THE PROSPECT of in-house lawyers securing a voice within the general profession nationally remains firmly on foot, but is not expected to become a reality in the near future.
Australian Corporate Lawyers Association (ACLA) president Tony de Govrik last week emerged from talks with the Law Council of Australia (LCA) in Canberra and revealed that further developments surrounding the radical proposal would probably not be felt for “another six months at least.”
As reported by Lawyers Weekly in early October, ACLA is keen to join the 12 incumbent state and territory-based law societies and bar associations as a constituent member of the LCA. The in-house guild, which represents 2,200 corporate counsel Australia-wide, believes its addition would better reflect the diverse face of the profession at a national level.
While de Govrik reported that the LCA was receptive to the idea at the meeting, he added that a number of hurdles needed to be negotiated before it could be examined in greater depth.
Firstly, two membership submissions — from the Western Australian and Northern Territory Bar Associations — remain unresolved. Then there is the potentially complex prospect of adjusting the Council’s constitution to accommodate membership from a body other than a law society or bar.
Nevertheless, ACLA was invited to tender a formal membership submission, which de Govrik confirmed would be followed up in due course. He added the Law Society of NSW’s recent resolution to afford in-house lawyers with two guaranteed seats on its council would add weight to any submission.