The Piddington Society Inc was formed in 2010 by two Perth lawyers, Chris Bates and Nicholas van Hattem. The name comes from Albert Bathurst Piddington, a lawyer, politician and reformer.
With a belief that professional development, collegiality and supporting community legal centres can go together, the Society has become a sophisticated organisation which works tirelessly to further justice.
Supporting Justice, seeking collegiality
We sourced our name from Albert Bathurst Piddington, Australia's shortest serving justice High Court.
Inspired by his brevity, and commitment to justice, in 2010 we began by organising relaxed and informal professional events. It worked on the premise that lawyers were not being provided with enough quality opportunities for collegiate hospitality.
Chris and Nick wanted a way for practitioners to come together, learn and engage with each other in a social environment. From this one of our core beliefs was developed:"you don't write an angry letter to someone you've had a drink with".
In 2013, the Piddington Bali Law Conference was held for the first time. Our capstone event, held annually on the WA Day long weekend in June, is an opportunity for lawyers to come together in a collegiate way to undertake continuing professional development.
Our annual calendar of events now includes five CPD Masterclasses, three CPD lecture events, and as well as the Bali conference. We firmly believe that Piddington is for the profession - wherever practitioners are - we have held sessions in Kalgoorlie, Broome and on Rottnest, as well as online CPD.
furthering justice in the community
With our belief in furthering justice, we understood that community legal centres were seriously underfunded and lacked capacity. Simultaneously it has long been clear that employment opportunities for law graduates are diminishing.
So, we formed the Piddington Justice Project (PJP), where the Society collaborates with community legal centres. The first PJP cohort commenced in 2016.
The law graduates complete their 80 days of legal practical training required to be admitted to the profession in one of our partner centres, and the centres receive a monetary donation from the Society to assist with their funding.
The majority of PJP graduates have gone onto employment in the law, and continue to work in and support the community law sector.