The Value of the Suburban Law Association

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The article The Value of the Suburban Law Association is written by Kate Da Costa, Senior Associate, Doogue + George Defence Lawyers.

Kate is one of our senior associates and is part of our Sunshine team. She regularly represents clients at the Sunshine Magistrates’ Court for various criminal legal issues.

Admitted to legal practice in 2002, Kate has since been working exclusively in the field of criminal law. She has experience in all Victorian criminal law jurisdictions including in the High Court of Australia.


Having started life as a lawyer at a small criminal law firm in the northern suburbs, I learned the unique sense of community that comes with suburban legal practice early in my career. Years later, and with time in the city in between, I am once again based in suburban practice. Albeit now on the other side of town, legal practice in the western suburbs has a familiar sense of connectedness to the local community.

With the number of Australian lawyers practising in suburbs increasing significantly in the last decade, Lawyers Weekly recently reported by as much as 87 per cent,1 membership with the local Law Association is as important and valuable to suburban practice as ever.

Through the Suburban Law Associations, members have a simple avenue to actively participate in and contribute to the local community. Membership benefits also include learning and legal update opportunities, such as participation in regular professional development events. Importantly, membership provides an easy and enjoyable way to connect with fellow practitioners, and to grow a network of local colleagues specialising in different practice areas.

With the generous support of the Law Association of Victoria (LIV) there are five suburban Law Associations across Melbourne. They are professional, voluntary and not-for-profit associations, committed to providing support for their members.

While each Association is unique, generally the aims of the Suburban Law Associations are to:

  • Promote positive professional and social relationships between local members;
  • Educate members and keep them up to date on changes to legislation, policies and procedures through CPD presentations;
  • Seek and maintain avenues to support local not-for-profit community groups and local businesses;
  • Where possible, introduce students and young lawyers to the legal profession and encourage their participation and development.

Appreciation of community connectedness seems to be a common trait amongst those who have chosen to practice law in the suburbs, and with the impact of COVID-19 restrictions being felt by all, maintaining a strong network of support through the local Suburban Law Association has never been so important.

To join your local Law Association go to: https://www.liv.asn.au/Membership/Law-Associations

To join the Western Suburbs Law Association, contact Kate Da Costa, Vice President/Secretary: kate@doogue.com.au


[1] https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/sme-law/32078-the-rise-of-the-suburban-lawyer

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