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The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the world's largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, nonprofits and other private-sector organizations around the globe.

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ACC Australia members may be aware that in late October 2019, the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia (LPBWA) wrote to in-house practitioners in West Australia informing them they have 21 days to cease using the title “Senior Legal Counsel” or variants thereof which include the words “senior” and “counsel” (the “affected legal counsel” (ALCs)).

The letter requested that in-house counsel amend their title by ceasing to use the words “senior” and “counsel” in their position title, on the basis that this is misleading and potentially in contravention of the Legal Professional Regulations and the Legal Professional Act.

The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Australia, through the Advocacy Committee and the West Australian divisional committee has coordinated an extensive response on behalf of the West Australian in-house community.

This week ACC Australia was advised by the LPBWA, that at the recent Professional Affairs Committee meeting, a resolution was passed to amend the notice on the Board’s website. Importantly, this has the effect that no further action will be taken against in-house counsel who use the title in appropriate circumstances.

This amendment from the LPBWA is a significant outcome for the WA in-house community. It provides important recognition for in-house lawyers and ensures continuity in the use of professional titles. It also removes the possibility of establishing a dangerous precedent for in-house counsel across Australia.

ACC Australia, through our member led advocacy and state divisional committees are proud to support and advocate on behalf of the Australian in-house community. Outcomes such as these on behalf of our members are only achieved through the continued support of our members. We sincerely thank the ACC Australia advocacy committee and the ACC Australia WA divisional committee for their support of this advocacy campaign.