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Victorian Golden Gavel Competition Spectators

Victorian Golden Gavel Competition Spectators

Date & TimeWednesday 22 August 2018 7.30–9.30am
Format Social & Networking





CPD Units NA
Venue The Events Centre, Collins Square, 727 Collins St, Melbourne View Map

They have previously kept their identities a secret but now our super competitors have sworn to use their powers of truth, justice and debate to take down the villains of the legal world...

Further details below. Register a table of 10 for only $660 on this page or by emailing

Further Details

  • Full Description

    Which legal hero will save the day?

    They have previously kept their identities a secret but now our super competitors have sworn to use their powers of truth, justice and debate to take down the villains of the legal world.

    The Law Institute of Victoria is searching for 10 super-human competitors to battle it out on stage for the chance to win the Victorian Golden Gavel along with bragging rights for their firm and a spot in the National Golden Gavel Competition.

    Our legal heroes will be given 24 hours to prepare their topics and five minutes to give an out-of-this-world performance (solo heroes only, no sidekicks allowed).

    With great power comes great responsibility, so grab your cape and attend what is sure to be an unforgettable Victorian Golden Gavel Competition.

    Book single tickets or a table of 10 to witness this ultimate battle.

    The Golden Gavel Competition

    The Golden Gavel is a national public speaking competition endorsed by the Law Council of Australia. It sees the best and brightest young lawyers in each State and Territory represent their firm and association before an audience of legal professionals from around Australia.

    Each State holds their own competition to determine finalists to compete in the national competition. The Victorian event has been held continuously since 2009 and is open to 10 competitors (one per law firm). The event comprises a panel of three adjudicators who will critique each presentation (the LIV President, a member of the judiciary, and a high-profile media guest). Competitors each receive a humorous topic with only 24-hours to prepare a 5-minute presentation to the audience. 

  • Judges and Moderators

    Belinda Wilson, President, Law Institute of Victoria

    Belinda is the 2018 president of the Law Institute of Victoria and has served on various committees over the last 10 years, including chairing the Awards Committee, and is a past president of the Gippsland Law Association. She is the Managing Director of Aligning Strategies, aligning legal, government and industry knowledge. Belinda also is a Director of the Victoria Law Foundation and sits on the State Government’s Fisheries Cost Recovery Standing Committee. In 2011 Belinda was named as Regional Lawyer of the Year, awarded by the Law Institute of Victoria, and in 2012 was named as the Victorian Young Property Lawyer of the Year by the Law Council of Australia.

    Conor O'Bryan, Lawyer, Arnold Bloch Leibler, 2017 Victorian Golden Gavel Champion

    Every four years, when the Winter Olympics roll around, Steven Bradbury gets on the speaking tour. Conor is much the same with the golden gavel. An undeserving and unqualified winner to begin with, he has fast learnt to spike up the hair when the occasion presents. Conor was labelled “just quick and cheap, without the comma” at last year’s golden gavel. As a judge, it’s likely to be more of the same.

    Justice David Beach

    David Beach was once a solicitor. He was not particularly good at that, so he became a barrister. After being a barrister for a longer time, he got sick of losing so many cases in the Court of Appeal (his record was 13 in a row) so he became a judge. As a trial judge, he still lost the occasional case in the Court of Appeal so (on the ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ principle) he joined the Court of Appeal. He now no longer loses cases in the Court of Appeal (although he has been known to lose the odd one in the High Court). Originally he was sentenced to 20 years on the Court with a non-parole period of 16 years. He still has 6 years to go before being eligible for parole.


    Master of Ceremonies

    MC Michael Shafar

    Michael Shafar is a comedian and joke-writer for Channel 10's The Project. He is also a lawyer, but chose to pursue a career in comedy of his own volition, and certainly NOT because he was rejected from ABL, Minter Ellison, Herbert Smith Freehills and several other firms where he clerked or performed work experience. He has agreed to host this event because when you're a comedian and you get offered a free breakfast, you do not turn it down.

  • Meet the Competitors

    Alice Cooney – Lawyer – Office of Public Prosecutions Victoria

    Alice is the true definition of a Legal Super Hero.

    BAM to trial openings, POW to exhibit lists, ZAP to subpoenas!

    As a solicitor prosecuting criminal trials, Alice fights crime just like Batman - by night, whilst running a multimillion dollar company by day… well actually, Alice works in Government..….mostly during the day, officially only in court from 10:00am – 4:00pm…

    Alice started her friendly neighbourhood crime fighting training working as a fairy for kid’s birthday parties and at Blockbuster Video (no capes!), so her superhero pop culture knowledge has been firmly entrenched. Most recently having worked at Victoria Police Prosecutions and at the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office, Alice knows the superhuman effort required to juggle court lists, self-represented litigants and prisoners with a lot of time to initiate proceedings.

    Though yet to have her own action figurine, Alice hopes that a successful effort at the Golden Gavel may result in a movie of her life titled ‘The Lawyer’ and bring that dream to fruition. Very proud to represent the super heroes of the Office of Public Prosecutions, Alice hopes to reveal the secrets of being a crime-fighting super hero! *(subject to any claim of public interest immunity and exclusions on admissibility). 

    Jack Stoneman – Law Graduate – Arnold Bloch Leibler

    Biography rhymes with photography? Calligraphy? I ponder this to myself as I sit down at 7 pm on a Friday night to write mine own of the aforementioned. If that fact alone doesn’t give you an insight into the inner machinations of my mind, then I doubt anything else that I write will. To the factual stuff. Born 1992. Thoroughly enjoyed my childhood and youth. Questioning the value in adulthood. Hoping to revert as quickly as possible.

    James Gullaci – Graduate Lawyer – Maddocks

    Born with a dizzying array of phobias, including a fear of moths, clowns, and balloons, James has now decided to confront his fear of public speaking by attempting to make 200 of Australia’s sharpest legal minds laugh at the 2018 Golden Gavel. Possessing no comedic experience, James has, much like a blind assassin, decided to take a stab in the dark.

    Will James succeed in eliciting some sympathy laughs? Will he bring the house down? Or will he literally disintegrate out of sheer panic? There’s only one way to find out.

    James Tselios – Lawyer – Hunt and Hunt

    Rumoured to be the forgotten son of Archimides, James began his career as an economic advisor for the Greek government. After his shady dealings with Jared Kushner and the Kremlin were exposed in a John Oliver special, he fled to Melbourne and enrolled in the Monash JD. Having discouraged him from opening a criminal law firm called 'Better Call Tsel', friends and loved ones are now hopeful that James' career in commercial law will finally set him on the straight and narrow. James is confident that his side gig as the lead singer of a mariachi band will hold him in good stead at this year's Golden Gavel.

    Joel Belleli – Graduate-at-law – Clayton Utz

    A three time swimming carnival participation award medallist, Joel prides himself on his tenacious competitive spirit. After several meeting with HR and an increase in his firm's professional indemnity insurance, Joel was successfully chosen to compete in the 2018 Golden Gavel. He is hoping success in the competition will finally earn the respect of his colleagues.

    Having recently discovered that strawberry shampoo doesn’t taste as good as it smells, Joel's inquisitive and curious nature will hold him in good stead for his legal career to come. Well known for his personal biography, Memoirs of a Graduate, Joel intends to implement his creative acumen come Gavel morning. He prefers his puns intended, can believe it's not butter and hopes to one day remember to take the rubbish out on bin night.

    Kelvin Ng – Law Graduate – Norton Rose

    As the son of two speech pathologists, learning to speak was never going to be an issue for Kelvin; the problem has always been getting him to stop talking. He was inspired to pursue a career in law after studying “Crime and Punishment”, only to realise later that this choice was a self-imposed form of the latter. His idea of a fun time at university consisted of pedantically bickering with other people, otherwise known as debating. Not much has changed as a graduate lawyer, except now he gets paid to do so.

    Sally Milner – Lawyer – Corrs Chambers Westgarth

    Sally lives by two mottos. First, ‘never buy anything that is hand-wash only’ and second, ‘what would Beyoncé do?’. Much like Beyoncé’s not well-known pre-Destiny’s Child life, Sally started her career in HR before being swayed into the world of corporate law at Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

    Making her first appearance at the Golden Gavel, Sally hopes to leverage her vast knowledge of celebrity baby names into any of the topics that the LIV may throw at her.