Boutiques succeed in government practice

By Lara Bullock|04 April 2016

Three quarters of the government category finalists in the 2016 Partner of the Year Awards work at boutique firms.

The finalists for the inaugural Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards have been announced, with three out of the four government category finalists hailing from boutique firms, and one from a global.

The finalists are MacDonnells Law partners Eleanor Scott and Jennifer Humphris, Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers partner Geoff Adams and King & Wood Mallesons partner Stephen Jaggers.

Eleanor Scott was simultaneously promoted to partner and head of the MacDonnells Law state-wide government practice group in 2015 following her success as a senior associate.


Following her appointment she spent a significant amount of personal time travelling to the remotest corners of Queensland and the Torres Strait to provide face-to-face service to clients, in a bid to retain and grow the firm's government client base.

Her efforts resulted in the retention of most of the firm's existing local government clients, and the significant growth of its Indigenous local government client base from three councils to 12 across Queensland.

Ms Scott’s colleague at MacDonnells Law Jennifer Humphris is also a government finalist.

Ms Humphris is a partner within MacDonnells Law's state-wide government practice and leads the firm's native title and Aboriginal cultural heritage team.

She is appointed to the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Panel of Specialist Native Title Practitioners and her clients include local governments, government-owned energy corporations, port authorities and commercial organisations.


Last year, Jennifer successfully negotiated or managed the negotiation of over 10 Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) for her government clients to resolve the relationship between the exercise of government and native title interests.

Geoff Adams has led the government practice group at Canberra-based law firm Meyer Vandenberg since 2012.

In 2014-15, Mr Adams led a team advising on a major new program for the Commonwealth Department of Health, the My Health Record system. The work involved full-time on-site support, over nine months in 2014-15 and continuing, to the Department by a core team led by Mr Adams.

Representing the big players in this category is Mr Jaggers, who has been King & Wood Mallesons’ partner in charge in Canberra since 2011.

He has also held a leadership role in the government sector team for the last three years, during which he has developed and implemented the firm's Commonwealth strategy of focusing business development effort on three key Commonwealth Departments in order to build a deeper relationship and understand clients more fully.

Winners will be announced at a black-tie gala on 28 April at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth – tickets on sale now.

Boutiques succeed in government practice
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