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Legal conference ebbs and flows with the tides

Legal conference ebbs and flows with the tides

A legal conference that sets its agenda based on when the surf's up? Welcome to the Australian Lawyers Surfing Association (ALSA) Annual Conference 2011.

A legal conference that sets its agenda based on when the surf's up? Welcome to the Australian Lawyers Surfing Association (ALSA) Annual Conference 2011.

Barrister Peter Strain, co-founder of the Australian Lawyers Surfing Association, takes to the waves off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.
Speaking to Folklaw after the 10-day conference in Sumatra's Telo Islands concluded last week (28 August), one of the Association's founding fathers, barrister Peter Strain, reported that the timing of the various conference sessions is made in accordance with the tides.

"As luck would have it, we found time to go surfing," he said. "The day is planned at the behest of the tide, wind and swell. Why hold a conference session at 10am when the tide is rising and the swell is on the way in?"

This is Folklaw's kind of conference.

In case anyone out there thinks this was a junket for the 30 lawyers who attended, the agenda marks it out as a bona fide legal conference. There were sessions on caveats, criminal papers, trademarks, evidence and Aboriginal land rights, to name but a few.

ALSA also kicked $25,000 into the East Bali Poverty Project to assist with the building of a teaching centre and does a whole heap of pro bono work for international charity Surf Aid.

ALSA has grown to have around 200 members from all around Australia since it was first started six years ago, with informal gatherings throughout the year. Strain said the surf is a great place to discuss tubes and torts.

"I enjoy the fact that we could get together as lawyers, share our thoughts about the law and enjoy each other's company doing what we love," he said. "If I was to compare law and surfing, I would say that there are rules in the surf, just as there are rules everywhere. Surfers are a nomadic and anarchistic group of people generally, who prefer the common law to statute law."

Profound stuff man.

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