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Victorian Legal Awards honour ‘Leaders in Law’

Victorian Legal Awards honour ‘Leaders in Law’

By LIV Media



The 13th Victorian Legal Awards honoured the talent, commitment and outstanding achievements of the legal profession in Victoria this year.

LIV president Belinda Wilson said the awards were an opportunity to acknowledge the excellent work by so many lawyers in their roles as counsellors, advisors and advocates in the law.

There were many qualities that made up “Leaders in Law”, she said, including providing professional excellence and service delivery, a commitment to advocacy and dedication to the legal community.

“The legal profession is full of people who go above and beyond the call of duty, whether in private, public or community practice, to advocate for their clients and ensure that justice is done,” she said at the Awards ceremony on 19 May.

Ms Wilson presented the President's Honorary Award to BottledSnail – a production company that was set up in 2013 to provide lawyers with the opportunity to become involved in creative projects including comedy and theatre productions, choral performances and musical concerts.

BottledSnail supports the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation which promotes wellbeing and psychological health in the legal community.

“We hear a lot about the importance of a balanced life, but achieving that as lawyers can sometimes be a challenge,” Ms Wilson said. “The organisation I have chosen for my President’s award was set up exactly for that reason – to help lawyers achieve some balance in their lives by giving them a creative outlet outside their professions.”

Lawyer and LIV Council stalwart Derry Davine was honoured with a lifetime membership award for his long contribution to the LIV and the legal profession. Mr Davine was first elected to the LIV Council in 1987, and has belonged to and chaired a number of committees and sections, including the Leases Committee, the Property and Environmental Law Section, the Tax and Revenue Committee and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. He has also been an ongoing participant in the LIV’s mentoring program and a regular presenter and chair for LIV seminars and conferences.

“Derry is the kind of member an organisation like the LIV dreams of having on board,” Ms Wilson said.

The Access to Justice Award was won by the Legacy Caseload Working Group, which was initiated by the LIV in 2015 to explore options for responding to the legal needs of a group of about 30,000 asylum seekers whose claims for protection had not been processed. The Legacy Caseload Working Group helped fast-track the process and ensured a coordinated response in providing legal assistance.

The winner of the Rising Star Award, sponsored by Lex Medicus, which recognises the achievements of early career lawyers was Kot Monoah. Mr Monoah is a personal injury lawyer at Slater and Gordon and chair of the South Sudanese Community Association in Victoria. He came to Australia 13 years ago as a refugee.

MinterEllison won the Large Law Firm of the Year Award, sponsored by PEXA. Colin Biggers & Paisley won the Medium Law Firm of the Year and Bendigo firm Beck Legal won the Boutique Legal Firm of the Year Award. MinterEllison also won Deal of the Year, sponsored by CPA Australia, for its handling of the Port of Melbourne lease transaction.

South Yarra BMW this year sponsored the Mentor of the Year Award won by Rebecca Dickson who heads up a team of lawyers at Melbourne Airport and manages the Society of Construction Law Australia’s mentoring program. The Innovation Award was won by Settify, a family law firm that uses artificial intelligence to support traditional legal practices.

We would like to thank our platinum sponsors of this event, PEXA and South Yarra BMW.

Full List of Award Winners

Access to Justice Award

Legacy Caseload Working Group

Accredited Specialist Achievement Award

Mark Maier, McNab McNab & Starke Lawyers

Community Lawyer/Organisation of the Year Award

Linda Gyorki, Manager (Health Justice Partnerships) and Senior Lawyer, Inner Melbourne Community Legal

Deal of the Year Award sponsored by CPA Australia

MinterEllison – Port of Melbourne lease transaction

Government Lawyer of the Year Award

Kara Miller, Sustainability Victoria

Honorary Life Membership

Derry Davine

In-House Counsel of the Year

Agata Jarbin, State Trustees

Innovation Award


Law Firm of the Year Award – Boutique

Beck Legal

Law Firm of the Year Award – Medium

Colin Biggers & Paisley

Law Firm of the Year Award – Large sponsored by PEXA


Law Student of the Year Award

Colleen Chen, Melbourne Law School

Legal Reporting Award

Bianca Hall, The Age

Mentor of the Year Award sponsored by South Yarra BMW

Rebecca Dickson, Melbourne Airport

Regional Lawyer of the Year Award

Claire Barrance, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

Suburban Lawyer of the Year Award

Canda Glanville, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

Rising Star Award sponsored by Lex Medicus

Kot Monoah, Lawyer, Slater and Gordon

Paul Baker Prize for Administrative Law & Human Rights

Carina Ford, Carina Ford Immigration Lawyers

Rogers Legal Writing Award

Fabian Horton

President’s Award

BottledSnail Productions

Certificates of Service

  • Megan Aumair
  • Zana Bytheway
  • Mercia Chapman
  • Richard Fleming
  • Tim Freeman
  • Andrew Halphen
  • Justin Hartnett
  • Jenifer Mary Lee
  • Jason Newman
  • Joanne Panagakis
  • David Whiting


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