The ACT Law Society has recognised lawyers for their professional achievements and contributions to the law and to society.
At the ACT Law Society’s Annual Dinner and Awards Night last week, Kellin Kristofferson and Georgina McKay were given the “Young Lawyer of the Year Award.” This is time since the launch of the awards in 2007 that two young lawyers won the award.
Kristofferson was recognised for the strong community focus of his practice, Artisan Law, which he established when he was 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,” the ACT Law Society said.
Every week, Kristofferson accepts pro bono referrals from ACT Legal Aid, the Council for the Ageing, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross.
McKay was honoured for her work at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), where she is a legal officer in the Transnational Crime Section.
“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,” the ACT Law Society said.
McKay regularly provides free legal advice to vulnerable women through her continued volunteer work at the Women’s Legal Centre.
The ACT Law Society also gave out its first “Pro Bono Service Award.” Jennifer Wyborn, Clayton Utz partner and head of pro bono, received the award from ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay MLA for her outstanding pro bono legal services to the Canberra community.
“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,” the ACT Law Society said.
“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,” it said.
Wyborn and the Clayton Utz team also provide free training for workers in the community’s legal sector in areas that include discrimination and employment law.
“Pro bono is part of what it means to be a lawyer at Clayton Utz,” Wyborn said. “We see it as a privilege to support community legal centres such as WLC ACT and Canberra Community Law to help them build capacity and be able to respond to the growing demand for their services. On behalf of our team, we thank them for this recognition, and also acknowledge the terrific work they do.”
Under the pro bono category, the ACT Law Society also recognised the Animal Defenders Office with a “Highly Commended” certificate for their specialist work on animal law.
The “2018 President’s Medal” was awarded to Julie Dobson of DCCS Lawyers.
“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,” the ACT Law Society said.