CEO Sonja Stewart to leave Law Society of NSW


The Law Society of NSW’s Chief Executive Officer Sonja Stewart will resign from Australia’s largest legal professional organisation towards the end of this month.

Ms Stewart was appointed in August 2020, as the nation was in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. She played a crucial role in keeping the wheels of justice moving during this challenging period, working with courts and tribunals to ensure NSW’s 40,000 solicitors could continue delivering access to justice.

Seizing the opportunity presented by the pandemic, Ms Stewart initiated a survey of Law Society members which found that ‘the vast majority of changed processes in the sphere of litigation were considered to have had a positive impact overall’.

That report, A fair post-COVID justice system, has provided a firm basis for the Law Society’s continuing advocacy for improved court infrastructure, including increased use of remote delivery of justice.

The Council appointed Ms Stewart at a time when the legal profession faced significant challenges. Under her leadership, the Law Society has introduced a new membership strategy; developed resources and programs relating to legal practice support and professional development and raised awareness of the work of the NSW legal profession through the recently launched Lawfully Explained campaign and podcast series.

Ms Stewart also worked with legal firms to eliminate gender gaps and pay and career expectations, resulting in the publication last month of Equitable remuneration in the legal profession.

The Law Society has benefited greatly from Ms Stewart’s expertise and passion for delivering a better justice system and a membership organisation with a new, dynamic strategic plan. Ms Stewart’s support was also invaluable in adopting modern governance reforms.

Ms Stewart tendered her resignation on 4 October 2023. The Council of the Law Society of NSW thanks Ms Stewart for her service and contributions to the Society and the legal profession.

Pending a recruitment process, the Council of the Law Society has appointed its Chief Operating Officer Mr Kenneth Tickle as Acting Chief Executive Officer.