Australia: Excellence spread across the profession
Last Updated: 27 September 2014

Over 20 law firms, in-house teams and barristers' chambers are represented among the finalists in the 2014 Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards.

Lawyers Weekly received just shy of 100 nominations over eight categories for this year's Awards, with Norton Rose Fulbright leading the way with six finalists.

NRF has bettered last year's record of five finalists from a single firm, which was set by Corrs Chambers Westgarth. The national firm has three finalists this year.

Baker & McKenzie, Gilbert + Tobin, CBP Lawyers, Maurice Blackburn, Minter Ellison and Queensland's MacDonnells Law each have two finalists.

"Any extra light we can shine on women in the profession and their achievements when they are starting behind the starting line, when compared to some of their [male] peers ... is a good thing," said Annette Hughes (pictured), chair of the Diversity Council at Corrs and a member of the firm's Executive Leadership Team.

Annette is a finalist in the Female Partner of the Year category, which is proudly sponsored by Michael Page Legal.

She said she uses her position as a leader at Corrs to try and leave behind a legacy that facilitates change in the profession.

"Younger lawyers can be more timid about speaking their minds and calling it as they see it," she said.

"On the leadership side, I like to say it like it is, even if it is an uncomfortable message like 'do you realise that this is an issue for us and this might be why we are not getting more women in leadership' and 'what can we do about that in a meaningful way and to try and generate those ideas for actual action', rather than just having the actual headline policy."

The Awards do not just recognise senior lawyers like Annette.

Across the eight competitive categories, the contribution of junior lawyers to the profession is celebrated via the Law Student Award, the Future Star Award, proudly sponsored by Leo Cussen, and the Junior Counsel Award, proudly sponsored by Sheahan Lock Partners.

The Awards will be at Melbourne's Langham Hotel on Friday 17 October.

You can purchase tickets here.

A thorn amongst the roses

For the first time in three years, there is a male finalist at the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards.

Senior Herbert Smith Freehills partner John Angus is amongst the six finalists for the Legal Mentor Award, proudly sponsored by

This was a category open to male and female lawyers.

John has been a partner at HSF for 28 years and is the head of the Australia / Asia finance practice.

In that role, John has mentored a number of female lawyers and seen a substantial increase in the firm's number of finance partners, with 50 per cent of the Finance partners in HSF's Sydney office now female.

"In my 20-year professional career, I have had only two real mentors – John is one of them and I know he has played this role for many," said Justine Turnbull, a former partner at HSF who is now with Seyfarth Shaw.

The five other finalists in this prestigious category are a who's who of Australia's most respected lawyers.

They are: Anne-Marie Allgrove from Baker & McKenzie; founding Hive Legal principal Mitzi Gilligan; Sally Macindoe, Norton Rose Fulbright's global head of diversity and inclusion; Mills Oakley financial services head Lisa-Marie McKechnie and Russell Kennedy principal Sabine Phillips.

Congratulations to all 39 finalists from 23 respective organisations that were selected as finalists for the 2014 Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards.

The standard of the submissions was extremely high, and it was an exceedingly tough job selecting the chosen finalists.

The Lawyers Weekly editorial team selected a maximum of six finalists for each competitive category.

An independent panel of judges will select the winners.

The evening's showcase award, the Lasting Legacy Award, will be handed out on the night to one of the profession's leading lights.

The 2014 Lawyers Weekly Women in Law finalists are:

The Female Partner of the Year Award, proudly sponsored by Michael Page Legal

Virginia Briggs: Minter Ellison

Alice DeBoos: K&L Gates

Annette Hughes: Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Rani John: Gilbert + Tobin

Jackie O'Brien: Norton Rose Fulbright

Karen Payne: Minter Ellison

The Future Star Award, proudly sponsored by Leo Cussen

Jessica Blanchett: Norton Rose Fulbright

Stefanie Faubel: Clayton Utz

Samara Goode: CBP Lawyers

Kirsten Gourd: Norton Rose Fulbright

Celeste Karavos: DLA Piper

Emily Raftos: Corrs Chambers Westgarth

The In-House Award, proudly sponsored by JLegal

Kate Brown: Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Mirina Muir: OTOC

Sarah Turner: EBOS Group Limited

The Junior Counsel Award, proudly sponsored by Sheahan Lock Partners

Sharon Burchell: Ninian Stephen Chambers

Clare Exell: Green's List

The Law Firm Diversity Award, proudly sponsored by Taylor Root


Baker & McKenzie

Gilbert + Tobin

Herbert Smith Freehills

Maurice Blackburn

Norton Rose Fulbright

The Law Student Award

Tahlia Butler: MacDonells Law

Sara Gagic: Voiceless

Roxanne Hart: MacDonells Law

Candice Von Tonder: CBP Lawyers

Deborah White: National Australia Bank

The Legal Mentor Award, proudly sponsored by

Anne-Marie Allgrove: Baker & McKenzie

John Angus: Herbert Smith Freehills

Mitzi Gilligan: Hive Legal

Sally Macindoe: Norton Rose Fulbright

Lisa-Marie McKechnie: Mills Oakley Lawyers

Sabine Phillips: Russell Kennedy

The Pro Bono Award

Kathryn Booth: Maurice Blackburn

Lisa Lahey, Freda Wiggans: HopgoodGanim

Krista McMeeken: Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Heidi Nash-Smith: Wotton + Kearney

Claire Schneider: Norton Rose Fulbright

* The Senior Barrister Award will not be included in this year's program due to a lack of submissions.

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