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The Law Society of New South Wales is a professional association which represents over 29,000 solicitors in Australia.[1][2] The Law Society has statutory powers and regulates the practice of law in New South Wales.[3]

Law Society of New South Wales
Formation1842 (formally 1884)
Official language
Key people
Michael Tidball, CEO

The Law Society of NSW encourages debate and actively drives law reform issues through policy submissions [4] and open dialogue with Governments, parliamentary bodies, the Courts and the Attorney General's Department. It ensures the general public has appropriate access to justice and can be easily connected to members of the profession when they require legal advice.

Along with the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner, the Law Society sets and enforces professional standards,[5] licenses solicitors to practise, investigates complaints and administers discipline to ensure both the community and the profession are properly served by ethical and responsible solicitors.



The Law Society was informally started in 1842.[6] In 1884, the society was formalized as "The Incorporated Law Institute of New South Wales", and had its first annual meeting the following year.

In 1960, the institute was renamed to "The Law Society of New South Wales". In 1963, the Society started publishing "The Law Society Journal". The society also established The College of Law in 1973, the Legal Practitioners Act in 1987, Law Industry Superannuation Trust (LIST) and LawCare in 1989, and the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner in 1992.

List of presidentsEdit

Year Name Employer
1884-1891 John Williams[7] NSW Crown Solicitor
1892-1908 William Hilson Pigott[8]
1909-11 F Curtiss
1912-14 EA Smith
1915-17 HCE Rich
1918-20 AM Hemsley[9]
1921-23 AC Stephen
1924-26 DW Roxburgh
1927-29 MAH Fitzhardinge
1930-32 AN Littlejohn
1933-35 JE Gosling
1936 APN Dalrymple
1937-39 WG Forsyth
1940 JW Stevenson
1941-43 WJ Baldock
1944-45 JG Crowther
1946 D Barron
1947-49 AE Abbott
1950 GA Yuill
1951-52 RZ de Ferranti
1953-54 WER Francis
1955-56 LW Taylor
1957-58 TGD Marshall
1959 NL Cowper
1960-61 John Watling Partner, Sly & Russell
1962-63 K Smithers
1964-65 BJ McDonald
1966-67 WRD Stevenson
1968-69 CH Dunlop
1970-71 JK Bowen
1972-73 JR Broadbent
1974-75 Alan Loxton
1976-77 MM Hooke
1978 DG Barr
1979 DG Mackay
1980 AJ Mitchell
1981 MJ Gill
1982 Mahla Pearlman
1983 DE McLachlan
1984 Rod McGeoch
1985 F Herron
1986 Kim A Garling
1987 KH Dufty
1988 WV Windeyer
1989 BE Thornton
1990 GM Roberson
1991 DA de Carvalho
1992 John R Marsden Founding Partner Marsdens
1993 John Nelson Partner Gadens
1994 DG Fairlie
1995 DM Stack
1996 ND Lyall
1997 PV Fair
1998 RK Heinrich
1999 Margaret C Hole
2000 John FS North
2001 Nick K Meagher
2002 Kim Cull
2003 Robert JC Benjamin
2004 Gordon A Salier
2005 John E McIntyre
2006 June McPhie
2007 Geoff J Dunlevy[10] Partner, Rhodes Kildea
2008 Hugh I Macken
2009 Joseph J Catanzariti[11] Partner, Clayton Utz
2010 Mary J Macken
2011 Stuart D Westgarth[12] Partner, HWL Ebsworth
2012 Justin J Dowd[13] Partner, Watts McCray
2013 John C Dobson[14]
2014 Ros E Everett[15] Partner, Everett Evans
2015 John F Eades[16] Partner, Noyce, Salmon & D'Aquino
2016 Gary S Ulman[17] Partner, Minter Ellison
2017 Pauline Wright Partner, PJ Donnellan & Co

Structure and organisationEdit

The Law Society is governed by an internal Council, the Legal Profession Act of 2004 and the Corporations Act of 2001. The Council meets monthly and has 21 elected members who sit for 3 year terms and one appointed member who sits for 1 year. The Council has 2 country lawyer councillors, 2 suburban lawyer councillors, 2 city lawyer councillors, 2 corporate lawyer councillors, 2 government lawyer councillors, 2 large firm lawyer councillors, 1 NSW Young Lawyers councillor (appointed), and 8 general councillors.[18] Law Society Councillors sit on the boards of LawCover (legal insurer), the NSW Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund, the Legal Profession Admissions Board, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (among others).

The Law Society has 23 committees devoted to different aspects of law.

Pro-bono workEdit

The society started a voluntary "Pro Bono Scheme" in 1992.[19]

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "The Law Society of New South Wales Homepage". The Law Society of New South Wales. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Professional Standards Council Home". New South Wales Professional Standards Council. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  3. ^$file/Scheme_LawSociety_Summary_nsw_20062011.pdf retrieved 2010-10-27 Archived 30 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ retrieved 2013-09-24
  5. ^ retrieved 2013-09-24
  6. ^ "Law Society of NSW - History". Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  7. ^
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  10. ^ ;
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  18. ^ "Law Society of NSW - Council". Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  19. ^ "Law Society of NSW - Pro Bono Scheme". Retrieved 28 December 2010.