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Legal awards: LIV awards distinguished service

Legal awards: LIV awards distinguished service

By Carolyn Ford


Congratulations go to the winners of the 2021 LIV Legal Awards for their valuable contributions. 

Fourteen Victorian lawyers are recipients of the 2021 LIV Legal Awards.

Honorary Life Membership of the LIV is awarded to Bill O’Shea and Steven Stevens.

Honorary Life Membership is the highest honour the LIV can bestow on a member. It recognises significant achievements, service and contribution to the LIV, legal profession and community over a distinguished career. 

The Distinguished Service Award is awarded to Suzanne Bettink, Eila Pourasgheri, Anthony Riordan, Tim Robinson and Frank Tisher. 

The Distinguished Service Award recognises individuals who have rendered significant and distinguished service of a high degree to the LIV or the legal profession over an extended period of time.

The President’s Award for Outstanding Service is awarded to Bettina Evert, Lena Hung, Aaron Jolly, Greg Reinhardt, Antonella Terranova, Amanda Toner and Melinda Walker.

The President’s Award for Outstanding Service recognises a voluntary contribution to the LIV or legal profession over and above what might reasonably be expected, in a particular field.

LIV president Tania Wolff congratulated the award winners and thanked them for their outstanding contributions. 

“Each of the 14 individuals recognised this year has made a significant contribution to the legal profession and the community over years and decades, some over their entire careers.

“Their extra efforts change people’s lives for the better, which is at the heart of why it’s done.

“On behalf of the LIV, I’d like to thank the 14 members, some in the relatively early stages of their careers in the law, some towards the end, for their efforts and their care. There is no doubt that the LIV, the profession, the community and the laws of Victoria have benefited from the input of this group of lawyers.”

The awards, to be presented in coming months, are given this year for the first time since 2019 when the awards and recognition framework was reviewed and refreshed. Following a strategic review, which included consultation with staff, management, members and Council, the LIV committed to a new line-up of prestigious awards to better recognise and celebrate member contributions to the profession, the LIV and the community.

Profiles of the 2021 LIV award winners follow.

Portrait of Bill-O'Shea, white haired older man in blue suitBILL O’SHEA has been an LIV member since 1988. Mr O’Shea has made a significant contribution to the LIV, the legal profession and the community over many years. He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2019 for significant service to the legal profession and the community.

A later lawyer, after initially working as a teacher, Mr O’Shea studied law at the University of Melbourne while working as a speechwriter and ministerial adviser to then-Premier John Cain. He was admitted to practice in 1988.

Previously managing partner and head of the commercial law practice at Hunt & Hunt, and senior associate at Minter Ellison, he became Alfred Health’s first general counsel in 2003. He was foundation chair of the College of Law Victoria board and is an honorary fellow of the College. 

Mr O’Shea was president of the LIV in 2003 and a member of the LIV Council for seven years. He is also a life member and past president of the Australia China Business Council in Victoria, chair of the Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct since 2012, a member of the International Legal Services Advisory Council, chair of the LIV Elder Law Committee since 2018 and long-standing member of the Health and Elder Law Committees since 2013.

Portrait of Steven Stevens, grey-headed older man in blue suit and blue tieSTEVEN STEVENS has been an LIV member since 1988. Before joining the legal profession, he was a taxation partner specialising in state taxes and the taxation of financial services.

In his career he has represented industry organisations in negotiations with state and territory revenue bodies and with the ATO on tax issues. He has presented on GST, mergers and acquisitions, trusts and restructures. 

Mr Stevens’ notable contributions to the legal profession include LIV president in 2010 and a member of LIV Council 2003-2011. He was a recipient of the LIV President’s Honorary Award in 2014. He is a former chair of the LIV Rules of Practice Committee and the LIV Governance Portfolio and former member of the LIV Access to Justice, Audit and Ethics Committees. He is also a member of the LIV Commercial Law, Property and Environmental Law Sections.

He was a director of the Law Council of Australia (LCA), a member of the Legal Services Council and inaugural chair of the Professional Ethics Committee of the LCA. He was on the Professional Ethics Committee of the International Bar Association, and a past member of the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration and the Victorian government’s State Taxes Consultative Council. 


Portrait of Suzanne Bettink, light, bob-style haired older woman wearing a blue top and black cardiganSUZANNE BETTINK, a member of the LIV since 1983, is known as the legal practitioner guru when it comes to the Children’s Court of Victoria. An LIV Accredited Specialist in children’s law, she supports practitioners across the state, proving selfless in the time and dedication she gives to the work and the jurisdiction, and is regarded as the single most influential practitioner on the development of Children’s Court practice. 

As a specialist advocate, Ms Bettink has represented countless children and families in some of the most difficult legal proceedings. But she has been most influential through the mentoring, training and support of lawyers in youth law. She began practising as a duty lawyer at Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) in the Children’s Court and Magistrates' Court in 1990. Since 2007, she has been Professional Support Lawyer (youth law), but as well as supporting VLA’s children’s law practice, including developing its youth crime specialised training program, she provides support to all lawyers practising in the Children’s Court. She has ensured resources she has created are widely available and provides on-going training and support to practitioners across Victoria. 

Ms Bettink was a founding member of the LIV’s Accredited Specialisation (AS) in Children’s Law program, which began in 2012. She helped design it, provided resources and assisted with drafting the first exam. She also helped create and manage the AS exam support programs.

At the LIV, Ms Bettink has been a member of the Criminal Law and Family Law sections and the Children and Youth Issues Sub-Committee, contributing to policy submissions and committee member updates on legislative changes, proposed bills, policy reform, practice changes and recent cases.  

Portrait of Eila Pourasgheri, Black, curly shoulder-length haired woman wearing black jacket and white top.EILA POURASGHERI, a member of the LIV since 2000, has long championed social justice and the work of lawyers in Victoria’s efforts to improve responses to family violence. 

Before Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence, the role of lawyers and the justice system broadly in supporting clients affected by family violence was poorly recognised. Ms Pourasgheri saw that lawyers are commonly exposed to complex dynamics and distressing client experiences, and has advocated for trauma-informed family violence professional development, thereby building legal and client skills while also meeting the wellbeing needs of lawyers. 

Her advocacy to the state government, has led to programs to support lawyers providing best practice, trauma-informed legal assistance to people affected by family violence. 

In addition to her dedicated role as Director of Education and Engagement at Women’s Legal Service Victoria, Ms Pourasgheri has volunteered at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Eastern Community Legal Centre and Fitzroy Legal Centre. 

Portrait of Anthony Riordan, grey-haired and grey-bearded older man, with round glasses in a blue suit and red tie.ANTHONY RIORDAN joined the LIV in 1975 and was admitted to practice in 1976. He recently retired as a partner of Cornwall Stoddart where he held a tax law practice following 36 years as managing partner of Riordan’s Lawyers. 

Mr Riordan has volunteered on LIV committees for decades, including the Taxation and Revenue Committee for more than 30 years. He has represented the LIV on advisory and consultation panels with the ATO, provided commentary on law reform issues and delivered numerous papers and presentations for the LIV. He is a past recipient of LIV certificates of service. He has also promoted various ATO programs, volunteered with the LCA Tax Committee, the Tax Institute of Australia, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and NZ and the LPLC.

Portrait of Tim Robinson, Bald older man, in a blue suit and blue tie.TIM ROBINSON was admitted in 1980 and joined the LIV in 1981. He started his career with RA Lewis & Associates, progressing to partner a few years later. The firm became Robinson Gill. 

Mr Robinson encourages high quality lawyering. He became an  LIV Accredited Specialist in family law in 1990 and commercial litigation in 1993. He has also encouraged Robinson Gill lawyers to pursue LIV accreditation. 

He became president of the Eastern Suburbs Law Association in 1988 for several years, was a board member of the Eastern Community Legal Centre and involved in duty lawyer schemes at Box Hill Magistrates’ Court which expanded to Ringwood and Heidelberg, enabling thousands to access legal advice and giving lawyers the opportunity for meaningful volunteer work. 

For 25 years, Mr Robinson was a member of the VFL Tribunal, eight years as chair. He also served eight years on the Law Aid Trust and has mentored many young lawyers instilling in them professional skills, a passion for the law and service to the broader community. 

Portrait of Frank Tisher, white-haired older man with glasses, in blue suit and blue tie.FRANK TISHER has been a member of the LIV since 1968. He has volunteered on a variety of boards and committees over his long career, and is one of few lawyers who remains an active working partner in a law firm at the age of 77.

Mr Tisher did his articles in 1968 and in 1970 started his own practice which he merged with Dennis Liner to co-found Tisher Liner & Co in 1972. It will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. In 1993, he was in the first intake of lawyers to gain specialist accreditation in property law.

Mr Tisher created an environment for junior lawyers to gain experience and offered opportunity for professional development by guiding them. He has been a strong mentor for law students and junior lawyers over many years and has supported the firm’s ongoing development and commitment to pro bono work for various community organisations. His passion for giving to the community has been a driving factor.

Mr Tisher’s considerable professional and community accomplishments include membership of the LIV Property Law Committee and president and board member of the Emmy Monash Home for the Aged, 1997-2018. He is a former committee member of the National Gallery Society of Victoria, library fund trustee chair of the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation, board member of the Jewish Museum of Australia since 2009, president of the Maccabi Tennis Club since the early 1990s, legal director of the Australasian Gastro Intestinal Research Foundation, president of the Ajax Ski Club 1996-2000 and foundation committee member of the Lorne Sculpture Committee 2005-2007. He was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2014 for services to aged care, cultural and sporting organisations, and an LIV 50 years service award at a ceremony in 2019. 


Portrait of Bettina Evert, Blonde, shoulder-length haired older woman in a red jacket and black top.BETTINA EVERT has been a member of the LIV since 1984. She has been extensively involved in the LIV’s section committee network and has made extensive contributions to law reform submissions.

During her career, Ms Evert has had roles with multiple appeals, disciplinary and other boards in the accounting and medical professions, and in the courts representing the LIV. They include the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, CPA, Chartered Accountants ANZ, the County Court, the Supreme Court and the Federal Court. 

Ms Evert has chaired the LIV Litigation Executive Committee, the LIV Court Practice Committee and the LIV Courts Committee. 

Portrait of Lena Hung, dark-haired woman in a black jacket and black and white top.LENA HUNG has been a member of the LIV since 2002, serving as Administrative Law and Human Rights (ALHR) Section chair since 2019. An LIV Accredited Specialist in immigration law, she was LIV Migration Law Committee co-chair in 2018 and an active member for many years. Ms Hung is also chair of the Deregulation Working Group, involved in assisting the LIV to help lawyers transition through removal of dual regulation for immigration lawyers. In 2020 Parliament passed a bill removing migration lawyers from regulation by the Office of Migration Agents Regulation Authority. Ms Hung has been integral to the creation of the LIV Migration Lawyers Directory, which has more than 150 lawyers listed and continues to grow. This volunteer work was done on top of a busy schedule ensuring her own practice and employees transitioned smoothly. As well, Ms Hung contributes to submissions, stakeholder meetings and informing the LIV on migration issues affecting clients and practitioners. She also reviews ALHR Section submissions, ensuring members’ concerns are heard and raised with the LIV.

Portrait of Aaron Jolly, Dark-haired man with glasses in a blue suit, pink shirt and blue tie.AARON JOLLY has been a member of the LIV since 2011. An LIV Accredited Specialist in wills and estates, he was elected president of the Geelong Law Association (GLA) in 2015, serving until March 2021. His influence on the GLA has been extensive, with members noting its transformation to an innovative, modern and connected organisation as part of Mr Jolly’s efforts to have an organisation that is receptive to change, transparent and one that delivers benefits for members and the community. He has overseen changes including the introduction of Mental Health and Wellbeing Month in September with free events for members, CPD offerings, social events, digitisation of GLA systems such as event ticket purchase and a broadening of the opening of the legal year in Geelong. 

Portrait of Greg Reinhardt, older round-faced man in a grey suit and striped bow tie.GREG REINHARDT has been a member of the LIV since 1978. An LIV Accredited Specialist in commercial litigation, he wrote the Supreme Court judgments column in the LIJ for 26 years and has been the principal examiner for commercial litigation accredited specialisation for at least eight exams. He has also been a member of the Litigation Lawyers Committee since the late 1970s.

Mr Reinhardt’s career highlights include executive director of the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration 1997-20, academic secretary to the Victorian Attorney-General’s law reform advisory council, faculty member at Monash University and the University of Melbourne and partner at Ellison, Hewison & Whitehead/MinterEllison.

Mr Reinhardt was awarded an AM, becoming a member of the General Division of the Order of Australia for significant service to judicial administration, and to education, in 2019.

Portrait of Antonella Terranova, Long-haired blonde woman in a red jacket and white top.ANTONELLA TERRANOVA has been a member of the LIV since 1998 and president of the Northern Suburbs Law Association (NSLA) for more than a decade, enabling valuable professional networks for legal practitioners from Richmond to Kinglake and beyond in an environment that promotes collegiality and attracts CPD presenters of the highest level. 

Ms Terranova’s efforts have been guided by her desire to improve standards of civility and consolidate competence in the interaction of legal fields in Victoria and interstate, as well as forging relationships with other associations within and outside the law. In particular, she has strengthened important liaisons between the NSLA and LIV for the benefit of members. Ms Terranova has ensured the legal community has remained connected and up to date with critical professional and legislative changes on a voluntary basis. Ms Terranova has been principal of Castra Legal Costing for 11 years. Previously, she worked in personal injury litigation for 13 years. She is a past winner of the LIV Suburban Lawyer of the Year and delivered legal education for the LIV and multiple other legal organisations, as well as liaising with law students and young lawyers and assisting with penultimate year placements. She is vice chair of the LIV Costs Law Executive Committee and is on the LIV Members' Advisory Panel. She has also arranged three international CPD conferences in 2013, 2015 and 2018.

Portrait of Amanda Toner, Short, blonde haired woman with black-rimmed glasses in a black dress with pearls around her neck.AMANDA TONER has been a member of the LIV since 2012. She has been president of the North East Law Association (NELA) since 2017. In that time, she has provided a consistent point of contact for the local community and the legal profession in north-east Victoria.

The award is recognition of Ms Toner’s compassion to members of the community and the profession throughout the challenging times of the 2019-20 bushfires and the subsequent COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ms Toner was a key liaison in the provision of assistance during and after the bushfires, using strong local networks to ensure communities in recovery, and lawyers affected by the emergency, were connected to support and resources.  As residents of Alpine Shire were evacuated, she managed the safety of her family, continuity of care for clients and responded to the legal needs of her local community.

Portrait of Mel Walker, a dark, shoulder-length haired woman with black -framed glasses in a black top resting her face in her hand.MELINDA (MEL) WALKER has been a member of the LIV since 2000. An LIV Accredited Specialist in criminal law, she has been co-chair of the Criminal Law Executive Committee since 2017 and has served on it since 2014. She is a passionate advocate for sentencing, bail and prison reforms, and has represented the LIV on many external stakeholder groups including those for courts, the committals project, corrections and bail reform. 

Ms Walker has informed numerous LIV submissions in her time on the Criminal Law Section Executive and has represented the LIV at various government inquiries including those on homelessness, firearms prohibition, spent convictions and animal rights activism. 

She also played an important role in the creation of the LIV’s process guides for on the papers hearings during COVID-19. ■


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