The ACT Law Society’s ACT Firm of the Year Award recognises the outstanding efforts of local firms in contributing to access to justice, and to a diverse and healthy legal profession.
Nominee firms will be judged based on achievement in one or more of the following areas:
- commitment to pro bono legal work in the ACT
- encouraging and developing a diverse and inclusive legal profession in the ACT
- supporting and encouraging the development and mentoring of new lawyers in the ACT
- providing wellbeing support to staff in the ACT
- contributing to the reputation of the legal profession in the ACT
- innovative use of technology in legal service delivery in the ACT.
ACT Firm of the Year Award
Presenting the ACT Firm of the Year Award to Mark Barrow of Ken Cush & Associates, Law Society President Elizabeth Carroll drew attention to the firm’s commitment to access to justice and human rights and their unique approach to pro bono work. Ken Cush & Associates take on difficult institutional abuse cases including alleged breaches of human rights at the AMC, false imprisonment cases, and the wrongful conviction case of David Eastman. They regularly act for some of the ACT community’s most vulnerable people, including First Nations people. The firm have represented many Aboriginal clients in respect of issues of unjust imprisonment, racism, and inadequate health care in the AMC. The firm has also used its skills in personal injury and insurance law to take on numerous catastrophic injury cases pro-bono or on a speculative basis to assist clients in the ACT and Australia-wide.
The ACT Firm of the Year Award went to Griffin Legal, for its outstanding local pro bono contributions, and commitment to diversity and staff wellbeing.
In the last financial year, Griffin Legal’s lawyers have logged a combined total of more than 1000 pro bono hours. They have worked on projects including a human rights case to formally recognise the Ngambri’s connection to Canberra, YWCA Canberra’s charitable property management service Rentwell, ongoing advice for Palliative Care Australia, and estate planning for terminally ill patients for the Cancer Council ACT.
The firm has a long history of pro bono and volunteer assistance for a range of community organisations such as Toora Women, Lifeline ACT, and Havelock Housing, along with university and local sport clubs. The firm's lawyers also give back to the community through sponsorships and partnerships with local organisations, including free training and education services. They actively promote and uphold gender equality, disability inclusion, and cultural diversity. Griffin Legal is proud to be a female-majority workplace, have members of their team (including a partner) with disabilities, and they have implemented an Indigenous recruitment strategy. More than 75 per cent of their staff work flexibly in order to maintain work/life balance. The firm actively promotes staff wellbeing and encourages mental health checks and physical activity. Its office includes a relaxation zone and quiet rooms, as well as stretching and exercise equipment.
The ACT Firm of the Year Award went to Parker Curtis Coles, for for placing care, compassion and choice at the forefront of its work and making challenging times less difficult for clients.
Those core values of 'care, compassion, and choice' demonstrate a commitment to excellence, diversity, inclusivity, and community connection.
The firm actively engages in pro bono legal support for several community organisations, contributing over $130,000 in value. This commitment extends to supporting organisations that provide legal assistance to those in need.
Parker Coles Curtis showcases a holistic approach to the practice of law, focusing on excellence, inclusivity, innovation, community engagement, and well-being. Their dedication to clients, employees, and the broader community is commendable.