Lander & Rogers insurance lawyer Gavin Hollamby has today taken out this year's NSW Golden Gavel public speaking competition.
Speaking on the topic, "Why my firm should or shouldn't conduct its own reality TV show", Hollamby impressed the 500-strong crowd and the competition's judge, Justice Patricia Bergin of the Supreme Court of NSW, who applauded Hollamby for his content, timing and ability to get a reaction from the audience.
Keeping the crowd in hysterics from start to finish, Hollamby convinced the audience that every law firm is a ready-made reality TV show just begging to be filmed, drawing comparisons to shows such as The Apprentice, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Big Brother, Man vs Wild, and Masterchef - in which Lander & Rogers lawyer Peter Kritikides is currently starring.
"I basically just followed the career of a lawyer and spoke about how every step of the way it mirrors the premise of one of these reality TV shows," said Hollamby.
While Hollamby does not credit himself with being a funny man, he does admit he likes the sound of his own voice and isn't afraid of the limelight, hosting trivia nights and providing entertainment at the firm's mid-year parties.
But speaking in front of an expectant room full of lawyers and a Supreme Court judge is enough to give anyone butterflies.
"I was incredibly nervous, but I am originally from Melbourne so I thought well, no-one knows me, so what is the worst thing I can do to my reputation?" said Hollamby.
"When I won I was in shock. I haven't done anything like this since high school, and I was rubbish at it back then."
The annual public speaking competition is an opportunity for young lawyers to showcase their advocacy and comedy skills, with each given five minutes to argue their case on a usually far-fetched topic - revealed only 24 hours beforehand.
Despite the fact he is moving back to Melbourne in August, Hollamby will now battle it out with the other state winners for a chance to win the coveted national Golden Gavel trophy in October.
And as for competing in next year's competition, Hollamby is afraid he has perhaps started off his career as a stand-up comedian too strongly, and may have to retire gracefully in order to avoid disappointment.
"But if I'm pressured," he said, "I'll do it again."
- Claire Chaffey
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