Queensland Law Society

Recognising excellence in the law

Queensland’s legal profession gathered last night in Brisbane to recognise excellence in the law at the annual QLS Legal Profession Dinner and Awards. Among the crowd were some of the finest legal minds in the state, including members of the judiciary, Government representatives and Queensland lawyers.

2019 QLS President Bill Potts was joined on stage by some of the most inspirational Queensland solicitors as he recognised them for excellence in law with the nine awards handed out.

Among those who won the marquee awards was regional lawyer and domestic violence prevention advocate Edwina Rowan who was recognised as an inspirational female lawyer when she received the coveted QLS Agnes McWhinney Award for her work advocating for children in the justice system and advocating against domestic violence.

Edwina was joined by other inspirational lawyers including pre-eminent Queensland criminal lawyer Glen Cranny, who won the prestigious President’s Medal for his dedication to good law in Queensland and his many years on QLS policy committees.

Townsville’s premier human rights and pro bono lawyer Bill Mitchell was recognised as CLC Member of the Year for his many years working for the rights of others including institutional abuse, migration and refugees, older person’s human rights and equality and non-discrimination law.

The Innovation in Law Award went to social change lawyer Andrea Frances Perry-Petersen who has championed two key projects working with community legal centres and law students to utilise technology to improve access to justice.

Indigenous advocate and personal injuries specialist Bill Munro of the Bundjalung Nation took home the First Nations Lawyer of the Year award for his extensive work representing Indigenous clients across a broad spectrum of legal issues and supporting the Indigenous community.

The Equity Advocate Award was awarded to two people for the first time, with Ian Hazzard and Michael Bidwell sharing the honour for their instrumental roles in leading law firm McCullough Robertson’s LGBTI initiatives.

Bond University Law Student Giselle Kilner-Parmenter of the Gumbaynggirr people received the First Nations Student of the Year Award for her participation in on and off campus cultural awareness activities.

There were two Diversity and Inclusion Awards presented this year, with the Large and Medium Legal Practice Award going to McCullough Robertson for their inclusion and diversity strategy and the measures by which they track their success.

The Equity and Inclusion Small Legal Practice Award went to BTLawyers who ensure their firm takes the lead with recruitment practices, policy application and training on diversity, discrimination, harassment, bullying, inclusion, sustainability and unconscious bias.

QLS President Bill Potts congratulated this year’s recipients, reminding the crowd that these awards were a small way to recognise a large cohort of hard-working solicitors across the state.

“We have many dedicated solicitors who carry out inspirational and life-changing work for their clients each and every day,” he said.

“Nights such as this allow us to recognise a mere few who stand out amongst the crowd for their work to better the lives of their broader community and their profession.

“Congratulations and well done on the excellent work that you do to promote good law, continue to be good lawyers and advance the public good.”