Young gun takes top Law Council award

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A Sydney lawyer has been given the 2017 Australian Young Lawyer Award.

James Skelton, a solicitor at commercial law specialist firm Swaab Attorneys, was given the award for his contributions to the profession. He specialises in commercial, intellectual property, and technology law.

He has been part of the New South Wales Young Lawyers organisation since 2013, focusing on the communication, entertainment, and technology law committee. He also leads the NSW Young Lawyers’ wellbeing and diversity working group.

“James is an incredibly dynamic and accomplished young lawyer, well deserving of this honour,” said Fiona McLeod SC, Law Council president. “Understanding and improving the wellbeing of lawyers is vital for a strong and healthy legal profession. James’ work in this area led to lasting benefits for lawyers and their colleagues.

The Law Council president praised Skelton particularly for his efforts in equality.

“This year it was a pleasure to see James’ leadership in action as he coordinated the first ever float to enter the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade on behalf of NSW Young Lawyers. I was among a great group of around 40 people who marched under the rainbow banner James organised, emblazoned with ‘Equality Under the Law,’” she said. “I have no doubt James will make an outstanding contribution over the course of what I assume will be a long career in the law.”

The Law Council gave this year’s 2017 Australian Young Lawyer Award – Organisation to the  NSW Young Lawyers Human Rights Committee for its Refugee Assistance Project (RAP).

“The RAP provides form-filling assistance to asylum seekers and refugees who are subject to the Fast Track Assessment process and might otherwise find the entire process impossible,” McLeod said. “The RAP has done tremendous work in assisting asylum seekers and refugees to exercise their right to seek asylum. The work of RAP volunteers has undoubtedly reduced the risk of refoulment posed by the fast track assessment.”

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