NSW Legal profession leaders gather in Armidale


The New England city of Armidale is this week hosting two days of meetings of the state’s leaders of the legal profession as they discuss the future for practicing law in NSW.

President of the Law Society of NSW Joanne van der Plaat said the Armidale meetings of the Law Society Council and Regional Presidents had been planned for last year but were derailed by COVID-19.

“I’m delighted that we’re at last able to gather together members of the Law Society Council and the Presidents of our regional Law Societies here in Armidale,” Ms van der Plaat said.

“Despite the chilly temperatures this time of year, Armidale always offers a warm welcome to visitors. I’m particularly looking forward to spending some time at the University of New England (UNE) Law School.”

The visit of the Law Society’s councillors and Regional Presidents will be the first since UNE Law School introduced its ground-breaking subject Technology in the Law in 2020.

“This subject draws together many of the features the Law Society identified in its Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession (FLIP) report which will be central to the practice of law and delivery of justice into the future,” Ms van der Plaat said.

“Each graduating student entering UNE Law School from 2020, will leave this university having learned the fundamentals of artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain and other developing technologies.”

Councillors and Regional Presidents will also have an opportunity to visit NOVA, the UNE’s Smart Region Incubator established in the former Armidale Library. NOVA is a shared workspace designed to help grow small businesses with mentors, researchers and corporate and community partners.

Ms van der Plaat will also visit NEGS with ‘old girl’ and President of the North & North West Law Society, Natalie Scanlon, where she’ll encourage students from Years 5-12 to include the law among their ambitions for a future career.

Another event that’s had to be cancelled since the onset of the pandemic is the UNE Law Students’ Society’s Law Ball. Ms van der Plaat said she is honoured to be the keynote speaker as the event returns on Saturday night.

“The effective practice of law depends on a sense of collegiality throughout the profession. The Law Ball is a great opportunity for students to cement the meaningful relationships with peers they’ll need to succeed in law, while giving those so inclined a chance to kick up their heels!”

More than thirty councillors and Regional Presidents are expected to be in Armidale for the meetings tomorrow and Friday.