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Lawyers have role in new medical treatment law

Lawyers have role in new medical treatment law

By Law Institute Journal


Judging the Victorian Legal Awards is a great opportunity to get an insight into how other law firms are doing things, says Philippa Stone, partner at Herbert Smith Freehills. Ms Stone is one of a team judging three of the awards this year, including Deal of the Year and Large and Medium Law Firms of the Year. "I always enjoy hearing about what other law firms have achieved – sometimes in quite different fields from mine, and about the complexity and difficulty of deals, and the novel commercial or legal approaches they've taken." Ms Stone, who specialises in equity and hybrid raisings and mergers and acquisitions at HSF, is one of 32 judges of the awards this year. Each judging panel is made up of at least three individuals chosen because they are experts in their field, are members of relevant committees or because they have been winners in previous awards. This year’s judge of the Government Lawyer category, Findlay McRae, won the President's Honorary Award in 2015 for his achievement as Director of Legal Services at Victoria Police. He says receiving the President’s award was an unexpected honour and he was delighted to have been invited to judge the Government Lawyer's category for the past three years. “The Government Lawyer’s award is a great recognition of the important public interest role of government lawyers in dealing with matters that often have a significant impact on the community,” he says. "Government lawyers have a big responsibility in setting high standards for decision-making in government by ensuring that public entities are acting consistently with human rights and that principles of fairness and procedural fairness are adhered to." Judging for each of the 16 categories is done via a dedicated online platform, with judges required to assess each of the nominations as to how well they meet a number of criteria. Judges work independently in making their assessments. Mr McRae says he looks for examples of innovation or a significant contribution to the community in his assessments of nominees for Government Lawyer of the year. "I look for really good practice, mentoring, building new legal services, bringing people into the law, and also for the provision of high quality services and advice generally." Ms Stone says that while submissions vary enormously, with some emphasising business achievements and others highlighting their pro bono work or staff initiatives, she is always looking for evidence in the form of examples, hard facts and references from their clients” that demonstrate their claims. “I spendt a lot of time on it,” she says. “These firms are working hard to build their practices, and to build their place in the community – and I feel it’s important to provide recognition for that.” LIV president Belinda Wilson says the contributions made by the judges of the Legal Awards each year was hugely appreciated. “People put in a lot of time and effort assessing each of the nominations. "That is just another example of the great spirit of volunteering that is so much part of the legal profession in Victoria, alongside those who contribute pro bono legal work for people who can't access justice, who review LIJ legal features to ensure their accuracy and relevance, and the many volunteers on LIV committees who contribute to submissions.” The Legal Awards will take place on Friday 18 May at Peninsula at Docklands. For more information and to book tickets click here.

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