The finalists in the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards' Female Partner Award are all leaders in the profession.
Baker & McKenzie’s Anne-Marie Allgrove (pictured right) is considered a global expert in her practice area of technology, communications and privacy law. She was the first elected female member of the management committee for Bakers’ Australian offices; she is one of the leaders of the firm’s pro bono strategy; is the chair of Bakers’ Diversity and Flexibility Steering Committee, and is one of the founders and drivers of the BakerWomen program.
Virginia Briggs from Minter Ellison acted on the largest Australian deal of the year when she led the team that advised the NSW Government on the NSW Ports transaction, which was also the second-largest private M&A deal in Australian history. She heads the firm’s property practice group in Sydney, the government group in NSW and has recently been appointed to the firm’s partnership board. She also established the Women in Government boardroom dinner series and acts as a mentor to a number of junior lawyers.
Minters’ second finalist in the category is banking & finance partner Gillian Brown. Gillian was Minters’ first female chair and one of the first women to hold that office within an Australian top-tier firm; she is described by Minters chairman Bruce Cowley as a key driver of the firm’s diversity policy. She worked alongside her colleague Virginia on the $5.07 billion Ports deal and she is also a member of the capital markets board of Queensland Treasury Corporation and a director of Australian Rail Track Corporation.
Jenni Hill is a dispute resolution specialist and the head of Norton Rose Fulbright’s Perth office – the first woman to hold a head-of-office role with Norton Rose Fulbright Australia. She is the co-chair of the firm’s diversity committee and, together with another female partner, led a project to redevelop and re-launch the firm’s approach to flexible work to make it mainstream rather than an exception. Since that project commenced in 2009 the firm has almost doubled the number of female lawyers it has working flexibly – from 15 per cent to 27 per cent.
Gilbert + Tobin’s Rachel Launders led the team that advised on one of the most complex recent debt restructures in the Australian market – the time-sensitive restructure of Nine Entertainment, with Nine’s group general counsel Amanda Laing saying Rachel “continuously provides the utmost attention and dedication”. She also sits on the firm’s Knowledge and Learning Partner Committee and is heavily involved in G+T’s pro bono and CSR programs.
Sandy Mak (pictured in slider image on homepage) from Corrs Chambers Westgarth combines a busy M&A practice with her role as co-chair of Corrs’ Diversity Council. She is also one of the 13 members of the firm’s Executive Leadership Team and has been a key contributor to the firm’s International Strategy. Sandy had key roles in publishing a revised Corrs Parental Leave Policy and the firm’s Reconciliation Action Plan. She also has formal and informal mentoring roles with a number of lawyers in the firm.