The President of the Law Society of NSW, Joe Catanzariti, and the immediate past president of the Queensland Law Society, Megan Mahon, were recently elected to the executive of the Law Council of Australia.
Catanzariti fills the vacancy left by Ken Martin QC who resigned following his appointment to the Supreme Court of Western Australia, and Mahon takes up the executive's newly created sixth position.
Catanzariti said he views his appointment as an honour, but also as an important move for the Council because it ensures that NSW - which accounts for 43 per cent of the nation's lawyers - is represented.
"Whether you love NSW or you hate us, when you have that sort of membership it's very important that they are engaged," he said.
That said, Catazariti doesn't view his role on the executive as a "NSW-centric position" and he believes it is important for the executive to recognise the diversity of the profession.
"Each of the states and territories have a vital role to play and I hope to be inclusive in dealing with the issues of each [of them]," he said. "I think it's important that anybody on the executive understand the differences, because while we're one voice - and that's what the Law Council's role is supposed to be. Within that framework there are clearly a lot of differences."
One of Catazariti's key aims is to educate NSW lawyers about the role the Law Council can play in pushing for changes to benefit the profession.
"For many the Law Council will be viewed as irrelevant because their day-to-day interface is with their local law society. They need to understand the agenda of the Law Council," he said. "[The Law Council] can tap into resources all over the place and then try to engineer a national view. At the end of the day, the best pressure point on the regulators and the Government is that we all agree that these are the changes that should be made."
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