Victoria names new legal services chief

The state has appointed a seasoned lawyer to oversee its legal regulatory regime

Victoria names new legal services chief
Victoria has picked a seasoned private- and public-sector lawyer to oversee the state’s legal profession.
 
Fiona McLeay been appointed as both the Victorian Legal Services commissioner and as CEO of the Victorian Legal Services Board. She succeeded Michael McGarvie, who stepped down in 2017 after eight years in the roles.
 
As commissioner, McLeay handles complaints about lawyers and law practices. The board handles all other legal profession regulation, including the registration of lawyers, external interventions of law firms, and oversight of lawyer trust accounts. The board also administers funding for the legal system, legal services, and legal education.
 
McLeay has more than two decades’ experience in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. She is the former chief executive of Justice Connect, which was formed by the merger of the Victorian and New South Wales office of the Public Interest Law Clearing House in 2013. She was also general counsel of World Vision Australia.
 
McLeay was also a special counsel at Clayton Utz. In private practice, she specialised in construction and major projects.
 
“This unique role combines my strong belief in the importance of the law, and the role of lawyers in upholding the rule of law, with my commitment to social justice,” McLeay said.
 
Fiona Bennett, who chairs the Victorian Legal Services Board, said that McLeay’s experience working in private law firms as well as for not-for-profit organisations gives her a unique perspective on professional practice and the needs of consumers of legal services.
 
“Those qualities will assist the board and commissioners to continue working towards a more cost-effective, proactive, and risk-based regulation model, whilst supporting the profession and protecting the interests of consumers,” Bennett said.
 
Fiona McLeay
 
 
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