McLeod (pictured) steps into the role after serving a term as ABA’s vice-president. She is also treasurer of the Law Council of Australia, a former chair of the Victorian Bar and a previous president of Australian Women Lawyers.
South Australian silk Patrick O’Sullivan QC replaces McLeod as vice president of the ABA, with former Victorian Bar president William Alstergren QC becoming treasurer.
Philip Selth OAM has been appointed the association’s CEO. Selth is also the executive director of the NSW Bar Association.
McLeod said her priorities for 2015 included speaking out on issues that threatened to compromise access to justice and the fundamental principles of the rule of law.
“It is incumbent on leading national legal institutions to have a strong voice on issues that impact equality before the law, and the integrity of the administration of justice in our nation,” she said.
“I have a particular concern about legal aid funding arrangements and the impact of current sentencing policies on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”
She also nominated gender diversity, support for state and territory Bars and the implementation of the national legal profession as priorities for the ABA.
The ABA represents more than 6,000 Australian barristers.