Friday, 31 August 2018

ACT Law Society 2018 Awards Night

The ACT Law Society’s Annual Dinner and Awards Night, held on Friday 31 August 2018, is an opportunity to thank all those who have contributed to the work of the Law Society over the course of the year. The Dinner is sponsored by Arthur J Gallagher.

ACT Young Lawyers of the Year

The Young Lawyer of the Year Award recognises the professional achievements and community involvement of outstanding young lawyers in the region.

In a first since the Award’s inauguration in 2007, two Young Lawyer of the Year Awards were given out in 2018, to Kellin Kristofferson of Artisan Law, and Georgina McKay of the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade. They were presented with their Awards by the chair of the judging panel, the Hon Justice Chrissa Loukas-Karlsson of the ACT Supreme Court, who is also the Patron of the ACT Young Lawyers Committee.

Kellin Kristofferson is a lawyer with a strong community focus. He started his practice, Artisan Law, at the age of 28. Artisan Law is part small law firm, part social initiative – offering Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney, estate administration and elder law advice at heavily discounted rates for pensioners and low-income earners, and also provides a mobile service for clients who cannot otherwise access legal advice. Kellin also accepts pro bono referrals every week from ACT Legal Aid, the Council for the Ageing (COTA), the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. Kellin is also active in community education on Wills and related topics, hosting workshops and information sessions with local not-for-profits, including DUO, A Gender Agenda, Sharing Places, and ACT Legal Aid.

Georgina McKay is a Legal Officer in the Transnational Crime Section of DFAT’s Legal Division, where she has worked on several high-profile and topical legal challenges facing the Department and the government broadly. In a first for DFAT, she promoted a culture of pro bono work and legal volunteering with the in-house counsel team. She has a passion for promoting gender equality within the legal profession, participating in both the ANU Women In Law Organisation mentoring program and University of Canberra Women Lawyers Mentoring Program since their inception, and is an active member of the Women Lawyers Association of the ACT. She is also a regular volunteer at the Women’s Legal Centre, providing free legal advice to vulnerable women.

Pro Bono Service Award

The Pro Bono Service Award recognises a legal practitioner or a law firm that has provided outstanding pro bono legal services to the Canberra community.

The ACT Attorney-General, Gordon Ramsay MLA, awarded the inaugural Pro Bono Service Award to Clayton Utz pro bono partner Jennifer Wyborn.

Jennifer Wyborn has been the Partner leading the Clayton Utz Pro Bono practice in Canberra since 2016. The team have made an exceptional contribution to the ACT community through their pro bono work for the Women’s Legal Centre and Canberra Community Law. This work has significantly increased the services these community legal centres are able to provide for socially or economically disadvantaged people in the ACT and advanced access to justice for women in Canberra. Jennifer has overseen a number of significant pro bono matters and is particularly passionate about matters that involve questions about the management of domestic violence in the workplace. She has introduced a reverse secondment arrangement with the WLC, where one of their staff is embedded one day a fortnight with the Clayton Utz team, gaining access to expert guidance and strategic advice on WLC cases. This professional development has been invaluable to increasing the skill and capacity at WLC. Jennifer and her staff also deliver free training for community legal sector workers in areas such as discrimination and employment law, providing access to professional development opportunities otherwise outside the budgetary limitations of the sector. In addition, Jennifer sits on the Board of the Clayton Utz Foundation, which supports pro bono clients through a grants process.

The Award Panel also recognised the Animal Defenders Office with a ‘Highly Commended’ certificate, for their specialist animal law work. Their volunteer lawyers offer information and representation for individuals and groups wishing to protect animals and those who care for them, and attempts to raise community awareness about animal ownership and animal protection issues.

The President’s Medal

The President’s Medal recognises significant personal and professional contributions to the betterment of law and justice in the community by an ACT solicitor and member of the ACT Law Society.

Julie Dobinson of DDCS Lawyers was presented with the 2018 President’s Medal.

Julie Dobinson came to the law as a mature age student, but her impact on the ACT legal landscape in the field of family law has been extensive. She is well-known in the Canberra legal and business community, and has dedicated her time to serve on various boards and Committees. She initiated the establishment of the Canberra Region Family Law Professionals Association (CRFLPA) and served as the CRFLPA’s first President. She also served on the Executive of the Family Law Pathways Network for a number of years. Julie has served as Chair of Law Australasia, which is a national association of approximately 25 independent law firms committed to best practice management and client service delivery. She has also been involved with various Law Society Committees during the course of her career, including the Complaints Committee, and has been a regular presenter at Law Society CPD seminars. Until recently Julie Chaired the Board of the Women’s Legal Centre (ACT). Julie also served on the committee of the Women Lawyers Association of the ACT. In addition to these roles, Julie has dedicated time to providing pro-bono advice for the Women’s Legal Centre and has a lengthy involvement in providing advice through the ACT Law Society’s Legal Advice Bureau.

The ACT Law Society commends Kellin, Georgina, Jennifer, and Julie for their outstanding contributions to the legal profession and the Canberra community.

For further information contact:
Ms Sarah Avery, President, ACT Law Society, T 02 6274 0300

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