Dan Rogers on QLS’s The Callover: Mistakes and Professional Development


Earlier this month I had the pleasure of featuring on the Queensland Law Society’s podcast The Callover, which focuses on unpacking issues for young lawyers. I spoke with host Georgia Athanasellis about practical steps that lawyers can take in the event of a mistake, and the importance of ongoing professional development and maintaining ethical standards throughout one’s legal career. This is against a backdrop of our firm regularly acting for solicitors and barristers who face complaints or professional discipline proceedings.




The most important thing when it comes to mistakes is to be upfront about them. We all make honest mistakes and mistakes are ok. The best way to deal with a mistake is to accept that it has happened, and be able to gain insight about how it happened so that it can be avoided in the future – it is better to fix the mistake than to try and hide them. I encourage lawyers, particularly young lawyers, who are faced with the consequences of a mistake, to turn to their supervisor where possible, or if confidential advice is required, to contact the QLS Senior Counsellors who are volunteers with 15 or more years of post-admission experience who provide advice on any professional or ethical problem. For information and practice support guidance regarding ethics, the QLS Ethics Centre also provides confidential guidance.


Professional Development


Professional development should remain a priority for lawyers of all ages. Constant learning is important throughout your legal career, to ensure that you understand and comply with your ethical obligations. I encourage lawyers to look to the QLS Guidance Statements, which are concise summaries of important conduct rules on specific topics.


Legal Services Commission Complaints


The Legal Services Commission (LSC) is a statutory body who receive and investigate complaints relating to the conduct of legal professionals. In serious cases, the LSC has the responsibility to file an application for disciplinary proceedings through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). The nature of complaints vary greatly. However, one of the main ways to expose yourself to a complaint is failing to give clear and early cost estimates to a client. Improper communications and the making of unfounded allegations are also problem areas for many clients.


What to do in the event of a complaint: Robertson O’Gorman’s Services


In the event that a complaint is made against you, it is of utmost importance to seek independent legal advice. Too often, lawyers react emotionally and respond before thinking about the best course of action. Reputational and personal damage resulting from these allegations can be significant, so it is important to understand your rights and obligations.


Robertson O’Gorman specialises in presenting all professionals who may face the unfortunate experience of being subject to a complaint that leads to their professional disciplinary body becoming involved. As well as for complaints through the LSC against solicitors and barristers, we can assist public service employees, teachers, child care workers, accountants, tax practitioners, doctors, nurses and students who are subject to proceedings before a number of statutory bodies.


We assist our clients to respond to complaints, participate in the investigatory process, in the making of oral and written submissions and if necessary, appeal a decision to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal or other appellate Commission or Court.


We pride ourselves on a thorough analysis of complex factual issues and a timely resolution of matters.


If you have a professional discipline issue you would like to discuss, please contact us so that one of our Professional Discipline Specialists can assist you.


  • You can listen to the episode (‘Mistakes and Professional Development’) through Spotify or iTunes, or read the episode’s transcript.



Contact us

Level 19, 179 Turbot Street Brisbane Qld 4001

ph: (07) 3034 0000
fax: (07) 3034 0099
email: mail@robertsonogorman.com.au