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2007 LIV Legal Awards winners

News

Cite as: (2007) 81(12) LIJ, p. 20


Victoria’s top lawyers have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to the legal profession and beyond.

The heroism, dedication and excellence of Victorian solicitors were celebrated at this year’s Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) Legal Awards.

The awards also marked the passing of fellow solicitor, good Samaritan Brendan Keilar [see breakout “Brendan Keilar remembered”, page 22].

More than 160 guests paid tribute to the Norton Geldhill lawyer, whose brave act of going to the aid of a woman in trouble on 18 June proved fatal.

The legal profession gathered at Federation Square’s Zinc on 9 November to also congratulate the 11 high achievers and 16 long-serving contributors to the law.

LIV president Geoff Provis said the awards acknowledged the work of solicitors who strived to improve the law, assisted individuals and minority groups and made a difference in their communities.

“They help increase the community’s respect for the rule of law and advance the reputation of the profession on behalf of all of us,” Mr Provis said.

Rogers Legal Writing Award

Mallesons Stephen Jaques partner Emilios Kyrou was awarded the Rogers Legal Writing Award for the most outstanding contribution to the LIJ (Law Institute Journal) in 2006/07.

Mr Kyrou’s article, “Legal professional privilege: essential requirements, key trends and future developments”, appeared in the March 2007 LIJ.

The article explored the requirements for attracting legal professional privilege, the approach of the courts and the situation of privilege and inhouse counsel.

Judges said the article was topical, informative and of vital interest to an increasing number of inhouse counsel and to the profession as a whole.

Nicholes Family Lawyers partner Sally Nicholes received a highly commended award for her October 2006 article, “Sharing the care: the new parental responsibility and child support regimes”.

The timely article explained the federal government’s Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006, which was introduced on 1 July 2006.

Certificates of Service

Six practitioners received certificates of service for their contribution to the LIV or the community.

Former LIV Personal Injury Law Specialisation Advisory Committee member Donald O’Halloran was awarded for his work in establishing the assessment criteria of the practice area’s examination material.

Mr O’Halloran dedicated much of his 10 years on the committee to helping members sit the exam.

The late Robert Dobson of Dobsons Lawyers was honoured for his 23-year involvement with the Ballarat & District Law Association, including his contribution as treasurer.

Mr Dobson was a member of the association until his death from cancer on 15 April 2005.

The award was accepted on his behalf by Ballarat & District Law Association president Justin Burke.

Maeve O’Brien & Associates consultant Geoffrey Bonsall received a certificate of service for his contribution to the LIV since 1976.

Mr Bonsall’s 30-year involvement in the LIV Family Law Section and the Maintenance and Property Committee was significant.

Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission lawyer Jamie Gardiner was awarded for his seven years of service to the LIV’s Administrative Law and Human Rights Section.

Mr Gardiner has been a key contributor to LIV submissions and lobbying for a Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, same-sex legal entitlements and the proposed Relationships Register.

Five year LIV Human Rights Committee member John Rutherford received a certificate of service for his role in founding the Indigenous Issues and Reconciliation Committee in 2005.

Mr Rutherford has been instrumental in drafting correspondence to the federal Attorney-General in relation to the UN Special Rapporteur Report on Australia’s human rights compliance.

Adams Maguire Sier partner Vin Sier was awarded for his significant contribution to developing a joint Northern Suburbs Law Association and Southern Solicitors Group conference.

Mr Sier generously contributed to the Northern Suburbs Law Association, the LIV Ethics Committee and the Law Council of Australia.

50 Years in Practice

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

  • William Cleland – White Cleland;
  • Brian Smyth – BR Smyth;
  • Aubrey Schrader;
  • Peter Shattock – Aitken Walker & Strachan;
  • Geoffrey Dawson – FRE Dawson & Son;
  • Ian Townsend – Doolan Kemp & Townsend;
  • Ian Koltay – Koltay & Myers;
  • Patrick Cannon – Patrick J Cannon Coburn & Associates;
  • George Cattermole – Taylor & Whitty; and
  • Gregory Gray.

President’s Awards

Mr Provis presented nine President’s Awards to recognise solicitors’ outstanding contributions that promote and advance the legal profession and benefit the community.

The Access to Justice Award was won by first-year Blake Dawson lawyer Cecilia Riebl for her excellence in providing pro bono assistance to marginalised and disadvantaged clients.

Ms Riebl is a volunteer lawyer for the PILCH Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic.

(continued page 24)

(from page 21)

She joined a Blake Dawson team to act on behalf of the Human Rights Law Resource Centre in the High Court appeal against the conviction and sentence of Jack Thomas, who had been charged with terrorism offences.

Retired Glezer Lanteri & Associates Pty Ltd lawyer Annemaree Lanteri received the Accredited Specialists’ Award for work as a family law lecturer and tutor at the University of Melbourne.

Ms Lanteri was responsible for teaching many current family law practitioners, including several who have obtained accreditation through the LIV Specialist Accreditation Scheme.

Ms Lanteri was a member of the LIV Family Law Section for 15 years, including three years as chair. She was also chair of the LIV Specialisation Board for five years.

PILCH Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic executive director Kristen Hilton won the Community Lawyers’ Award for her management of more than 150 pro bono lawyers who assist almost 500 homeless people each year.

Ms Hilton established a Consumer Advisory Group which advises the clinic on where its services are targeted.

She also helped to establish a new clinic in conjunction with Corrs Chambers Westgarth and the Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders, to specifically target pre and post-release prisoners and families who are at risk of homelessness.

Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office commercial and property branch manager Sue Nolen received the Government Lawyers’ Award.

During Ms Nolen’s 20 years of practice, she has developed a particular specialisation in government procurement and outsourcing arrangements.

Ms Nolen has advised government in relation to the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority Act 2004, the redevelopment of the St Kilda foreshore, and tender and auction for aquaculture leases at Port Phillip Bay.

The Legal Ethics Award was won by TressCox Lawyers litigation partner Jason Newman, who was an LIV Councillor for three years and has served on the LIV Ethics Committee since 2000.

Mr Newman gives presentations on practical legal ethics for the LIV, the first of which was titled “Sticky Wicket Ethics: The ethical problems that keep bowling us over”.

Hunt & Hunt partner Nieva Connell received the Pro Bono Award for her work in an ongoing freedom of information appeal against the Victorian government for Heather Osland.

Mrs Osland is seeking reasons why the Victorian government did not grant her a petition of mercy for the killing of her violent husband.

Ms Connell and the firm are in their fourth year on the case and are now preparing a special leave application to the High Court of Australia.

The Regional Lawyers’ Award was won by retired Deakin University solicitor Judith Meagher.

Ms Meagher was admitted to practice in 1966 and was always committed to advancing the legal profession in the Geelong region as a Geelong Law Association committee member.

She taught in the Deakin School of Management, assisted with the establishment of the Deakin Bachelor of Laws, and served as the first Bachelor of Laws Coordinator and inhouse solicitor.

The LIV President’s Honorary Award went to the late Brendan Keilar and Honorary Life Membership was accepted by Erskine Rodan & Associates partner Erskine Rodan [see breakouts “Brendan Keilar remembered”, page 22 and “Double recognition”, page 23.]. Harriet Morley

Brendan Keilar remembered

Victorian solicitors paid tribute to the heroism of Norton Gledhill property development lawyer Brendan Keilar, 43, at this year’s Legal Awards.

LIV president Geoff Provis dedicated the President’s Honorary Award to Mr Keilar, for his good Samaritan act of trying to save a woman before he was fatally shot on 18 June.

Mr Provis said LIV members were inspired by Mr Keilar’s courage and the posthumous award was given in recognition of his brave actions and his legacy.

“He is remembered as a hero by many in the legal profession and by thousands of Victorians who did not know him, but who were shocked by the terrible pointlessness of his death,” he said.

Mr Provis said he was told by those who knew Mr Keilar that he would not have hesitated to protect someone who could not defend herself.

“In fact, Brendan’s wife Alice said that for him ‘to have ignored such an injustice would have, in his mind, made him a party to it’.

“Brendan Keilar was a talented partner with Norton Gledhill.

“He was noted by his colleagues for his feistiness, his ability to cut through to the key issues in a matter and for making accurate judgments, but most importantly for his unwillingness to take a backwards step.”

Norton Gledhill partner Bruce Cameron accepted the award on behalf of the Keilar family.

Another of the firm’s partners, Roland Burt, said Mr Keilar’s significant property transactions included Beacon Cove, Yarra’s Edge and Watergate at Docklands, the Melburnian, and Kew Cottages.

“While he didn’t do the bricks and mortar, Brendan’s contribution to our urban environment was real,” he said.

The Victorian government has committed $250,000 and the federal government $350,000 to a trust fund to support Mr Keilar’s widow and three young children.

A Victorian government spokeswoman said the details of the fund were still being finalised with the family.

Christopher Wayne Hudson remains in custody charged with the murder of Mr Keilar and the attempted murder of Dutch backpacker Paul De Waard.

Mr Hudson’s court proceedings continued before Magistrate Phillip Goldberg last month.

Double recognition

Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) Councillor of 22 years Erskine Rodan has been made an Honorary Life Member of the LIV.

Mr Rodan was recognised for his contribution to the LIV and the community during his 28 years of practice.

On accepting the award, Mr Rodan called for Victorian lawyers to form a constructive dialogue with government to re-assert society’s fundamental values.

“The rule of law in our country is constantly being hijacked by the Executive [federal government], especially since the Senate Committees have been neutered,” he said.

“We need to ensure integrity of the law ... we need a fundamental rights statement to be made at the federal level to reduce the opportunity of the Executive to make further inroads into the rule of law.”

Mr Rodan, who has built one of Australia’s premier immigration legal practices, Erskine Rodan & Associates, was instrumental in establishing immigration law as a specialist practice area, and played a major role in introducing the LIV Administrative Law and Human Rights (AL&HR) Section, of which he was chair for 13 years.

He helped establish the Eastern Suburbs Community Legal Centre, set up partnerships between legal and non-legal organisations, pioneered the use of bonds for shoplifters instead of fines, and promoted the use of duty solicitors and the establishment of women’s refuges.

Other Honorary Life Members include Supreme Court Justice Bernard Teague, David Jones, ex-premier John Cain, Dr Gordon Hughes, Ian Dunn, Alan Cornell and Roger Batrouney.

Mr Rodan also won the prestigious Paul Baker Award for his outstanding contribution to human rights law.

The LIV AL&HR Section established the award in 1998 to honour the late Paul Baker – a former AL&HR Section chair.

As a human rights activist, Mr Rodan lobbied governments on anti-terror laws, the detention of asylum seekers, the incarceration of David Hicks and other legislation that contravenes civil liberties and human rights.

He was actively involved in the Tampa refugee case and provided legal services to applicants and increased awareness of the issue nationally through the media.

Mr Rodan said winning the two awards was the greatest moment of his legal career.

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