Our Judges

<span>Our</span> Judges
Lesley Hitchens

Dean
Faculty of Law, University on New South Wales

Lesley Hitchens has been Dean of the Law Faculty, UTS since February 2013. She sits on the NSW Legal Profession Admission Board and the Legal Services Council Admissions Committee. In 2015 she was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. She practised as a commercial lawyer for seven years, first with Allens and later with Herbert Smith in London. She has held academic positions in the UK and Australia. In 2018 she was awarded the Financial Times Australian Legal Innovator Award.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Alexander Ward

Barrister
Edmund Barton Chambers

Barrister Alexander Ward has represented the legal profession as President of the Law Council of Australia (2011) Commonwealth Lawyers Association (2015 - 2017) and Law Society SA (2004-2005). He is a member of the AAT General Division and holds a reserve commission as a Legal Officer in the RAN. He has been a member of Ethics Committees in the ADF and in SA.

Admitted to practice in 1985, he specialises in insurance cases with fraud or complex issues, and regularly appears as a commentator on legal matters in the media.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Ali Dibbenhall

Head of Legal, Pacific
LexisNexis

Ali joined LexisNexis in 2017 as Head of Legal for the Pacific Region. Ali and her team work with LexisNexis’ Australian and New Zealand businesses providing advice across issues from intellectual property and digital media through to privacy and competition laws.

Ali has held senior legal roles across a variety of industries internationally, including higher education, renewable energy and leisure. Ali’s focus is on working closely with the business to address both the opportunities and the challenges presented by rapid advances in technology, changing customer needs and the evolving nature of legal practice across the region and the world.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Ann-Maree David

Executive Director - Queensland
The College of Law

Ann-Maree David is an Executive Director of The College of Law, the largest provider of practice-focused legal education in Australasia. She has worked in the legal profession for over 30 years, in public and corporate sector roles and in private practice as a solicitor.

Ann-Maree has held a career-long passion for developing and delivering education and training programs to enable all involved in the delivery of legal services to thrive both personally and professionally.

In addition to leading the College of Law’s Queensland campus, Ann-Maree is Immediate Past President of Australian Women Lawyers and a Director of the Australian Gender Equality Council. She also chairs the Queensland Law Society’s Equity & Diversity Committee.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Carly Hanson

Sector Sustainability Coordinator
Community Legal Centres Queensland

Carly joined Community Legal Centres Queensland in 2017, where she supports 34 not-for-profit community legal centres to provide free, high quality legal services to people experiencing disadvantage. She promotes the development of organisational capacity of member organisations, including members' professional standards, and the design and delivery of training and development opportunities for staff and volunteers.

Through her policy and advocacy work, Carly contributes to the overall effectiveness and sustainability of the sector in delivering positive client outcomes. With over 15 years’ experience in the private and community legal sectors, and in the tertiary education sector, Carly is passionate about providing holistic and pro bono legal services, and promoting an innovative, collaborative, learning culture in the legal profession.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Catherine Maxwell

General Manager, Policy and Advocacy
Governance Institute of Australia

Catherine has a strong background in governance and policy gained at the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, the ASX Corporate Governance Council, ASX, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Financial Services Council. Qualified as a lawyer, she has also held roles as a company secretary with The Cancer Council NSW, NPP Australia Limited and Father Chris Riley’s Youth off the Streets Limited.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Cindy Penrose

Chief Operating Officer
Paul Ramsay Foundation

Cindy is the Chief Operating Officer and Company Secretary of the Paul Ramsay Foundation – Australia’s largest philanthropic Foundation - with an ambition to break the cycle of disadvantage in Australia. She is also Chair of the Foundation’s Criminal Justice Taskforce.

Cindy was formerly the (first female) Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Bar Association, the peak body representing 6000 barristers nationally; and the former Assistant Director of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, regarding abuse and misconduct within the Australian Defence Force.

Cindy has considerable experience in both private practice and government as a criminal defence lawyer and has lectured in both criminal law and tort law.

Cindy is a passionate advocate for mental health within the legal profession. She assisted to establish BarCare which provides professional psychological and other support to members of the NSW Bar and is a Director with Minds Count (formerly known as the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation), which aims to decrease work related psychological ill-health in the legal community and to promote workplace psychological health and safety.

Cindy holds a Master’s Degree in Law along with undergraduate degrees in Commerce and Law; and studied international law at The University of Graz in Austria under academic scholarship.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Claire Bibby

Senior Lawyer & Professional Coach
Claire Bibby

Claire is COO & General Counsel of Immediation, a non-executive director of Marist180, My Property Circles, and the University of Technology Sydney Law Advisory Board, an accredited mediator and a mentor.

In addition, Claire is an executive member of the Australian Association of Corporate Counsel, an Entrepreneur Ambassador for Opportunity International, and a committee member of Soroptimist International, the New South Wales Law Society Futures Committee and the Resolution Institute. Claire is also a Foundation Speaker with The Prominenti Society Speakers Agency.

Claire has been recognised as one of Australia’s best lawyers and female executives, including having been awarded the “Excellence Award for Women in Law”, “General Counsel of the Year”, “Female Executive of the Year in Asia, Australia & New Zealand”, “Mentor of the Year” and most recently she was featured in SmartCompany's 2018 International Women's Day Showcase.

Part and parcel with her passion for the law and advancing the interests of women, Claire is an active philanthropist and public speaker on issues of innovation, diversity and inclusion, psychological wellness, developing high performing teams and women’s leadership. Claire is also a mentor for 7 x World Surfing Champion Layne Beachley AO's "Aim for the Stars" Foundation.

www.clairebibby.com

<span>Our</span> Judges
Damian Sturzaker

Partner
Marque Lawyers

Damian is one of the founders of the innovative Australian firm, Marque Lawyers where he heads up the Dispute Resolution team.

Damian has almost 30 years’ experience as a commercial litigator with specialist expertise in the areas of international arbitration and cross border dispute resolution. He has run international arbitrations in London, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

He is recognised as one of Australia’s leading lawyers in the field of Dispute Resolution by Legal 500, Best Lawyers and the Chambers Global and Asia Pacific Guides. In 2018 he was named the Arbitration Lawyer of the year by Best Lawyers. He is a Visiting Professorial Fellow at UNSW.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Garry Taylor

General Counsel
Croesus Holdings Group

The Croesus Holdings Group comprises six companies, which provide services in Project Management; Corporate Legal Compliance; Management Training & Education; Environmental GRC; ADR (mediation, arbitration & adjudication); and Litigation Funding.

Previously, Garry was Managing Director of an international Investment Bank with offices in Sydney, Vancouver, New York, London, Dublin, Hong Kong and Singapore. Those activities involved him in international capital raising; public listings; distressed company “turn-arounds”; workplace & employment relations; drafting & management of contracts; project management; governance & risk assessment; corporate strategic planning; supply chain logistics & human rights; corporate legal compliance; environmental sustainability; and optimising management outcomes.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Joseph Catanzariti AM

Vice President
Fair Work Commission

Joseph Catanzariti AM is a Vice President of the Fair Work Commission, the national workplace relations tribunal.
Prior to his appointment to the Fair Work Commission, Joseph was a senior Partner of Clayton Utz and Practice Leader of the Workplace Relations, Employment and Safety Practice Group. Joseph was a trusted adviser to many of Australia’s leading companies and government departments. Joseph was also a highly experienced Commercial Litigator.

Joseph is a Visiting Professorial Fellow of the School of Law and the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales, and an Adjunct Associate Professor in Work and Organisational Studies, School of Business at Sydney University.

Joseph is the Chair of the College of Law.

Joseph is also co-author of Workplace Bullying published by LexisNexis.

He has previously held the positions of President of the Law Council of Australia, President of the NSW Law Society, Chair of the Workplace Committee of the Law Society of New South Wales (2000 - 2013), and Secretary of the Industrial Relations Society of Australia (1997-2011).

Joseph was awarded Life Time Recognition, Industrial Relations Society of Australia / Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association 2011, and the Industrial Relations Society of New South Wales in 2015.

Joseph is a fellow of the Academy of Law.

On 26 January 2016 Joseph was made a Member of the Order of Australia.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Kirsty Silbert

General Counsel
Laser Clinics Australia

Kirsty is the General Counsel and Company Secretary of Laser Clinics Australia, a franchisor and Australia’s largest provider of cosmetic treatments and laser hair removal. With over 140 clinics in Australia, Kirsty has also been involved in the brand’s international expansion in New Zealand, through Laser Clinics New Zealand, and more recently to the United Kingdom. Kirsty has over 19 years’ experience in practice and has held senior legal roles across a variety of industries such as supermarkets, health, telecommunication and retail, with the focus on franchising across different models.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Kody Thompson

CEO
Lightning Sites

Kody Thompson is best known as an award-winning entrepreneur, international speaker, and the founder of the hugely successful web development company Sites At Scale. Kody started his first business with $250 of business cards to pay the bills while working full-time as a volunteer Youth Pastor. Within just six years Kody turned his $250 investment into over $2M of profit. Building over 1,000 websites, servicing over 600 clients every month and generating in excess of 500,000 leads for his clients. On a personal note, Kody is a devoted husband and father of two girls. He is passionate about giving back and has launched a not-for-profit project in the Philippines Love @ Scale supporting 250 students.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Matt Floro

Senior Solicitor
Environmental Defenders Office

Matt Floro is a Senior Solicitor advising on environmental, planning, climate change and administrative law at the Environmental Defenders Office, Australia's largest public interest environmental community legal centre. He has practised environmental and planning law in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales and has worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, Clayton Utz and Corrs Chambers Westgarth. Passionate about diversity, inclusion and community, he has led Out for Australia Victoria, the Australian Law Students' Association and his university law society. He currently serves as a Board Director of the National Environmental Law Association and teaches at various law schools in Sydney.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Stephen Lancken

Director
Negocio Resolutions

Steve Lancken has been a full time mediator since 1999. During that time, Steve has conducted over 2,000 mediations. Steve has worked in Queensland mediating Native Title issues and in Liberia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Nepal and Northern America. Steve has conducted mediations for Australia’s largest and most successful organisations such as ASIC, ACCC, QANTAS, GPT, AGSM, Mission Australia, the Salvation Army, Australian Treasury, Australian Government Solicitors and Department of Defence. Steve also works with Australia’s largest banks and insurers.

Steve enjoys the opportunity to do the most interesting and challenging work and contribute to social justice, teach, educate and contribute to his profession.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Steven Walker

Managing Director and Head of Law Department
Elevate Services

Steven is a 19-year lawyer, having spent 10 years in-house at Hewlett-Packard working across the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific, with several years as Vice President, South Pacific General Counsel and Group Secretary. Before that, he worked for Norton Rose and Baker McKenzie in London, Sydney and Cologne.

In 2017, Steven founded and is CEO of a consulting and solutions company, Gen2Law, specialising in helping legal departments, law firms and law companies innovate and transform to the next generation of legal and ops services through technology and process modernisation.

Steven speaks and writes frequently on the future of legal services, contributing to
publications by the AFR, Association of Corporate Counsel and “Remaking Law Firms” by George Beaton, published by the American Bar Association. He is a Committee Member for the Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession (FLIP) initiative of the Law Society of New South Wales and holds advisory board positions for the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM) and several technology start-ups.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Sue Kench

Global Chief Executive
King & Wood Mallesons

Sue Kench is the Global Chief Executive and Co-Chairman China of King & Wood Mallesons, Asia’s leading international law firm.

Sue took on the Global Chief Executive role in 2017 after leading the firm in Australia for four years as Chief Executive Partner, Australia. Sue was the first woman in Australia to lead a top tier law firm in that role and is the first Australian female to lead a global law firm and a China firm.

Sue works closely with the Global Chairman and the firm’s International Management Committee to lead the firm’s international growth strategy. Sue is based in Hong Kong and spends significant time in China and Australia.
She became a Partner of legacy Mallesons Stephen Jaques in 1996 and has held a number of board, management and leadership positions in the firm over the past two decades.

Amongst her many professional achievements, Sue has received a number of accolades and acknowledgements for her impact and influence on the legal profession in the Asia Pacific. These include:

  • AFR Power List 2020 – Legal
  • The Lawyers Weekly Lawyer of the 21st Century award recognising her significant professional achievements between 2000 and 2020 (2020);
  • Doctor of Letters honoris causa from Macquarie University in recognition of her extraordinary contribution to the law (2019);
  • The esteemed ‘Legal leader’ award, at the Financial Times Innovative Lawyer Awards, in recognition of her significant role in driving King & Wood Mallesons growth and success across APAC (2018);
  • The Australian Financial Review’s Top 100 Women of Influence (2018);
  • The Lawyers Weekly Executive of the Year award (2017).

Sue is on the Board of Directors of AUSTCHAM Beijing and is a member of The Wall Street Journal CEO Council, Chief Executive Women and the Business Council of Australia.

Sue is married with three children.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Sue-Ella Prodonovich

Director
Prodonovich Advisory

Sue-Ella specialises in helping lawyers and law firms create more rewarding practices through purposeful business strategy and positive client engagement.

Sue-Ella established her award-winning consultancy Prodonovich Advisory in 2005.

Her In-House roles have included Director of Marketing, Arthur Anderson; Director of Marketing & Business Development, Baker McKenzie; and Partner, Crowe Horwath.
Sue-Ella is a member of the teaching faulty of The College of Law, The Law Society of NSW, The Law Institute of Victoria, and FMRC. In 2011 she was inducted into the APSMA Hall Of Fame for services to the Australasian Professional Services Industry and in 2019 she was made a Fellow of the College of Law Firm Management. Her qualifications include an MBA, Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) (Law & Marketing) – VC List, the AICD Course for Company Directors, and the Net Promoter® Client Loyalty Program™.

www.prodonovich.com

<span>Our</span> Judges
Tanya Sale

Chief Executive Officer
outsource Financial

Tanya Sale is the Founder, CEO and Managing Director of multi award-winning, national Aggregator group, outsource financial. Tanya is the only female CEO / Managing Director of a mortgage Aggregator in Australia. Having extensive banking and finance experience, Tanya pioneered the third-party mortgage sector, by creating diverse models to change the way lending was conducted in Australia.

In 2019 Tanya appeared on the expert's panel, for a new television show on Channel 9, called Secrets of the Money Masters. A series featuring some of Australia's biggest sporting celebrities who learn about financial strategy and security. Additionally, in 2019, Tanya won 'CEO of the Year' at the Women in Finance Awards and was named as one of MPA’s Global 100.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Troy Swan

General Counsel & Company Secretary
Winc

Troy Swan is the Chief Legal Officer, Company Secretary and Board Member of the $1.4billion office products company Winc Australia & New Zealand. Winc was formed following the acquisition of Staples & OfficeMax by US based private equity firm Platinum Equity.

He has been publicly recognised as one of Australia's leading corporate lawyers and was named the 2017 Australian Lawyer of the Year (FMCG) and a General Counsel of the Year finalist in both 2016 and 2017. He became only the second Australian lawyer to win the prestigious International Value Champions Award in San Francisco and was recently named in Washington, the Association of Corporate Counsel Member of the Year, from over 43,000 lawyers worldwide for his commitment to the legal community and profession. This was the first time this honour was ever awarded to a lawyer outside America.

Known for his business judgment, he is highly active within the Sydney legal and business community. He is a regular speaker and media commentator on legal affairs, innovation and large scale legal service delivery models and leads an award winning legal team based in Sydney.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Frances Anderson

Assistant Victorian Government Solicitor
Victorian Government Solicitor's Office

Frances leads the Workplace Relations and Occupational Safety Branch of the Victorian Government Solicitor's Office, providing practical, solutions-focussed legal advice and assistance to Victorian Public Sector clients on all aspects of employee relations, industrial relations and occupational health and safety law. She has over 30 years of workplace relations experience and has practised as a lawyer in Australia and overseas, and in law firms, in-house, and government. She is highly skilled at working with multiple stakeholders in achieving optimum outcomes and positive results for clients. Frances also has considerable advocacy experience, having represented numerous clients in courts and tribunals. She has particular expertise at workplace change and restructure, managing complex workplace disputes and sensitive matters, providing strategic and tactical advice, working in culturally diverse, complex and highly regulated organisations and in advising and managing risk in organisations with heightened political and legal sensitivities. Frances has written and presented on a variety of workplace relations topics of interest, including on Sexual harassment and #MeToo, as well as the Workplace of the Future.

<span>Our</span> Judges
Norman Donato

Partner
Bartier Perry Pty Limited

Since 1987 Norman has been practicing as a corporate and commercial lawyer, advising national and
international clients, government bodies, major banks and publicly listed companies.
He advises on all aspects of commercial law including drafting, reviewing and negotiating contracts,
governance, managing complex commercial negotiations and regularly acts on complex transactions.
He is also a specialist in the banking and finance sector, particularly in securities and duties law.
Norman has extensive experience in working with government in-house legal teams to help them
deliver their services to the public, and to develop and scope projects from both a legal and
commercial perspective. He is also a regular speaker and presents seminars on topics including
Director’s Duties, Privacy and E-Commerce.
As President of the Commercial Law Association Limited for the past 8 years, Norman has had the
opportunity to contribute to the continuing legal education programs offered to practitioners. He has
worked with some of the leading legal industry presenters, including judges and senior counsel, in
arranging and delivering high quality continuing legal education seminars