Queensland Law Society celebrates professional excellence
22 December 2009
Queensland lawyers’ achievements and contributions within the profession and the broader community were celebrated at the recent Queensland Law Society’s annual President’s Christmas Cocktails and Awards ceremony.
This year’s awards have further highlighted the incredible commitment of the state’s practitioners to excellence with three solicitors awarded the coveted President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Legal Practitioner.
Brisbane solicitor Greg Vickery AM, Russell Beer of Cairns and Ipswich-based Paul Fallu each received this award for their demonstrated commitment and dedication to the legal profession.
Greg, a partner at Deacons in Brisbane, received his award due to his contributions in the areas of corporate and commercial law. Over more than 35 years, he has made valuable contributions to the law and legal education and also in the community, through his work with the Red Cross.
Russell was acknowledged for his contribution as a partner of the Commercial Team at MacDonnells Law in Cairns and for his work within the local community. Russell also holds positions on several boards and committees in the Cairns region and presents at seminars and conferences on topics affecting the local community such as success and estate planning for local cane farmers.
Paul Fallu’s contribution to the community of Ipswich in both professionally and socially made him a worthy recipient of the President’s Award. Over the last 42 years, Paul has practiced in most areas of the law. He is highly regarded for his commitment to Ipswich, which includes providing voluntary legal advice to local organisations and not for profit associations.
At the Awards, which were open to Queensland’s 8,500 lawyers, the Queensland Law Society also recognised five 50 year members and more than 130 members who attained 25 year milestones.
The 2009 President’s Awards were as follows:
Employer of Choice Award – McCullough Robertson (Brisbane) and MacDonnells Law
McCullough Robertson received the award in recognition of the firm’s commitment to the support of indigenous law students and for promoting initiatives that enhance employment and career opportunities for people with disabilities. MacDonnells Law received the award in recognition of its support for its female staff and for promoting initiatives that enhance employment and career opportunities for people with disabilities and who are from non-English speaking backgrounds.
President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Young Lawyer – Michelle Eastwell
Michelle is currently a Senior Associate at Hopgood Ganim, having achieved this position after only two and a half years as a solicitor, half the time it would normally take. Michelle’s exceptional legal talent and leadership have also been demonstrated by additional responsibilities, including mentoring.
Pro Bono Award – Firm – MurphySchmidt
MurphySchmidt is a partner in the Homeless Persons' Legal Clinic and takes on more referrals than any other firm on a per lawyer basis, despite its relatively small size. They make a regular contribution to pro bono by providing informal advice to QPILCH staff and hosting events and training. They have shown a commitment and dedication to assisting clients in the HPLC and the Self-Representation Service, and undertake pro bono work without hesitation.
Pro Bono Award - Partnership - Corrs Chambers Westgarth
The Refugee Civil Law Clinic is a partnership of Corrs Chambers Westgarth, the Multicultural Development Association and QPILCH. The partnership provides legal advice and assistance on civil law matters to refugees, asylum seekers and humanitarian entrants who have been in Australia for less than five years and who cannot afford legal representation or access legal aid. Corrs Chambers Westgarth involves staff at all levels (senior and junior lawyers - including partners - pair up) to provide advice, encouragement and support services. Staff have participated in cultural awareness and other training, to ensure a sensitive approach to their clients and the issues being faced.
Pro Bono Award - Individual - Robert Reed
Robert Reed is a Senior Associate at Minter Ellison and is the director of its Community Investment Program. He is actively involved in the QPILCH Homeless Persons' Legal Clinic working regularly as a volunteer. He has also developed other clinics targeting services to particular communities, and leads a referral service at Minter Ellison encouraging other lawyers to be involved. Mr Reed is also involved with pro bono at the national level and makes regular contributions to national pro bono discussions.
Agnes McWhinney Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Female Lawyer – Hon. Justice Debra Mullins
The Agnes McWhinney Award celebrates more than 100 years of women in the law, and is named in honour of the first female solicitor in Queensland. As a recipient of this award, Justice Mullins is regarded as a woman who has made exceptional contributions to the legal profession. Justice Mullins is a member of the Supreme Court of Queensland, and is also involved many other community and professional organisations.