THE Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in Queensland has welcomed new graduates into the legal profession, lecturing them on their responsibilities as officers of the court.
"That terminology reflects your predominant duty, to the court and the administration of the law," Chief Justice Paul de Jersey said yesterday.
He urged the new lawyers to consider their duty to the court and the law over their duty to clients. "That designation also reflects the reality that you owe your professional legitimacy to the court."
The Chief Justice gave a stirring reminder of the pressures lawyers face to balance their legal responsibilities and commercial necessity.
"I fear some lawyers' dependence on the court may these days be overshadowed by the commercial demands of competitive practice. I hope that for you, it remains an enduring consideration," he said.
The new lawyer must go above and beyond the up-to-date appreciation of the intricacies of the law, said Chief Justice de Jersey, including facing strong ethical duties. They must "embrace the more subtle wisdom to be called in aid to solve the ethical conundrums that inevitably arise".
"Moral depth", as well is an elementary requirement for the new legal professionals, said Chief Justice de Jersey, needed "to appreciate and demonstrate that the core of your new professionalism is service to the public - not only through the professional skills you will utilise in assisting clients, but also through participation in the host of community and pro bono thrusts currently available".
He congratulated the new lawyers on their new qualification, and wished them well, "whether you practise in a solicitor's office, whether you deploy your talents in the corporate world or the cloisters of academia".