8 months ago

LSB April 2018_Web


THE LAW SOCIETY: WORKING FOR YOU Membership highlights KATE WALKLEY, ASSISTANT MANAGER, MEMBER SERVICES The Society is the voice of the South Australian legal profession. In 2017 we delivered results for Members in the following key areas: ADVOCACY & LOBBYING Lobbying for positive outcomes for the legal profession in SA The Society: • Made 96 Submissions to government and other key organisations, with extraordinary support from its Special Interest Committees • Participated in the Legal Aid Matters campaign • Established an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee and signed up to an Equality and Diversity Charter • Adopted the National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy of the Law Council of Australia • Launched the Women Lawyers’ Mentoring Program • Advocated on behalf of the profession in the form of the State Budget Submission and subsequent scorecard • Represented the views and interests of South Australian practitioners at State and national level PREMIUM CPD CPD by practitioners and specialists, for practitioners The Society: • Held 75 CPD activities, including the Law Society Forum in February, which attracted almost 800 practitioners over two days • Ran four free CPD sessions • Hosted the National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference in conjunction with the Australian Pro Bono Centre and the Law Council of Australia QUALITY PUBLICATIONS Informing Members about changes in legislation and key issues affecting the legal profession The Society: • Launched Advocacy Notes e-newsletter – a snapshot of the latest news and advocacy from the Society • Commenced What’s On! e-newsletter – featuring all Society CPD and Networking events • Commenced Compliance News e-newsletter for trust accounting staff & designated persons • Commenced In the News – daily e-newsletter advising current media items with a legal perspective • Received particularly high member satisfaction ratings for InBrief and The Bulletin WELLBEING & RESILIENCE Support for you and your family The Society: • Made 86 referrals to members of the Society’s Support Groups or to Dr Jill (via the LawCare Coordinator) • Launched the Health & Wellbeing Online Program • Promoted mental health and wellbeing by hosting the “Great Debate” during Mental Health Week • Published a Wellbeing & Resilience guide PROFESSIONAL ADVICE & SUPPORT The Society provides numerous support services including: • Specialist trust accounting, practice and ethical support. • Lawyers Support Group and Young Lawyers Support Group. • Complaints Companion Service. • Practitioner Alerts. • Indigenous Law Students’ Mentoring Scheme COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Raising the profile and reputation of the legal profession The Society: • Marked 25 years of the Litigation Assistance Fund assisting civil claimants in South Australia • Coordinated 28 teams in the Mock Trial Competition • Assisted 122 members of the community through the Advisory Service • Made over 29,500 referrals of members of the public to legal practitioners, through the Legal Referral Service SOCIAL & NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES Connecting you with the legal profession The Society: • Hosted a special event to recognise the start of the new legal year which attracted extremely positive responses from all attendees • Re-introduced the Medico Legal Dinner • Coordinated 53 Social & Networking events for Members • Hosted small practice events • Hosted young lawyer events • Reached out to country practitioners via visits by the President and Chief Executive to each of the three country districts 16 THE BULLETIN April 2018

FEATURE How the Litigation Assistance Fund helps people pursue legitimate civil claims ANNIE MACRAE, FUND MANAGER, LITIGATION ASSISTANCE FUND If you have clients with civil claims (seeking proceeds of some sort) who are struggling to pay their fees or disbursements, the Litigation Assistance Fund (LAF) may be able to help. LAF is a charity which exists only to help people fund their legal cases. The Society acts as the Fund’s trustee. LAF began operations 25 years ago with a grant of $1 million but since then has not received any further external funding. LAF has a self-sustaining financial model, meaning that when cases supported by LAF are successful, LAF receives a relatively small portion of the case proceeds. All such revenue is then used for the continued operation of the Fund, i.e. helping further litigants. Day-to-day LAF is run from the Society by me and my Administrative Assistant, Jane Robinson. In the background are 33 practitioners from around the profession who volunteer their time to assess the funding applications received. They are all experienced practitioners who are appointed by the Society’s Council. LAF is governed by a Board, currently chaired by Jo-Anne Deuter of Anthony Mason Chambers, with Deputy Chair Peter Jackson of Xenophon & Co Lawyers. How do you know whether or not LAF may be appropriate for a particular client’s case? The matter cannot be a criminal charge or a family law matter, and the client must be seeking to obtain proceeds of some sort (and which cannot be merely a costs order). Usually the client must be a resident of South Australia, and any Court action would need to take place in South Australia. The client must also meet a Means Test and a Merits Test – both of which can be complex. LAF’s Manager Annie MacRae therefore invites any practitioners to contact her to discuss the Tests in relation to any potential applications. To summarise these Tests: • a client can own an unmortgaged home and car, and have an annual family income of $150,000, and meet the Means Test; • the Merits Test is LAF’s assessment of the likelihood that the case will be successful, i.e. that proceeds will indeed be achieved by the client. In cases where the solicitors and counsel (if any) are acting on a no win, no fee basis, funding can be sought for disbursements only. That might include court fees, transcript fees, witness fees, medical reports or other types of expert reports, etc. In cases where the solicitors and counsel are NOT acting on a no win, no fee basis, funding can be sought for these fees as well as for disbursements. Either way, funding is considered/granted on a stage-by-stage basis throughout the life of the case. A funding application can be made to LAF at any stage in a matter, and the amount sought can be as little or as much as is wished. If the client is ultimately not successful in obtaining proceeds, then LAF seeks no reimbursement or recovery whatsoever. To learn how to make an application, and generally to find out more, please visit the LAF page on the Society’s website, or contact Annie MacRae: E: T: (08) 8229 0263 ANDREW BARNES We are available to facilitate private mediation or a conciliation style conference in family law matters. SHARON THOMAS Andrew is a nationally accredited mediator and has over 35 years experience as a family lawyer. Sharon was a Registrar at the Family Court of Australia from 1999 until 2012. Sharon has conducted thousands of hours of conciliation conferences and has also undertaken numerous mediation training courses provided by the Family Court. Our offices are designed to accommodate mediation. We have 5 conference rooms available which means there is sufficient space for parties and solicitors to confer individually and in group sessions. There is no additional charge for the use of our offices. Level 4/420 King William Street, Adelaide SA 5000 P 08 8110 2302 F 08 8212 2646