Baker & McKenzie’s Dora Stilianos has won the Property Law Group of the Law Council of Australia’s 2008 Victorian Young Property Lawyer of the Year award.
Dora collected the award at the Law Institute of Victoria Property Law Conference in Melbourne on 10 October.
Senior associate Stilianos has been with Baker & McKenzie since June 2007. Prior to joining the firm she worked at Clayton Utz in its property, planning and development group.
Stilianos specialises in acquisitions, disposals and lease arrangements for commercial, industrial, retail and rural property, and the award recognised her recent work on several significant transactions.
One outstanding transaction was the $136.5 million sale of the former General Motors Holden site on the Princes Highway in Dandenong. The high-stakes transaction was complex and carried out in a short time frame, Stilianos said.
“There was only a 14-day settlement period, so that was a big transaction that we worked on with a number of complicated matters and more than about 12 different leasehold premises within the one industrial site.”
The other big project that Stilianos has worked on in the last year is the development of a very significant site for the Southern Cross station authority — the future headquarters of The Age newspaper, opposite the station on Spencer Street.
These two clients have kept Stilianos and her team busy in 2008, but she has still found time to work in a pro bono capacity for several organisations, including the Peter Mac Cancer Centre in Melbourne.
“[Bakers] runs the cancer patient legal clinic there. But we also do other things like giving them access to the superannuation, helping them write their wills. If the cancer patient has got HECS debt we try to release those debts, and just try to lobby for new laws for people with critical illness so that they’re not burdened with any debt.”
The next big challenge for Stilianos will be negotiating the complex balance between family and work life, as she is expecting her first child.
“I’m about to embark on the whole maternity leave experience and return to work as a mum. So that’s going to be one of the challenges facing me in the immediate future,” she said.
“My boss [Bruce Webb] is just an extraordinary person who has been very accommodating. Basically he’s happy to accommodate whatever I can offer on return from maternity leave. It’s a really family-friendly group.”
Commenting on Stilianos’s receipt of the award, her supervising partner Webb said: “This is a fine achievement for Dora, having been selected out of an impressive list of candidates. We are delighted that Dora has been able to provide our clients with such distinguished service to earn our clients’ and her peers’ support and endorsement.”
Stilianos certainly isn’t planning to dim the lights on her burgeoning career any time soon.
“You don’t get to senior associate in a major law firm unless you’re ambitious and hardworking. So that won’t be changing,” she said.