QLS honours outstanding solicitors at annual gala event
22 February 2017
President Christine Smyth said it was an honour to begin her journey as the 2017 QLS president by bestowing awards at the Society’s annual premier event for members and legal and prominent dignitaries.
Queensland Law Society added three awards to acknowledge the stellar achievements of solicitors across the state at its prestigious 2017 QLS Legal Profession and Awards Dinner at the weekend.
Ms Smyth said it was a “pleasure’’ to present three new awards “created to recognise outstanding members of our profession.’’
“Our selection committee were exceedingly impressed with the calibre of applicants this year and I thank everyone who nominated either themselves or their colleagues for an award,’’ she said.
“The Society firmly believes in recognising good work and giving credit where it’s due.’’
The President’s Medal – the QLS’s top honour -- was bestowed upon Mahon Legal principal Megan Mahon – who remains the youngest solicitor ever elected as QLS president.
Ms Smyth said: “Megan broke a record with QLS as the youngest QLS president and third female to ever sit in the seat.”
“She provides tailored advice to individuals and SME’s in the areas of commercial and property-related matters and succession planning.
“In 2009 she was awarded the Women Lawyers’ Association of Queensland’s Woman Lawyer of the Year Award, and more recently has been appointed as a Notary Public and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.
“She is also a member of the Practitioner Panel of QCAT, is a Director of the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation, an Executive Director (and past Director) of the Law Council of Australia and a member of Griffith University’s Innocence Project Advisory Board.”
Rod Hodgson, State Managing Principal of Maurice Blackburn, was awarded the QLS’s 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award.
“Rod has over 27 years of experience in helping people access justice and extensive knowledge of the legal process in major litigation cases,’’ Mr Smyth said.
“He headed up the legal team that represented Dr Mohamed Haneef who was wrongly arrested on terrorism charges in 2007.
“He also received the Australian Lawyers Alliance Queensland Civil Justice Award in 2011 in recognition of his work.
“The Innovation in Law, Community Legal Centre Member of the Year and Honorary Life Member are the three new awards we have introduced this year.
The Innovation in Law Award was presented to Sarah Roach.
“In 2016 Sarah launched Helix Legal – a ‘newlaw’ firm, not quite a tech company but not quite a stock standard law firm,’’ Ms Smyth said.
“Helix Legal was founded by an all-female team and has seen great success within the last five months.
“Sarah believes that it’s time to break with tradition, look at the big-picture of complex matters and create a clear plan in plain English.”
The inaugural Community Legal Centre Member of the Year was presented to Gold Coast solicitor Ross Lee of the Robina Community Legal Centre.
“Last year, Robina Community Legal Centre was awarded Pro Bono Program of the Year at the Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards,’’ Ms Smyth said.
“Ross has practised since 1998 following an insurance career and also has a strong business in general insurance, life insurance and injury claims. He is one of the few lawyers accredited as an ANZIIF Certified Insurance Professional.’’
Honorary Life Member awards were presented for the first time at the dinner to Peter Eardley, Peter Carne and Gary Hutchinson.
“Peter Eardley is a practitioner with many years of experience. He is a QLS past president, Senior Counsellor and a Director of the War Widows’ Guild of Australia,’’ Ms Smyth said.
“Peter Carne is another well-known pillar of our profession. He is also a past president of QLS plus a past CEO of the Society. He is currently on his second term as the Public Trustee for Queensland.”
“And finally, Gary Hutchinson is also a practitioner with many years of experience. He was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1975 and was later admitted as a Solicitor of the High Court of Australia in 1991. He has also acted as a Senior Counsellor of the Queensland Law Society since 1994.’’
Gary is passionate about his community and is committed to protecting his clients’ interests and obtaining the best possible outcomes for them. His long term dedication to the peninsula and its people has led to numerous long term client relationships and a local reputation that is second to none.
Ms Smyth wrapped up the awards portion of the evening, saying: “I would like to congratulate all of our award winners tonight. It is truly a pleasure to recognise the great work that our members do each and every day.
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