Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Introducing Canberra’s most exceptional new lawyers!

The ACT Law Society is proud to present the finalists for the 2022 ACT New Lawyer of the Year Award.

The award recognises the achievements of early career lawyers in the ACT, celebrating their contributions to the community, and encouraging new lawyers to be active participants in the legal profession beyond their core employment duties.

The finalists for the 2022 ACT New Lawyer of the Year are:

Molly Campbell of Sparke Helmore Lawyers, for her leadership and pro bono work. She is a senior member of Sparke Helmore’s government team, specialising in information law. She provides FOI advice to agencies of varying sizes. She actively supports her junior lawyers, offering them learning opportunities and mentoring them in the early stages of their legal careers, and has actively promoted the value of a law degree to students through various ANU programs. She is also her firm’s local Pro Bono Coordinator, a volunteer role she has held for three and a half years. Among her pro bono achievements is working with the ACT Women’s Legal Centre to set up an ongoing CALD Divorce Clinic supporting vulnerable Canberra women from diverse backgrounds, and a remote Wills clinic during the pandemic.

Daniel Magnussen of Farrar Gesini Dunn, for his contributions to local LGBTIQ legal services. He specialises in family law litigation, particularly complex dispute resolution between married and de facto same-sex partners. With the support of his firm, he founded the first LGBTIQ Legal Service in the ACT, and has committed to ensuring a large pro bono aspect. The service seeks to overcome the barriers faced by the LGBTIQ community in accessing family law advice by offering a place where LGBTIQ clients can see a lawyer with experience in, and an understanding of, the unique issues of that community. He has driven change in his firm to ensure they are more inclusive of LGBTIQ staff and clients, and partnered with the Domestic Violence Awareness Foundation to host an LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Day event. He is also a volunteer and mentor with the Out for Australia LGBTIQ mentoring program, supporting students interested in legal careers, and volunteers on the Law Society’s New Lawyers Committee and the Canberra Region Family Law Professionals Association.

Liana Tomassini of the United Workers Union, for her social justice and grass roots community work. She practices in employment and industrial relations law. She began her career in the Department of Jobs and Small Business, where she was part of the team delivering significant technical reform in the Fair Work Act. She used her legal industrial knowledge to support her colleagues, personally leading a number of successful campaigns during periods of enterprise bargaining, becoming union leader in her workplace and earning recognition as a workplace rights activist in the ACT. Since late last year, she has been a lawyer and industrial officer with the United Workers Union, with a particular focus on workers in the aged care and child care sectors. She has a longstanding commitment to mentoring law students and graduate lawyers and has coached several cohorts of students to reach their personal and career goals, as well as working as a student advocacy and support advisor to students at risk of academic exclusion. She also uses her legal expertise in the local community, including volunteering to prepare visa applications for refugees.

Jacqueline Williams of the Department of Defence, for her focus on teamwork and physical wellbeing. She practices in commercial law, including ICT and space law, and has advised on a number of complex Defence matters and contracts, including a $1.6b telecommunications contract, $400M software licensing arrangements, and rapid acquisition of satellite capability. She is an active mentor, supporting several new starters at Defence Legal over the last two years, and regularly shares her knowledge with her colleagues through seminars on data and privacy, procurement rules and processes, and probity and ethics. She further supports her team by promoting physical wellbeing as a way to promote cooperation, perseverance, and dealing with pressure in the legal profession. She has trained a team of colleagues for two charity dragon boat regattas, uses her personal trainer qualifications to provide fitness circuits for her team, and started a very popular ‘push-up club’ at her office. She also provides pro bono legal advice through Youth Law Australia, and volunteers in a range of sporting roles, including as a long-term director of the ANU Sport & Recreation Association, and a director of the ACT Rowing Association.

The final winner of the New Lawyer of the Year Award, as well as the other ACT Law Awards including the prestigious President's Medal, will be revealed at the Law Society’s Annual Dinner & Awards Night on 4 November 2022.

The Law Society is proud to recognise Leo Cussen Centre for Law and Lawcover as the sponsors of the Law Society's Annual Dinner and 2022 ACT Law Awards.

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