Global firm doubles its chances in Young Gun award

By Felicity Nelson|17 November 2015
women in law

Two young lawyers from Herbert Smith Freehills are in the running for a highly competitive prize at this year’s Women in Law Awards.

Herbert Smith Freehills lawyers Amelia Morgan and Debra Ellis are both finalists in the Young Gun of the Year category, to be presented by the Leo Cussen Centre for Law.

This award recognises outstanding performance by an individual who has recently commenced her legal career.

It is open to female lawyers under the age of 30 who are within their first three years of practice below the senior associate level.


This year 10 finalists made the cut, including three from global firms, six from national firms and one from a community legal centre.

Ms Morgan was described by her firm as a “dealmaker extraordinaire”. She is a solicitor in the mergers and acquisitions group at HSF and has established herself as “a legal practitioner to watch” in her first two years of practice through her work on billion-dollar hostile takeovers.

Ms Ellis works with the corporate group at HSF on large-scale mergers and acquisitions and equity capital markets transactions.

“I consistently receive feedback that what sets me apart from my peers is my ability to take the lead on transactions and drive them forward,” she said.

Finalist Verity Scandrett from Sparke Helmore had a challenging year. According to her submission, she was given “an unprecedented amount of responsibility for a junior solicitor”.  

She successfully defended a national insurance broker in multi-party proceedings, involving issues of policy avoidance, non-disclosure and fraud.

She also instructed a QC at a Supreme Court hearing, while other parties’ instructing counsel were at least senior associate level or above.

Ms Scandrett assisted in the representation of corporate clients in a number of class actions in both the Supreme Court of NSW and the Federal Court.

Finalist Libby Radjenovic from DibbsBarker took on an important role at her firm when one of the partners went on sabbatical leave for three months. She became the primary point of contact for all of the partner’s clients.

“As a result of Libby’s strong interpersonal skills and ability to develop rapport with clients, many of these clients have continued to contact Libby directly since then,” her submission read.  


Ms Radjenovic also had carriage of a number of litigious matters, all of which were successfully resolved.

Other finalists in the Young Gun category include: Samantha Robson, Ashurst; Isobelle Watts, Clayton Utz; Georgia Wall, Gadens; Kristen Hammond, Holman Webb; Elizabeth Aitken, TressCox Lawyers; and Emma Smallwood, Women's Legal Service.

Lawyers Weekly congratulates all the finalists in all categories.

The finalists’ submissions are now before a panel of 20 judges and will be announced at a black-tie gala dinner at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne on 27 November – tickets available now.

Global firm doubles its chances in Young Gun award
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