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Legal Awards showcase profession’s best


Cite as: (2006) 80(12) LIJ, p. 18

The LIV has honoured Victoria’s top lawyers for their outstanding contributions to the law and community in 2006.

Victorian lawyers received accolades of the highest order at the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) Legal Awards on 10 November.

More than 160 guests at Federation Square’s Zinc paid tribute to 12 high achievers and 23 long-serving contributors to the legal profession.

LIV president Cathy Gale said the awards recognised practitioners’ great achievements and inspired others to pursue excellence in legal practice.

“We are very privileged in Victoria to have many outstanding solicitors who strive to improve the law, to assist individuals and minority groups, and to make a real difference in the communities they serve,” she said.

Rogers Legal Writing Award

Gadens Lawyers senior associate Jamie Richardson and Victorian barrister Michael O’Brien were jointly awarded the Rogers Legal Writing Award for the most outstand-ing contribution to the LIJ in 2005-06.

Their article, “Men in tight financial situations: litigation funding in the 21st century”, in the December 2005 edition alerted the profession to crucial developments in the area of litigation funding.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth partner Reynah Tang received a highly commended award for his August 2005 article “Service trusts: rewriting the rules”.

Judges said the timely article explained the implications of a long-awaited draft ruling by the Australian Tax Office on deductibility of service fees.

Certificates of Service

Ten practitioners received certificates of service for demonstrating professional excellence or making a special contribution to the profession.

Mallesons Stephen Jaques partner Frank Brody received his award for his contribution to the LIV Commercial Law Section and the State Taxes Committee.

During his 30 years of practice, Mr Brody has offered advice on stamp duties Australia-wide, state and territory taxes and the GST.

Also a member of the LIV Commercial Law Section, barrister Chris Furnell received a certificate of service for his expertise in state taxes and financial services.

Mr Furnell joined the LIV Financial Services Committee in 1992 and the Law Council of Australia (LCA) Financial Services Committee this year.

Office of the Public Advocate legal officer Philip Grano was recognised for offering his services as a barrister to people with limited access to legal assistance.

Mr Grano is an active member of the LIV Administrative Law and Human Rights Section and Disability Law Committee chair.

Arnold Bloch Leibler partner Ken Gray was recognised for his commitment to specialisation and understanding of its value. Mr Gray served on both the LIV Specialisation Board and the Property Law Advisory Committee for six years.

Kennedy Wisewoulds founding partner Bill Impey was honoured for his contribution to the LIV and LCA Family Law Sections.

With more than 30 years experience, Mr Impey specialises in complex financial disputes and property settlements.

Brian F Jacomb & Associates partner Brian Jacomb was recognised for his membership of the LIV Commercial Law Section, including 16 years on the Tax & Revenue Committee.

Mr Jacomb strongly opposed a federal Parliament Bill, which if passed would have denied lawyers the right to draft a notice of objection against a tax assessment.

McKean & Park Lawyers partner of more than 30 years Geoff Park was awarded for his longstanding membership of the LIV Property and Environmental Law Section.

Mr Park’s practice focuses on the administration of deceased estates, wills and inheritances.

From 1997 to 2005 Kevin Power was the LIV general manager of Professional Standards. He received a certificate for his involvement in developing a dispute resolution system for misconduct between clients and lawyers.

Phillips Fox partner Michael Regos was recognised for his contribution to the LIV Personal Injury Specialisation Advisory Committee, including six years as the committee chair.

Mr Regos also received the Accredited Specialists’ President’s Award for his work in medical negligence litigation, inquests, personal injury and insurance law in the health, insurance and financial services industries.

Mr Regos advanced the ongoing education of personal injury lawyers at many LIV conferences and seminars.

Middletons Lawyers partner George Stogdale received a certificate of service for more than 20 years of practice as a commercial litigator. He regularly reviews LIJ feature articles, columns and illustrations for possible contempt and defamation breaches.

50 Years in Practice

Thirteen practitioners were honoured for 50 years of LIV membership. They were:

  • Justice Rosemary Balmford – Supreme Court of Victoria;
  • Frederick Bathurst – Ballards;
  • Ian Campbell – Warren Graham & Murphy;
  • John Hewison – JTC Hewison;
  • Tadeusz Irlicht – Irlicht & Broberg;
  • Brian Kewley – Freehills;
  • John Mackey – Ryan Mackey & McClelland;
  • John Macmillan – Peterson Macmillan;
  • Edward Muntz – Brown & Proudfoot;
  • Sydney Powell – SB Powell & Co;
  • Reginald Schleiger – RH Schleiger;
  • Keith Skinner – Freehills; and
  • Patricia Strachan – Kell Moore Solicitors Pty Ltd.

President’s Awards

Ms Gale presented eight President’s Awards to recognise outstanding contributions that promote and advance the legal profession and benefit the community.

The Access to Justice Award was won by Coadys Barristers and Solicitors employee solicitor Vanessa Bleyer for her excellence in providing access to justice in forest and environmental matters.

Lawyers for Forests president, Ms Bleyer finds legal assistance, often pro bono, for individuals charged with criminal offences for protesting against logging in old growth forests and rare and threatened species habitats.

Garland Hawthorn Brahe partner David Brahe received the General Award for his work in valuation, land acquisition and compensation law during the past 35 years.

Both Victorian and New South Wales governments invited Mr Brahe to assist in the preparation of property law legislation.

The Legal Ethics Award went to Deacons corporate and commercial partner Richard Fleming.

Mr Fleming was an LIV Council member for three years from early 2002 and he also became LIV Ethics Committee chair in 2004. He helped develop the Information Barrier Guidelines which the LIV Council approved in April this year.

Kennedy Wisewoulds senior associate Catherine Dwyer, who specialises in com-mercial litigation and dispute resolution, won the New Lawyers’ Award.

Ms Dwyer joined the LIV Young Law-yers’ Section (YLS) and Professional Development Committee in 1999.

In 2004, she was vice-president of the YLS and became president in 2006.

The Pro Bono Award was jointly won by Theo Magazis and Joseph Theseira, both from Theo Magazis & Associates.

The award follows their involvement in the case of Van Tuong Nguyen, who was executed in Singapore for drug offences last year.

Mr Magazis became involved on a pro bono basis when barrister Julian McMahon asked him to assist in December 2002.

Admitted to practice in Singapore, Mr Theseira became involved in the case in 2003.

He visited Van Nguyen on a weekly basis and dedicated himself to the case.

He began his articles at Theo Magazis & Associates in February 2005, and was admitted to practice in Victoria in April 2006.

Lawyer of 32 years Dwyer & Willett Lawyers partner Richard Dwyer received the Regional Lawyers’ Award.

After serving as the Swan Hill City Council Mayor and Swan Hill Water Authority chair, Mr Dwyer moved to Bendigo in 1990 to establish his legal practice.

Most notably, he invited Victorian and New South Wales firms to join a consultancy group of lawyers to provide advice to thousands of farming families.

Phillips Fox partner Michael Regos [see page 19] won the Accredited Specialists’ Award, and Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre (RILC) principal solicitor David Manne won the Paul Baker Award and the Community Lawyers’ Award [see below].

The awards were based on calls for nominations promoted via various LIV publications.

Harriet Morley

Paul Baker Award for asylum aid

For almost 10 years the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) has awarded a Victorian practitioner the Paul Baker Award for an outstanding contribution in the field of administrative or human rights law.

Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre (RILC) principal solicitor David Manne was this year’s recipient.

Mr Manne has been an ardent defender of the rights of asylum seekers and refugees arriving in Australia for more than 10 years.

He consistently lobbies the Australian government and politicians to improve their treatment of asylum seekers and detention standards.

Mr Manne said the award honoured the work of his colleagues in providing justice during situations of abuse and hardship.

“It is about giving asylum seekers, refugees and migrants a face,” he said.

His contribution to the cause includes hours of free legal representation to asylum seekers from West Papua, East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

Mr Manne also won the Community Lawyers’ Award for his work on policy reform, community education, and advocacy on migration law and human rights issues.

“Using our legal expertise, we do as much as we can to ensure these issues are heard publicly,” Mr Manne said.

He also sits on the board of the Refugee Council of Australia and the Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture Ethics Committee.


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