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Top 10 rising stars

Top 10 rising stars

By Melissa Lirosi

Ceremonies Legal Biography 

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At the 13th Victorian Legal Awards 10 emerging stars will be recognised.

Nine of the 10 nominees: Ben Hine, Sach Fernando, Tara Stark, Steve Clayton, Jenny Tran, Jaclyn Smith, Marco Eric, Kot Monoah and Anna Jennings-Edquist

The LIV Rising Star Award celebrates the achievements of early-career lawyers. We asked the partners and lawyers who work with our finalists what makes them stand out. The winner and runner-up of the Rising Star Award will be announced at the 13th Victorian Legal Awards ceremony and gala dinner on 19 May 2017.

Steven Clayton, legal counsel (Group Insurance), AIA Australia

Recognised as a finalist in the 2017 Australasian Law Awards and Lawyers Weekly 30-under-30 awards, Steven contributed to AIA Australia achieving number one position in the Australian group life insurance market in 2016. He also advises on award-winning product and technology innovations and regulatory matters.

Sheree Siow, head of legal (Group Insurance), AIA Australia

Marko Eric, senior associate, Slater and Gordon Lawyers

Marko’s background as a refugee fleeing war-torn Bosnia at age eight has instilled in him an unrelenting desire and passion for justice and fairness. As a personal injury lawyer, these qualities permeate all he does. Marko is an exceptional advocate for his clients and a fierce and skilled litigator.

Joanne Panagakis, state practice group leader, Slater and Gordon Lawyers

Sach Fernando, senior associate, Zaparas Lawyers

Sach is a passionate lawyer with entrepreneurial flair. He has an indomitable work ethic and is committed to providing the best representation for injured Victorians. He conducts his practice with empathy, upholding the interests and integrity of our clients. He is strategic, innovative and agile, structuring his practice to achieve outstanding results.

Yianni Zaparas, partner, Zaparas Lawyers

Benjamin Hine, solicitor, DLA Piper

Ben relishes managing class actions and researching complex problems. He never shies away from hard work and is always looking for a better way to do things. He is passionate about diversity and is a founding member of the firm’s diversity committee, He recently organised LGBTI training for all partners and staff.

David Leggatt, partner, DLA Piper

Anna Jennings-Edquist, associate, Slater and Gordon Lawyers

Anna has undertaken extensive pro bono work in human trafficking, war crimes and refugee law. Her varied work is evidence of the role the legal profession can play in making a difference to individuals and contributing to an equitable and just society. She brings the same dedication to her work as a personal injury lawyer.

Joanne Panagakis, Slater and Gordon Lawyers

Kot Monoah, lawyer, Slater and Gordon Lawyers

Kot has demonstrated the qualities and values which will hold him in good stead for the duration of his legal career. He has forged trusted relationships with clients and built a formidable reputation with opposing practitioners due to his integrity and work ethic.

Craig Lynch, Western practice group leader, Slater and Gordon Lawyers

Jaclyn Smith, associate, Corrs Chambers Westgarth Lawyers

Jaclyn was elected a director of the Society of Construction Law while a first-year lawyer. Her technical expertise, command of the broader environment and considered approach to branding has led to an enviable profile in the construction law community.

Ben Davidson, partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth Lawyers

Tara Stark, lawyer, Slater and Gordon Lawyers

Tara has an amazing capacity to connect with clients and achieve extraordinary outcomes. She gives back in various roles including as director on not-for-profit boards. She was a recipient of Slater and Gordon’s Chair Award for her contribution in the wider community.

Ike Nwokolo, practice group leader, Slater and Gordon Lawyers

Jenny Tran, lawyer, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

A child of asylum seekers, born in a refugee processing camp and raised in commission flats, the rise of Jenny to an emerging leader is extraordinary. These experiences shaped her into the lawyer she is now. She is driven by her desire to give back, working with organisations in the greater Dandenong community.

Gino Andrieri, principal, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

Demetrio Zema, director and problem solver, Law Squared

At 28 Demetrio Zema founded Law Squared, a firm dedicated to advancing the interests of entrepreneurs and SMEs. Launched in February 2016, it is now home to 10 employees and has three offices Australia wide.

Nerine Konesharan, lawyer, Law Squared


Book tickets for the 13th Victorian Legal Awards ceremony and gala dinner celebration on 19 May here.


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