THE new head of the body representing the Australian legal profession has made a bid to tie up all the loose ends around reforms to the profession this year.
Glenn Ferguson, a Sunshine Coast solicitor and former president of the Queesland Law Society and LAWASIA, has declared that the Law Council of Australia will play a crucial role this year in finalising new reforms to the Australian legal profession.
The new reforms will greatly benefit lawyers and consumers nation-wide, according to Ferguson.
Ferguson, who takes over from John Corcoran, said: “2010 will be a pivotal year for legal profession reforms. The Law Council will play a key role, as the national body, in working with law societies, bar associations, the Government and other stakeholders to bring this critical issue to a conclusion.
"The aim is to create a uniform system that will benefit all Australian legal practitioners and consumers of legal services,” he said.
The recruitment and retention of lawyers in regional Australia will also be a priority issue during Ferguson’s presidency.
As a lawyer from a regional area, Ferguson said he understands the challenges faced by practitioners from outside major metropolitan areas.
“This is more than just a recruitment and retention issue; this is an access to justice issue. It is important that every Australian has access to legal advice, regardless of where they live in Australia.”
Another area of focus in 2010 will be encouraging more Indigenous Australians to study and practise law.
“The Law Council already does a great deal to support and encourage Indigenous law students, through initiatives such as the John Koowarta Reconciliation Law Scholarship – but more needs to be done.”
He said the Law Council was developing a formal Policy Statement on Indigenous Australians and the Legal Profession, which, amongst other things, will seek to encourage more Aboriginals to practise law.
Ferguson said he also wanted to continue the excellent work the Law Council has done in promoting the profession nationally and internationally.
He paid tribute to Corcoran. “A lot of excellent work has been done under John’s leadership, and I congratulate him on the contribution he has made to the Law Council over the past 12 months,” Ferguson concluded.