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History

The Law Society can trace its origins back to 1842, when a small group of solicitors recognised the need to ‘to promote good feeling and fair and honourable practice among members of the profession so as best to preserve the interests and retain the confidence of the public’.

Since then the Law Society has been given increasing statutory powers and played a diverse role in promoting and regulating the fair practise of law throughout NSW.

Now more than 125 years after it was founded, the Law Society is the largest and most influential direct legal membership association in Australia.

Significant milestones

1884

On 22 September, solicitors across the state vote to formalise the Society as 'The Incorporated Law Institute of New South Wales'. It's purposes were to reform the law, represent the profession and encourage the study of law

1885

The Institute’s first Annual Meeting of members

1935

The Legal Practitioners Act cemented the Institute’s power to regulate solicitor’s trust accounts and administer the Solicitors Fidelity Guarantee Fund, discipline members and issue annual Practising Certificates

1947

First Annual Dinner held

1952

Women Lawyers Association of NSW formally constituted

1956

Inaugural annual convention of regional law societies

1959

The Institute purchases the current site at 170 Phillip Street in Sydney

1960

Institute renamed The Law Society of New South Wales

1962

Young Members Committee (later to become NSW Young Lawyers) established

1963

The Law Society Journal first published 

1970

Law Society Building officially opened in Phillip Street

1970

The Law Society establishes Legal Aid NSW

1973

Law Society helps establish The College of Law, replacing the former Articles of Clerkship, with a full-time Practical Legal Training Course for graduates intending to enter practice as solicitors

1973

Young Members Committee renamed the Young Lawyers committee

1974

Legal Practitioners Act amended, giving the Council of the Law Society powers to appoint inspectors to examine the trust accounts of solicitors

1975

The College of Law officially opens

1980

New South Wales Young Lawyers formed with its own constitution rules and by-laws

1981

First female President of the Law Society, Mahla Pearlman

1982

Creation of Mock Trial Competition for NSW high school students

1983

Establishment of Law Week in NSW

1987

Section 71 of the Legal Practitioners Act amended, enabling the Council of the Society to establish a scheme of mandatory continuing legal education

1989

The Law Society establishes the Law Industry Superannuation Trust (LIST), later to merge with LISS (Vic) to form legalsuper1991: LawCare established

1992

Office of the Legal Services Commissioner established to be the first point of contact for complaints about solicitors

1992

Creation of the Specialist Accreditation Scheme

1992

Creation of the Law Society's Pro Bono Scheme

1993

The Legal Profession Act is amended, giving statutory powers to the Law Society to make professional rules

1996

Solicitors Limitation of Liability Scheme established (now Law Society of NSW Scheme)

1996

Law Society newsletter, Caveat, goes online

1996

Launch of the Law Society of NSW Website: Law Society Online

2001

Establishment of the Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP)

2001

LawCover Insurance Pty Ltd is granted a licence by APRA

2004

On July 1, the application of the National Competition Policy (1998) shifts membership to a voluntary basis

2004

Launch of Monday Briefs e-newsletter for Law Society members

2009

Launch of Young Lawyers Mentoring Program 

2009

Introduction of the Compliance Analysis Review Scheme (CARS)

2009

The Law Society celebrates 125 years as the professional association for solicitors in NSW

2011

Launch of Lawyers Guide to Sanity, Profitabililty & Wellbeing seminar series

2011

Establishment of the Member Assistance Program (MAP)

2011

Launch of Will Awareness Day in NSW

2011

Major refurbishment of the Law Society Building in Phillip Street completed

2011

Launch of Advancement of Women in Profession Report & Recommendations

2011

Launch of My CLE Library, an online video podcast service for members

2011

Introduction of the Law Society’s first formal Thought Leadership program

2011

Creation of the Young Lawyers Mental Health and Wellbeing portal

2011

Launch of the Law Society LinkedIn members group and Twitter account

2012

Launch of Mock Mediation program for high school students

2012

Launch of Small Practice Portal for small firms & sole practitioners

2012

Launch of Law Society Reconciliation Action Plan

2012

Launch of the Law Society of NSW Women’s Mentoring Program

2012

The Specialist Accreditation Program celebrates 20 years in NSW

2013

Young Lawyers celebrates its 50th Anniversary

2013

Launch of the CareerHub

2013

Launch of new newsletters Momentum, Scope, The Big Picture, In the House, EQ, Your CPD Program, Practice Connexions and Specialist Matters 

2013

Launch of Practice Connexions program specifically for small law firms

2013

Launch of Facebook page targeting new lawyers

2013

LawAsia Secretariat established at 170 Phillip Street

2013

Advancement of Women in the Profession Progress Report published

2013

Launch of the 'Know Your Rights' campaign

2014

Launch of LSJ - replacing the Law Society Journal, and an app

2014

New 24-hour telephone crisis support service and specialist panel introduced

2014

Launch of Public Record newsletter for government lawyers

2014

Launch of the Law Society Job Board

CONTACT

  • Law Society of New South Wales
  • 170 Phillip Street
  • Sydney NSW 2000
  • DX 362 Sydney
  • T: (02) 9926 0333
  • F: (02) 9231 5809
  • E: lawsociety@lawsociety.com.au