Baker & McKenzie associate Arjuna Dibley won the Young Gun Award at last year’s ceremony for his climate change advisory, M&A and dispute resolution work.
However, it was his unique expertise in Indonesian law and engagement with Indonesian officials that really set him apart.
Asked to offer advice to other ambitious young lawyers, Mr Dibley suggested they pursue their personal interests or expertise.
“Don't be concerned about your point of difference – in fact, embrace your point of difference because it can be a very useful thing,” he said.
Prior to joining Bakers, Mr Dibley studied Indonesian law at university and worked in the University of Melbourne's Asian Law Centre.
During clerkship interviews, he recalled being told that his work on Indonesian law was irrelevant and even to reconsider working for a firm.
“But I've found that not to be the case at all. In fact, having that slightly different perspective and experience … has been extremely useful. I've done some work with the Indonesian government, in large part through the contacts I've developed through that point of difference,” he said.
Submissions for this year’s Young Gun Award, and other categories of the Australian Law Awards, are now open.
Since winning at last year’s awards, Mr Dibley’s work on climate change has taken him to the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru.
He also had an opportunity to meet the Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo’s chief of staff to discuss climate change policy.
Mr Dibley sees climate change as an exciting practice area, with Australian firms well-placed to contribute to regional policy.
“In the past we have had a very successful regulatory framework in Australia in managing emissions deductions, but also in terms of creating incentives for companies to engage in conservation work,” he said.
“Increasingly, those are the sorts of issues at that governments in southeast Asia are becoming much more interested in. Given that we have a number of lawyers who specialise in those areas, we have a unique position to be able to take that experience off-shore.”