At a special Bar Council meeting last night (29 May), Phillip Boulten SC formally resigned from the position and Needham (pictured) was appointed his successor.
Needham, who is from 13th Floor St James’ Hall, is the third female president of the NSW Bar Association after Ruth McColl SC (1999-2001) and Anna Katzmann SC (2007-2009).
Her term as president will continue until the annual Bar Council elections in November, at which it is likely she will be appointed for a second term.
Historically, presidents have served two one-year terms, although the last three presidents (Tom Bathurst QC, Bernard Coles QC and Phillip Boulten SC) have served around 18 months each.
Last year, Needham received the Senior Barrister Award at the Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards. The 24-year veteran of the Bar was the NSW Bar Association’s senior vice president for 18 months prior to yesterday’s appointment.
Junior vice president Noel Hutley SC will replace Needham as senior vice president, with Arthur Moses SC stepping into Hutley’s former role.
The Bar Council has also appointed Boulten as a life member for “exceptional service to the Bar Association and to the profession of the law”.
In an email last week (23 May) announcing his resignation, Boulten said that it was in the “best interests of the Association to refresh the leadership”.
Chrissa Loukas SC will fill the casual vacancy on the Bar Council that has arisen from Boulten’s resignation.