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DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF ALL: A History of the Law Society of New South Wales


$40 Law Society members
$45 General public
* all prices include GST and postage and handling


What would become of society if it were not for the due administration of justice? How can justice possibly be separated from the law? Or from the professional man to whom the administration of the law is entrusted?

So argued the Chief Justice James Dowling in 1842, in the face of a move to establish courts without lawyers in the young colony of New South Wales.

The debate galvanised a small group of legal gentlemen to create a Society which would support the profession’s honour, independence and respectability and “promote fair and liberal practice therein”.
Almost 175 years on, that small group of men has grown to close to 30,000 men and women practising as solicitors in New South Wales. The Society which represents them, though, works to the same ideals – upholding the honour of the profession, ensuring the administration of justice and defending the rights of all.


MICHAEL PELLY (LLM:UNSW) is a journalist with more than 30 years’ experience who has held senior writing and editorial positions at Fairfax and News Limited. He also has been an advisor to State and federal attorneys-general and writes a regular legal affairs column for The Australian. His first book, The Smiler, a biography of High Court Chief Justice Murray Gleeson, was published in 2014.

CAROLINE PIERCE has more than 25 years’ experience in magazine, newspaper and book publishing. She has worked as a feature writer and newspaper columnist, edited early education books and worked as a production editor in magazines and digital media. She worked closely with Michael Pelly on The Smiler.