Rising stars

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The lawyers in this list are all bright young things, but they are already taking the lead in significant cases and major transactions across a range of practice areas. Outside of the office, these lawyers are contributing to the wider community through participation in legal associations, legal education and pro bono work. Each generation of lawyers leaves its mark on the profession, and no doubt many of these faces will be leading law firms through the changes and challenges facing the profession over the coming years.

BIANCA JANOVIC, Herbert Smith Freehills
As part of the disputes team, Bianca Janovic’s practice includes complex commercial litigation, construction disputes, class actions, commissions of inquiry, ADR and pro bono work. Janovic is seen as a natural leader and role model, and mentor for junior lawyers. She excels not only in her core work but as a leader in diversity and pro bono initiatives. She is co-chair of the firm’s LGBTI Network and in 2014 won the Law Institute of Victoria’s Rising Star of the Year award in recognition of her technical skills as a commercial litigator, leadership in LGBTI rights and involvement in indigenous and pro bono work. She has volunteered with the Homeless Persons Legal Clinic and undertaken secondments to Bupa in 2012–13 and an Aboriginal organisation in the Kimberley in 2013.

MELISSA KOO, Squire Patton Boggs
Construction team associate Melissa Koo specialises in providing contentious and non-contentious advice on major construction, engineering and infrastructure projects. Koo has also represented clients in the Supreme Court and District Court of Western Australia and the State Administrative Tribunal. Koo is passionate about business development and promoting the advancement of women in construction, securing committee member positions with the National Association of Women in Construction and the Young Constructors’ Committee of the Society of Construction Law Australia. Koo has won the respect of her colleagues by taking the lead in developing business development and marketing plans as well as driving a proactive approach to industry involvement with her fellow associates and mentoring junior lawyers.

ALICE MUHLEBACH, Ashurst
Alice Muhlebach is a partner in Ashurst’s competition and consumer protection group. She joined Ashurst in 2005 and has rapidly forged a reputation as one of Australia’s best competition lawyers. Muhlebach’s work in recent years has traversed the most complex merger clearance challenges, ground-breaking work in the emerging law on access to infrastructure, and other regulatory, investigative, transaction structuring and cartel work. Recently, Muhlebach was recognised among the very best young competition lawyers in the world, in the Global Competition Review’s ‘40 under 40’ survey of the world’s best competition practices. Muhlebach was the only Australian competition lawyer in the latest survey by the world’s leading antitrust and competition law journal and news service.

CAROLINE LABAND, DLA Piper New Zealand
Caroline Laband is a former London barrister who joined DLA Piper as a partner in 2016. From early on in her career she was running multimillion-dollar insurance and reinsurance litigation in the London market. As a highly experienced insurance litigator, Laband regularly advises local and international insurers to help them navigate their way through complex disputes. Laband is passionate about the benefits of operating within the global business. This includes the opportunity to contribute to and access an international knowledge bank and forward-thinking capability – most recently, utilising cyber security training developed by DLA Piper’s cyber experts in the US, and sharing ideas with partners from Australia, the UK, Spain, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Singapore and the US at a recent Australian partners’ conference.

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