Court can be viewed here.
Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards
Congratulations to this year’s finalists and winners of the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards. Professor Caron Beaton-Wells of Melbourne University, a former member of the Victorian Bar, was the winner in the category of Academic of the Year. Four members of the Victorian Bar were finalists. Fiona McLeod SC and Sharon Kermath were finalists in the Barrister of the Year category. Laura Keily was a finalist in the Innovator of the Year category. Nicki Mollard was a finalist in the Academic of the Year category. Congratulations to each of them. It is extremely pleasing to see the fine work of our members recognised and honoured in this way.
News of Dr Matt Collins AM QC
After two years as President of the Victorian Bar, Dr Matt Collins has surely earned at least a small break from leadership roles. However, far from taking a breather, Matt has once again stepped up, this time as Vice President of the Australian Bar Association. I am confident that Matt will bring the same dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm to the ABA as he brought to his role as President of the Victorian Bar over the past two years. We wish him well.
The ABA has recently adopted a new Strategic Plan that will guide the ABA Council’s decision-making and vision over the next five years.
Association of Corporate Counsel panel – ‘Should we, even if we can?’
This week I chaired a panel on ethical corporate decision-making and the heightened role of in-house counsel following the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. Other panel members were pioneer female NED Cathy Walter, experience management consultant Carolyn Grant (who offered a fascinating perspective on the importance of ‘psychological safety’ in the boardroom), and our own Kat Brazenor. The panel discussion attracted a large turnout of in-house counsel and members of the Bar, and explored issues around organisational culture, and the role of corporate counsel in driving organisational change.
Upcoming CPD seminars
The CPD ‘season’ is drawing to an end. However, an important seminar hosted by the Criminal Bar Association on the topic of ‘DNA 2019 and Beyond’ will be held next week on Tuesday 3 December. The seminar will explore the changes, challenges and future directions of the use of DNA evidence in Australian courts to secure convictions.
Details of Vic Bar’s upcoming program of CPD seminars can be accessed through the Events Calendar of the Vic Bar website and for members through the Upcoming CPD section of the website.
Bar Council committees 2020
Expressions of interest for Bar Council committees in 2020 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who expressed their interest in remaining on a committee or joining a committee. This year we received 208 applications—a very pleasing show of support for the important work these groups contribute to the Bar and the wider community. All the applications are now being considered. Applicants will be notified of the results on 13 December 2019, after the next Bar Council meeting.