Annual Dinner & Awards Night

The Annual Dinner & Awards Night is an opportunity to thank all those who have contributed to the work of the Law Society over the course of the year, and to celebrate the local lawyers who inspire us. Enjoy a thoughtfully curated menu matched with fine wines at Pialligo Estate's Glasshouse Pavilion as we introduce you to 2021's ACT Law Awards winners.

The Annual Dinner & Awards Night is proudly sponsored by Leo Cussen Centre for Law and Legal Home Loans




  • When: 6.30pm, Friday 27 August 2021
  • Where: The Glasshouse, Pialligo Estate, 18 Kallaroo Road, Pialligo ACT
  • Dress: Lounge suit
  • Cost: $140 per person (includes three-course meal and drinks)
  • RSVP by COB 12 August 2021

The ACT Law Awards 

The Law Society's annual ACT Law Awards exist to recognise our outstanding local lawyers and firms.

The President’s Medal recognises significant personal and professional contributions of a local legal practitioner to the improvement of law and justice in the ACT community. This may include achievements in community access to justice, promotion or defence of the rule of law, improvements in legal policy or legislation which delivers significant benefits to the ACT community, or significant service or support to ACT solicitors, and/or to the ACT Law Society.

The ACT Firm of the Year is a new annual award that recognises the outstanding efforts of local firms. Nominee firms will be judged on achievement in the ACT in areas such as commitment to pro bono legal work, encouraging and developing a diverse and inclusive legal profession, supporting and mentoring young lawyers, providing wellbeing support to staff, or innovative use of technology in legal service delivery.

The Pro Bono Service Award recognises the vital work done by individual practitioners in the ACT who volunteer their time and legal expertise to assist others within the community. This includes lawyers who have made an exceptional contribution to the ACT community through pro bono legal work, advocated for or on behalf of socially or economically disadvantaged people, contributed to the protection of the public interest, or made advancements to access to justice in the ACT.

The Government Law Award recognises the outstanding achievements of practitioners working in government. This may include achievements such as significant legal projects, developing awareness of legal issues, providing leadership and innovation, or contributing to the community beyond their legal position.

The Young Lawyer of the Year recognises the outstanding achievements of young lawyers in the ACT. The Award seeks to encourage young lawyers to be active participants in the legal profession beyond their core employment duties, and to raise awareness of these activities. Nominees are judged based on their contributions to the legal profession and/or to the ACT Law Society, their contributions to the ACT community, and their legal professional achievements.

The Judges

  • The Hon Justice Chrissa Loukas-Karlsson, Patron of the ACT Law Society Young Lawyers Committee
  • Shane Rattenbury MLA, ACT Attorney-General
  • Elizabeth Carroll, President, ACT Law Society
  • Chris Donohue, Immediate Past President, ACT Law Society
  • Sarah Avery, Vice President, ACT Law Society
  • Farzana Choudhury, Vice President, ACT Law Society
  • Simone Carton, CEO, ACT Law Society
  • Sarah Byrne, Chair, ACT Law Society Government Law Committee
  • Alyssa Dunn, Chair, ACT Law Society Young Lawyers Committee
  • David Swanson, Councillor, ACT Law Society
  • Athol Opas, Barrister, Blackburn Chambers

The Trophies

Each year, the Law Society commissions a local artist to create a new and unique set of awards. In 2021, Canberra timber artist Clare Solomon has created “Represent / Advance / Defend” — using rescued timber from the old Supreme Court, three different species of reclaimed timber float off an acid etched steel panel on a timber base. The three pillars of timber represent the Law Society’s mission statement, which in part is to “Represent, advance, and defend the interests of an independent legal profession in the ACT.”

Event registration terms and conditions

Fees are payable upon registration. 30 days payment invoices are available to members at the discretion of the Law Society. A 1.3% surcharge may be incurred on online payments. The Society reserves the right to cancel or alter events at its discretion, and in such circumstances, attendees will be notified via email. 

Definitions — 'Registration' means any booking given to the Society in writing, on our website, or by phone. 'Member' means any member of the ACT Law Society, including associate members and honorary members. 'Young Lawyer' means any member who has held a practising certificate for five years or less. 'CLC' means any member working for a recognised community legal centre, or holding a volunteer practising certificate. 'Student' means a full time student studying law at a recognised Australian tertiary institution.

All cancellations must be made in writing, and all cancellations will incur a fee, however, no charge will be incurred for substituting another person. Outside of the cancellation periods given below, a $10 administration fee will be incurred for any cancellation made. If a registered attendee fails to attend without notifying the Society in writing, no credit or refund will be offered and 100% of the total cost will be retained by the Society. 

CPD Events — In the case of CPD events held at an venue other than the Law Society, no refund can be made after the RSVP date of the event. In the case of CPD events held at the Law Society, for cancellations made within two working days of the event, 50% of the total cost will be retained by the Society as a cancellation fee and the balance may be used as a credit towards other CPD events or be refunded. If you choose to keep a credit it will remain valid for 12 months from the event date, after which time it will expire. 

Webinars — In the case of live or on-demand webinars, as connection details are sent when registration is completed, no refund or cancellation is available. 

Social events — In the case of social events, no refund can be made after the RSVP date of the event.

The Law Society is enforcing covid-safe measures as set out by ACT Health at all our face-to-face events. 

If you are sick, have recently visited a COVID hot-spot, or are in close contact with someone in either situation, please stay at home.




Single Ticket $140.00(GST incl.) Register



Sponsors & Supporters

Legal Home Loans

Legal Home Loans is delighted to be sponsoring the ACT Law Society’s Annual Dinner and Awards Night, an evening dedicated to recognising our capital’s most outstanding lawyers and firms.

As Australia’s only mortgage and finance broking firm that specialises in lending to lawyers, we take pride in our intricate understanding of the legal profession. From junior associates, to senior partners, to firm owners, we help our legal clients achieve their property and business goals every day.

Whether you are buying your first home, refinancing an existing mortgage, or looking for an astute investment, Legal Home Loans will structure your lending to maximise your borrowing potential and minimise costs. With access to all major lenders and private banks, we are committed to securing the most tailored solution for each and every one of our clients.

Our vision is to empower all lawyers to achieve their life goals, allowing them to fully focus on the law and their careers whilst knowing their financial house is in order. Legal Home Loans is your conduit and will navigate the lending landscape on your behalf, saving you valuable time, money and stress.

We thank the ACT Law Society for allowing us to be a part of this important event, and we look forward to a wonderful evening celebrating some of Australia’s best legal talent.

The Legal Home Loans team

Leo Cussen Centre for Law

Leo Cussen Centre for Law provides post-graduate legal education to lawyers and other professions working in and around the law and is proud to soon celebrate 50 years of providing high quality legal education in Australia. Upon completion of PLT, graduates are awarded a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GDLP) enabling an application for admission to legal practice to be made.

Leo Cussen is now delivering its GDLP to all Canberra based law graduates, with the onsite components taught at ANU College of Law.

Leo Cussen graduates are highly sought-after by employers across Australia. Part of this is the very practical way in which our course is taught. Our PLT course is a simulated practice model where graduates learn to run their own files with the support of legal practitioner mentors – learning to work as a lawyer with lawyers. The course involves carrying out all day-to-day work of a lawyer and learning to manage a client file from beginning to end: the first phone call conversation to the first face to face meeting, retainer letters, costs disclosures, researching and providing advice about a client's legal situation, negotiating and preparing legal documents or representing a client in a court or tribunal. Our students also finalise and close their files, so they understand all aspects of running a legal matter from beginning to end.

Leo Cussen employs Lawyer Mentors to teach in our program, working closely with our students in the same way as a supervisor does in practice. We welcome the profession to assess and provide feedback on practical tasks undertaken as part of the course, these include activities such as advocacy, client interviewing, ethics discussions and will signings.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like to know more about our programs or to become involved – contact ACT Senior Mentor and Lawyer Craig Collins at