Access to Justice Award 2023
Thelma Schwartz, Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service
Thelma is the Principal Legal Officer at QIFVLS, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisation providing legal and non-legal support services to First Nation’s victims-survivors of family violence and sexual assault in Queensland. She is a legal practitioner with more than 23 years post-admission experience and identifies as of Torres Strait Islander heritage alongside her German, Samoan and Papua New Guinean heritage. Thelma has worked extensively with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in regional and remote Queensland, across the justice system and has served as a member of the Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce, which produced the Hear Her Voice Reports. She is a current member of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Advisory Panel as well as the co-chair of the Justice Policy Partnership Cross Agency Working Group in Queensland.
Agnes McWhinney Award 2023
Tricia Price, Legal Aid Queensland
Born in Tasmania, Tricia was admitted to practice in 1992 in Victoria and travelled to Cairns in 1995 to take up the Principal Lawyer position with the North Queensland Land Council Aboriginal Corporation on a two year contract. Tricia moved to Legal Aid Queensland in 1997 in the position of Senior Solicitor and has enjoyed a successful career there for over a quarter of a century. She is currently the Acting Senior Principal Lawyer.
Emerging Leader Award 2023
Arabella Kullack, Maurice Blackburn
Arabella is a Senior Associate at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and resides in Cairns. She practises exclusively in the area of succession law and regularly advises clients on family provision applications, contested probate proceedings and complex estate administration matters. She is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, a global community of lawyers specialising in the area of succession law and lectures for Central Queensland University. Arabella also sits on the Cairns Community Legal Centre board and is Vice President of the Cairns Amateurs Racing Committee.
First Nations Solicitor of the Year Award 2023
Lorelei Billing, Legal Aid Queensland
Lorelei is a proud Quandamooka Bundjalung and South Sea Islander woman. Her traditional country is Stradbroke Island, MoretonIslandand the Moreton Bay region (Quandamooka) and the Tweed Heads region (Bundjalung) through her maternal grandparents. They were founding members of many First Nation’s organisations still operating today, including ATSILS. While studying at JCU, she gained an Indigenous Cadetship at the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland before working as a Court Support Officer at ATSILS. Lorelei was admitted in 2015 and took up a role as a criminal lawyer at ATSILS in 2017 and in 2018 commenced her current position as a criminal lawyer with Legal Aid Queensland.
First Nations Student Award 2023
Ceferina Villarin, Griffith University
Ceferina Villarin, Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Criminology & Criminal Justice student, Griffith University
Ceferina is a proud Aboriginal woman from the Kooma Nation with ancestral and familial ties to Cherbourg and North Queensland. She is currently in her fifth year studying a Bachelor of Laws (Honours)/Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University. Throughout her studies, she has worked as a Legal Intern at Gadens through the Career Trackers Program. In her spare time, she gives to her local community through educational programs such as Beyond the Broncos and sport and health programs such as The Boss Boxing. Ceferina is the eldest of six children and is the first in her family to attend university.
In-house Counsel of the Year 2023
Mel Scott, Megaport
Mel Scott is the Senior Legal Counsel at Megaport Limited and has worked in-house for eight years across multiple industries such as aviation, infrastructure, financial services and now, cloud computing. She has served as the In-House Advisor to the Women Lawyers Association Queensland. She is also a founding Board Member of the Centre for Legal Innovation’s Emerging Leaders Advisory Board. Mel launched "Counsel", a self-made podcast about in-house lawyer life, during the first COVID-19 lockdown. She is a passionate advocate for all things in-house and also shares career insights for law students and graduates on social media.
Pride in Law Award 2023
Jason Garrick, Legal Aid Queensland
Jason Garrick is currently the Senior Lawyer in the Violence Prevention and Women's Advocacy Team of Legal Aid Queensland and has worked in family, domestic violence and child protection jurisdictions since admission. Jason sits on the Corporate and Social Responsibility Committee of Queensland Rugby League and is a Director of Proud2Play Inc., a nationwide grassroots LGBTIQA+ inclusion in sports organisation. Jason loves sport and credits rugby union and his career in law to finding joy every day. Prior to working in law, Jason worked in the mining industry and was a Director of CanTeen, the Australian Organisation for Young People Living with Cancer. Pride in Law is pleased to present the 2023 Pride in Law Award to Jason Garrick
Queensland Solicitor of the Year (Large) 2023
Giri Sivaraman, Maurice Blackburn
Born in India and raised in Zambia before migrating to Australia, Giri has called Brisbane home for the past nine years. Giri is a Principal Lawyer at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and Head of the firm’s Queensland Employment Law department. He is a member of the Queensland Law Society’s employment law subcommittee and an accredited specialist in workplace relations and a Law Society of NSW accredited specialist in employment and industrial law. Giri is recognised as a thought leader in employment law and has written on employment law issues for Fairfax and News Corporation publications, as well as legal and employment specialist journals. He has appeared before NSW, Queensland and Commonwealth parliamentary committee inquiries into employment issues such as bullying, sexual harassment, underpayments and the gig economy. Giri is the Chair of Multicultural Australia, a not-for-profit organisation offering Migrant Support Services.
Queensland Solicitor of the Year (Small) 2023
Adair Donaldson, Donaldson Law
In his 25 years as a lawyer, Adair Donaldson has built a large regional practice, worked as a partner in a national legal firm and founded Donaldson Law in 2016, with a primary focus on creating a national practice to provide a trauma informed, alternative approach for survivors of abuse. Since 2007 Adair has worked to develop educational programs and consulted on the legal consequences of a range of social issues. Adair has presented workshops to thousands of people and has worked with the NRL to develop and implement educational resources for their players and clubs. In 2023, he was appointed to the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Council. He has been an ambassador for Full Stop Australia since 2016.
Queensland Solicitor of the Year (Sole) 2023
Hazrabee Mustaffa, HM Lawyers
Hazrabee established HM Lawyers in December 2006 in Victoria, having migrated from Malaysia in 1988. She relocated to Queensland in 2009 after the Black Saturday bushfires and re-established HM Lawyers in Stanmore. Since 2009, Hazrabee has provided pro bono legal advice at the Suncoast Community Legal Centre based at Maleny and for the past two years at Woodford under the auspices of the Moreton Bay Legal Service. Hazrabee is dedicated to the children she represents and works to ensure they have a voice and advocates for their best interest. Outside of work she enjoys Badminton and has been President of the Caboolture Badminton Club from 2020 – 2023.
Regional Practitioner of the Year Award 2023
Bianca Stafford, Maurice Blackburn
Bianca is an experienced Wills and Estates solicitor based in Cairns, Far North Queensland. Bianca is passionate about providing legal support and guidance to individuals and families during some of the most challenging times of their lives. Throughout her career, Bianca has accumulated experience in all aspects of succession law, including estate planning, estate administration, estate litigation and elder law. Bianca has organised and participated in educational seminars, workshops and conferences aimed at promoting professional development amongst her peers and fostering a greater understanding of wills and estates law. Bianca is an active member of the Far North Queensland Law Association, having served on the committee for the past 9 years and as President in 2021 and 2022.
Workplace Culture & Health Award (Organisation) 2023
Established in 2014, Keypoint is a national mid-tier law firm pioneering a paradigm shift for the benefit of both lawyers and clients. The result is a thriving, multi-award-winning firm, of 60 partner-level lawyers, working across 25 areas of law in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Canberra. Keypoint has been a finalist ‘Employer of Choice’ and ‘New Law Firm of the Year’ in the 2022 Australian Law Awards; appointed as a member of the legal panels of the Australian Commonwealth Government, the Queensland Local Government, the NSW Government and the NSW Trustee & Guardian and awarded ‘State/Regional Law Firm of the Year’ at the 2021 Australian Law Awards.