Council & Executive


The governing body of the Society is its Council. The Council is comprised of six office bearers, together with sixteen Metropolitan Members (eight female and eight male), three Members representing practitioners from country areas, two Members representing newly admitted practitioners; and the Attorney General and the Deans of the Law Faculties of the University of Adelaide, UniSA and Flinders University as ex-officio Members. 


The Council elects one of its current or former office bearers as the Society’s representative to the Law Council of Australia. The person elected is ex-officio a Member of the Council if not already a Member of the Council in another position.


Therefore, there can be up to thirty-one Members of Council (or more, if the Council co-opts additional Members).


The Council has delegated to the Executive most of the powers associated with management of the affairs of the Society, reserving policy and some other powers to itself.


The Executive of the Council of the Law Society is comprised of a President, the Immediate Past President, a President-Elect, two Vice Presidents, a Treasurer and two other Members drawn from the non ex-officio Members of Council.



James was admitted to practice in December 1985.  James then worked as a graduate law clerk, Associate to a Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia and a para-legal at a magic circle firm near St Paul’s, London, and at a boutique firm in Covent Garden.  In 1988, James returned to Adelaide to join a long-established Adelaide firm of commercial solicitors.  James became partner in 1996.  In 2019, James joined a global law firm as senior partner upon the establishment of that firm’s Adelaide office.  James has experience in all aspects of commercial litigation with an emphasis on contracts, insolvency and disputes involving land.  James has frequently appeared as counsel.   James has conducted trials in the Magistrates Court and the District Court.  James has presented argument in the Supreme Court on interlocutory and appellate matters and in the Federal Circuit Court and the Federal Court on interlocutory matters.  In 2021, James commenced practice as a barrister at the South Australian independent bar.  James was elected to Council in late 2018.

Rule 3 of the Society’s Rules sets out our objects, which are essentially three: to be the independent voice for all lawyers in South Australia; to uphold the rule of law; and to drive excellence in the practice of the law.  The altruistic dimension of the legal profession is reinforced by the oath or solemn promise that all lawyers admitted to practice by the Supreme Court of this state are required to give, which is to uphold the administration of justice.


The Law Society has a proud history of representing all lawyers.  In his speech delivered on 26 November 2004, to commemorate our 125th anniversary, the Honourable John von Doussa K.C., celebrated our history.  He noted the unequal role of women.  In the ensuing years, the position has improved but there is still work to do to promote representation of women in the Law Society.


The current Government’s ambitious legislative agenda will require the Society to engage in the detailed work necessary to strike the right balance between policy goals and upholding the rule of law, including protection of basic rights.  Our committees and advocacy staff are ready for the detailed work that will be required, even if we risk being at odds with the populist sentiment of the day. 


The State Parliament is actively considering a voice for indigenous Australians, with both major parties promoting draft legislation.  Equality of opportunity for indigenous Australians and the plight of the indigenous community in lower-than-average life expectancy, health, education, employment and higher than average incarceration rates, are matters of grave concern.  The Law Society has much to contribute to seeing that legislation implemented in a satisfactory way.


The legal profession remains committed to maintaining excellence in practice.  The pace of technological change, the inexorable rise of data theft and the spectre of being made responsible for anti-money laundering measures may be daunting.  The Society will continue to support practitioners in addressing those issues, including by positive programmes for targeted training on the threat of cyber-crime.


The Society will continue the provision of continuing professional development.  It is the responsibility of a profession to educate itself and maintain its standards. We will continue to strengthen further our delivery of education and support services to the profession and enhance the collegiality of the profession in the process.


In 2004, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was advanced by the Honourable John von Doussa K.C., as the pivotal benchmark against which the Society should evaluate its activities.  On 10 October 2022, during the tenure of my predecessor, Justin Stewart-Rattray, the Society’s Council adopted as policy the support of the adoption of a legislative Charter of Human Rights in South Australia.  In 2023, the Society will continue its work in that regard.

Office Bearers

Alex Lazarevich has experience in commercial litigation since 1995. Prior to commencing at the bar in 2004, Alex worked in Minter Ellison's commercial disputes section, at a boutique commercial law firm, Johnson Lawyers, and at the Attorney General's Department. Alex has an interest in all areas of commercial and industrial law including property, trade practices, building and construction, wills and estates and insolvency. He is chair of the Civil Litigation Committee. Alex is also an accredited NMAS mediator. 

Marissa is a barrister at Anthony Mason Chambers and specialises in taxation, banking and finance, bankruptcy and corporate insolvency, administrative law and regulatory litigation.  She also has a keen interest in employment and migration law.

Marissa was admitted to practice in 2009, following completion of a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice. She has also completed a Master of Laws specialising in Corporate, Commercial and Taxation law.

Marissa has been an active member of the Law Society and has been a member of and is current Chair of the Women Lawyers Committee. In 2018 she was appointed to Council before becoming a member of the Executive in 2022. She has presented numerous CPDs and authored a number of articles for the Law Society Bulletin and also teaches Banking & Finance Law and Corporate & Commercial Practice as part of the Law Society’s GDLP program.

Marissa is also President of the Women Lawyers Association of South Australia and a member of the South Australian Bar Association.

Outside of the law Marissa enjoys spending time with her family, running and travelling.