find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Gen Y shakes up insurance sector

Gen Y shakes up insurance sector

30 under 30 insurance

Young lawyers are bringing a new perspective to the practice of insurance law, a winner of the Lawyers Weekly 30 under 30 believes.

Melissa Zen (pictured centre), who was a senior associate at Sparke Helmore before moving to Hall & Wilcox, believes young lawyers are challenging the way insurance law has traditionally been practised.

“I think that by bringing my Gen Y way of thinking to the industry, I bring a fresh approach and question things perhaps more than other lawyers who accept things as they are on the premise that they have always been a certain way,” Ms Zen said.

She believes soft skills are vital for insurance lawyers, whose clients are often experiencing loss or personal upheaval.

“In being passionate and empathetic towards people who find themselves in less than desirable circumstances, I believe I am contributing to changing the way in which people view insurance and the legal profession as a whole.”

Nonetheless, Ms Zen acknowledged that many graduate lawyers have a skewed perception of insurance law as “limited to making claims for stolen car radios”.

“[Previously] I had no idea how ingrained into life that insurance really was, or its importance to individuals, families and businesses,” she said.

In her seven years at Sparkes, Ms Zen has distinguished herself as a lawyer, according to former Sparkes partner Daniel Stoddart, who is also now at Hall & Wilcox. He points to two cases involving Ms Zen that set precedents on novel points of law.

“Not only is she making law, she is obtaining excellent results for her clients,” Mr Stoddart said.

Ms Zen is also one of the youngest lawyers, and the only lawyer from Sparkes, to obtain accreditation as a personal injury specialist, according to Mr Stoddart.

Other winners in the insurance category were Emily Archer of Minter Ellison (pictured left) and Tejas Thete from Gadens (pictured right).

Ms Archer specialises in asbestos litigation, which she believes requires a nuanced.

“Within an insurance company, the asbestos portfolio is closely monitored and highly sensitive,” she said.

“Further, in light of the sensitive nature of asbestos litigation involving plaintiffs with extremely limited life expectancies, a major aspect of my role is to balance the needs of the plaintiff and their families to achieve a fast resolution of proceedings, while thoroughly advising and protecting our client’s rights.”

Meanwhile, Ms Thete has been effectively running a litigation practice under the oversight of a senior partner.

A career highlight included being involved in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, where she collated and reviewed documents, prepared witness statements and liaised with the Royal Commission and media.


Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Gen Y shakes up insurance sector
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microphone
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
protest
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...