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What's the latest for the Law Society on the Central Coast?

Michelle Meares, Pauline Wright, Val Richardson, Roesmary Long, Elizabeth Espinosa

September Dinner with NSW Law Society President Elizabeth Espinosa

Dinner Meeting – 18 September 2019 at L’isle de France, Terrigal

Many of you attended the dinner meeting where our guest speaker was the NSW Law Society President, Elizabeth Espinosa, who spoke about a wide range of issues effecting the profession. It seemed that everybody had an enjoyable night, at what was a great venue.

On the night Rosemary presented Dominic Nash and in absentia, Natasha Konic, with the Law Society of NSW 25 years of admission recognition Certificates.  We also presented Stephen Cutler with our Certificate of Acknowledgement for his 50 years of admission as a legal practitioner and of his longstanding membership of the Central Coast Law Society.

 

Ryan & Seton Lawyers win 2019 Regional/Suburban Firm of the Year

Rosemary Long, Rachel Willis and Michelle Meares

Central Coast Lawyers donate $4,000 to Domestic Violence Program

The Central Coast Regional Law Society, which represents more than 180 lawyers across the Central Coast today donated $4,000 to ‘Rondeley’, the Central Coast’s Domestic Violence Program which provides crisis accommodation and assists with finding more permanent housing for women and children escaping domestic violence on the Central Coast.

The donation will be used for two “Get House Ready” kits. The kits, which include whitegoods and appliances will assist Rondeley to furnish new homes for women and children leaving their homes to escape domestic violence.

On 20 August 2019, Rosemary Long, President of the Central Coast Regional Law Society and Michelle Meares, one of its Committee members delivered a cheque for $4000 to Rachel Willis, Chief Executive Officer of Coast Shelter on behalf of the Rondeley Program. Ms Long said: “Lawyers on the Central Coast deal with the victims of domestic violence on a daily basis through the Gosford and Wyong Local and District Courts and the family lawyers of the Central Coast are also assisting clients with domestic violence regularly.”

Recent Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) data shows the Central Coast rate of domestic violence is on a sharp increase and the region now has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in New South Wales. In 2017, the region overtook Blacktown with a rate of 76.1 personal AVOs per 100,000 population compared to the south west Sydney area’s 56.2 AVOs. From 2017 to 2018, the rate of increase of domestic AVOs on the Coast has alarmingly doubled.

The grant was made with the assistance of a Regional Grant from the Law Society of NSW. The Central Coast Regional Law Society is one of 29 regional law societies within NSW which represents and advocates for its members at the Law Society of NSW.  A grant is available annually for each region from the Law Society of NSW and the Central Coast Law Society chose this year to assist Rondeley Domestic Violence Program (part of Coast Shelter) which supports women with or without children who are escaping domestic violence. The Rondeley Program provides practical and moral support, as well as crisis accommodation in five cottages, following which the staff can assist clients secure more permanent housing.

A Central Coast woman who recently was assisted by the program to set up a new home for herself and her children said “it was a very dangerous situation for myself and the children and Rondeley supported me from when I first made contact with the program. They kept myself and the children safe and didn’t judge me. I doubt I could have been strong enough to leave without their support. I felt like I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel without them. Their program helped me regain my strength and helped me get back on my feet again.”

The Opportunity Collective

Central Coast Women’s Leadership Program – The Opportunity Collective   

Several local lawyers participated in the The Opportunity Collective’s Central Coast Women’s Leadership Program in 2019. On Wednesday 14 August 2019 awards were delivered by Central Coast Mayor Jane Smith and Councillor Jilly Pilon to mentors and participants upon successful completion of the program. The Opportunity Collective was started by MacMasters Beach local Suzy Miller and aims to help women achieve leadership positions and improve the economic development for women, in regional areas of Australia.

Michelle Meares and Danielle Captain-WebbLocal lawyers, Melanie Taylor from Scope Legal and Michelle Meares from Watts McCray Lawyers volunteered as mentors for the 5 month program in 2019. Ms Meares mentored Danielle Captain-Webb, an indigenous criminal lawyer from Legal Aid Gosford.

Ms Captain-Webb said of the program: “Having a mentor to springboard ideas off, motivate and encourage me through the duration of the Opportunity Collective program has been an extremely valuable experience and I would encourage everyone to learn more about/apply for the program. It also allowed me to align my ideas and goals in a clearer way and allowed me to focus on perfecting work/life/balance”

The Central Coast Women’s Leadership program has been running for 2 years on the Central Coast and pairs women in pre to middle management roles with women and men in senior leadership. The program has won NSW Business Chamber Awards and been a fantastic success.  There are mentors and participants this year from the Department of Finance, Central Coast Council, Fairhaven, Mars Group, Dashing Group, Job Centre Australia, Legal Aid, Hammond Care, Gosford Private Hospital. Star 104.5, Bounce Partners, NSW Better Regulation Department, NSW Police and Uniting.

Thanks to funding support from Central Coast Council – Community Development Fund, The Opportunity Collective were able to offer five scholarship positions for Indigenous women or women from a disadvantaged background on the Central Coast in the 2019 program.

The Opportunity Collective is now running in Newcastle and Maitland and recruiting for mentors and participants in the 2020 Central Coast program. Both men and women are invited to participate as mentors with former Gosford Mayor and CEO of Newcastle Jets, Lawrie McKinna a mentor for the Women’s Leadership Program in Newcastle in 2019.

For more information contact Suzy Miller on 0435 143 199 or visit www.theopportunitycollective.org.au

 

Bay to Bay Running Festival 2019

Many hardy lawyers were brave enough to run in the Bay to Bay annual event on Sunday 16 June 2019. The Central Coast Law Society Team of nearly 30 members comprised of lawyers and administrative staff completed the 12 km run/walk from Woy to Woy to Gosford with our committee member Louise McDonald completing the 28 km half marathon. A great day was had by all and the event involving more than 3,000 runners overall raised over $100,000 for Central Coast charities including Camp Breakaway, the Central Coast Local Health District and St Brendan Catholic School’s The Hive Program.

 

Dinner Meeting with Judge Costigan – 5 June 2019

Special General Meeting (SGM) & Special Resolution
At the Special General Meeting on 5 June 2019, twenty-eight members in attendance, including proxies, voted unanimously in favour of a motion to repeal the Constitution of the Central Coast Law Society and adopt the new Constitution.  The purpose of the amendments was to update provisions generally, set a maximum number of the Committee at 12 members, and tidying up some minor drafting issues.

Dinner Meeting on 5 June 2019
Following the Special General Meeting, the dinner meeting was held at the Reviver Bar in Gosford.  Federal Circuit Court Judge Jane Costigan spoke at the meeting and it was very pleasing to see so many members turn out on what was a very cold night, and in competition to the State of Origin match.  Judge Costigan spoke about the amendments to the Family Law Act in relation to the family violence and cross examination scheme, with the pivotal change being that as and from 10 September 2019 personal cross examination will be banned in family law proceedings in certain circumstances where allegations of family violence have been raised, to prevent a party asking questions of another party or witness directly, rather than having questions asked by a lawyer.  The ban exists because personal cross examination by an alleged perpetrator can expose victims of family violence to re-traumatisation, and affect their ability to give clear evidence.  Download a Fact Sheet from Legal Aid NSW summarising the changes.

 

Jerome Doraisamy – Dinner at the Savoy

We held our first dinner for 2019 at The Savoy, Long Jetty on Wednesday 27 March 2019, which was sponsored by the Young Lawyers. The guest speaker was Jerome Doraisamy, who spoke eloquently, and knowledgably about the need for all of us to look after our own mental health and wellbeing. Jerome himself has suffered his own mental health problems from being in a very stressful environment, so he spoke from experience. There was a very good turnout – about 60 or so attendees, and it was a very enjoyable night. The venue was something quite different, being the old picture theatre, and Michael Williams remembered seeing Jason and the Argonauts when the theatre was open in the 1960s, and Michael Nash recalled seeing Ben Hur. The venue catered very well with the drinks and food, including delicious pizzas. Thanks to Taylor Marks and Nick Fagan for organising the event.

September Dinner – Michelle McMahon Barrister

Michelle McMahon Barrister from 6 St James Hall Chambers addressed the Central Coast Law Society on Scope and Limitation of the Home Building Act and provided us with an update on Parsons and Anor & Masson [2018] FamCAFC 115 on Wednesday 19 September 2018 at the Member’s Dinner at Bamvino.

Pictured above is Michelle McMahon, Barrister; Kim Healy, Secretary of Central Coast Law Society; Rosemary Long, President of Central Coast Law Society and Val Richardson, Committee Member of Central Coast Law Society.

Immediate Past President of Law Society of NSW Pauline Wright (middle) with Central Coast Young Lawyers Representatives Michelle Meares (left) and Taylor Marks (right)

Central Coast Young Lawyers Networking

In August 2018 our Central Coast Young Lawyers held a networking event at the Tame Fox in Erina.

Immediate Past President of the NSW Law Society and Central Coast Lawyer Pauline Wright was the guest speaker providing our members with an insight into her journey from being a young lawyer to president of the Law Society. Pauline Wright is pictured above with Central Coast Young Lawyers Representatives Michelle Meares – left and Taylor Marks – right.

There is a closed Facebook Group for Central Coast Young Lawyers and an email list. If you would like to join and come along to our next event, please email either of the Central Coast Young Lawyers Representatives Taylor Marks at taylorm.ccyl@gmail.com or Michelle Meares at mmeares@wattsmccray.com.au.

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