Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes has reappointed Fiona McLeay as the Victorian Legal Services Board CEO and Commissioner for a second five-year term.
Since taking up the role in 2018, Ms McLeay’s strong leadership and clear vision have seen the VLSB+C evolve into a best practice regulator – striking the necessary balance between helping lawyers perform at their best and taking firm action to protect consumers when needed.
Some of her achievements as CEO and Commissioner include:
- establishing a Consumer Panel to better understand the perspectives of those who access legal services
- becoming the first Australian legal regulator to proactively address sexual harassment in the legal profession, including surveying lawyers about its prevalence and pioneering an anonymous online reporting tool
- enabling a more holistic view of compliance activities, including assuming full responsibility for conducting trust account investigations and handling complaints about barristers
- increasing funding to our grants program to support the vital work of community and legal organisations across Victoria
- building closer ties with our funded organisations like Victoria Legal Aid and Victoria Law Foundation, the professional associations and our Uniform Law Partners to drive better outcomes for the public, lawyers and consumers
- undertaking research into lawyer wellbeing and developing new resources to promote healthier workplace culture in the law
- launching a new Corporate Plan to set out priorities through to 2024, enshrining access to justice as a key strategic objective for the organisation
- commencing work on a Reconciliation Action Plan to improve our relationship with First Nations peoples and meet their needs more effectively
- successfully navigating the organisation through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms McLeay, whose second term commences on 8 January, said she was keen to hit the ground running in 2023:
“We have clearly defined areas of focus as we ramp up our efforts to protect and empower consumers, improve legal practice and ethics and improve access to justice for all Victorians. As always, our relationships with the Law Institute of Victoria, the Victorian Bar, our Uniform Law partners and other stakeholders will be critical. Only by working together can we achieve the best results and make the biggest impact.”
Victorian Legal Services Board Chairperson Fiona Bennett said:
“I am delighted Fiona has been reappointed to the position of CEO and Commissioner. Over the past five years, she has demonstrated her commitment to consumer protection and championed fresh regulatory approaches that respond to changes in the profession. I know she will continue to give her all to the role and I am glad to continue working alongside her.”
Background on Fiona McLeay
Fiona was formerly CEO of Justice Connect and has previously held the positions of General Counsel at World Vision Australia and Special Counsel at Clayton Utz. She was appointed Director and Board Chair of Health Justice Australia in 2016 and is Deputy Chair of Equality Australia. Fiona was the inaugural Deputy Chair of the Australian Non-for-Profit and Charities Commission Advisory Board for five years and was on the Board of the Human Rights Law Centre from 2010 to 2017. She has degrees from the Universities of Melbourne, New South Wales and New York and has attended both the Harvard and Stanford Business Schools.
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