Lawyers Weekly, in partnership with Major, Lindsey & Africa, is pleased to reveal the winners for this year’s Partner of the Year Awards.
Partners determine the financial success and integrity of law firms. At the height of their careers, top partners demonstrate leadership, technical expertise, mentorship and business development skills. Each year, Lawyers Weekly looks to recognise the partners, or partner equivalents, going beyond the standard expected of them. We seek to acknowledge those who not only fit the above criteria but are making an integral difference in the business of law and wider Australian community.
The 2018 Partner of the Year Awards, in partnership with Major, Lindsey & Africa, provided a platform to showcase these frontrunners on a public stage. Over 450 members of the legal profession and its supporters gathered at Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel on Friday, 15 June to celebrate the event, which is now in its third year. Guests were treated to a three-course meal, with entertainment provided by MC and stand-up comedian Dave Thornton as the winners of each of the 25 categories were named.
With over 150 finalists, this year’s Partner of the Year Awards represented tough competition, showcasing those at the top of their game and who instill a high level of commitment to leadership, technical expertise, mentorship and business development skills.
Lawyers Weekly would like to congratulate all of the evening's finalists and winners. A special thanks must also be given to our judges and sponsors of the event. We hope to see you all again next year!
Banking and Finance Partner of the Year
Sarah Jones, JHK Legal Australia
Ms Jones has been with JHK Legal Australia since 2011, when she started as a senior associate. Moving quickly up the ranks, Ms Jones has proven herself to be a worthy recipient of this award, having advised on a plethora of high-profile banking and finance deals over the financial year. Along with her work in banking and finance, Ms Jones also heads of JHK Legal's wellness team.
Commercial Partner of the Year
Philippa Stone, Herbert Smith Freehills
As a partner and joint global head of HSF’s Equity Capital Markets team, Ms Stone is one to watch. Some of her most noteworthy clientele include Medibank Private, Commonwealth Government and Pepper Group, for which she has successfully exceeded outcomes and pushed HSF’s corporate practice to greater heights.
Competition, Trade and Regulation Partner of the Year
Gina Cass-Gottlieb, Gilbert + Tobin
Ms Cass-Gottlieb is consistently recognised as one of the Asia Pacific’s best competition and trade lawyers. A two-time Lawyers Weekly award-winner, Ms Cass-Gottlieb was also recognised in last year’s 2017 Women in Law Awards as the “Dealmaker of the Year”.
Construction and Infrastructure Partner of the Year
Stewart Nankervis, MinterEllison
As a partner in MinterEllison's Melbourne office, Mr Nankervis is never short of work. He has been with the firm for 17 years, during which time he has acted as the legal partner in numerous construction and infrastructure matters. This includes the Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct, the Bendigo Hospital and Royal Children's Hospitals, and the Peninsula Link, to name a few.
Criminal Partner of the Year
Daniel Hua, Cridland & Hua Lawyers
Despite being in his early 30s, Mr Hua has held his partner position for three years, priding himself on offering exceptional service to all clientele. Acting in the criminal division, Mr Hua's expertise is far-ranging and has seen him appear before the Australian Crime Commission
Dispute Resolution and Litigation Partner of the Year
Jason Betts, Herbert Smith Freehills
Mr Betts is highly regarded in his area of expertise. Specialising in class action litigation, Mr Betts has acted in many high-profile matters, including for clients such as OZ Minerals, Newcrest Mining Limited, DePuy, Johnson & Johnson and Centro.
Family Law Partner of the Year
Monica Blizzard, KHQ Lawyers
Despite dealing with some of the most complex matters out there, Ms Blizzard has earned her stripes as Australia’s best family law partner. An accredited specialist with the Law Institute of Victoria, Ms Blizzard covers all aspects of family law — from divorce and separations, injunctions and restraining orders, to international family law, surrogacy and adoption, and family violence and intervention orders.
Financial Services Partner of the Year
Michael Vrisakis, Herbert Smith Freehills
Mr Vrisakis has been a partner at HSF for over 12 years, consistently advising in some of the nation’s top financial services matters. Primarily focused on the regulation of retail financial services, wealth management, and superannuation, Mr Vrisakis brings a wealth of experience to his role, holding over 30 years’ experience in the field.
Government Partner of the Year
Holly McAdam, Sparke Helmore Lawyers
Ms McAdam is a partner at Sparkes’ Canberra office, where she advises Commonwealth government agencies and private clients on a range of major projects. Her strategic approach to ensuring that each stage of the project is carried out ensures they’re always achieved to the highest of standards.
Health Partner of the Year
Kathryn Booth, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
As a lawyer and principal at Maurice Blackburn’s Melbourne office, Ms Booth is consistently advising on some of the country’s largest health matters. She’s an accredited specialist in personal injury and established Maurice Blackburn’s medical negligence practice in the early 90s, nursing it to the point where it has been recognised as one of the largest national plaintiff medical negligence practices in Australia.
Insolvency Partner of the Year
Peter Hegarty, Hegarty Legal
Mr Hegarty is a principal at Hegarty Legal’s Sydney office, where he specialises in the full scope of insolvency matters. A member of the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association, Mr Hegarty is consistently recognised as an expert in the area.
Insurance Partner of the Year
Kim Shaw, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
Ms Shaw is a principal within Maurice Blackburn’s Melbourne team — a role she has held for five years. She also holds the title of superannuation and insurance national team leader at the firm. In her spare time, Ms Shaw is an active supporter of women’s rights and acts as the Victorian coconvenor of Maurice Blackburn’s Women’s Network.
Intellectual Property Partner of the Year
Katrina Rathie, King & Wood Mallesons
Based in KWM’s Sydney office, Ms Rathie successfully leads as partner in charge. With the firm for four years, Ms Rathie has covered the full scope of intellectual property matters. She is also an active member of Chief Executive Women and a non-executive director of the Starlight Children’s Foundation Australia, Osteoporosis Australia and the Cranbrook Foundation.
Mergers and Acquisitions Partner of the Year
Tim Gordon, Gilbert + Tobin
Mr Gordon has been a partner within G+T’s Sydney practice for four years, covering numerous major M&A transactions. Some of Mr Gordon’s most recent deals include the $1.1 billion acquisition of SAI Global by Baring Asia and the $850 million acquisition of Cover-More by Zurich.
Migration Partner of the Year
Sarah Dale, Refugee Advice & Casework Service (RACS)
As principal solicitor for RACS, Ms Dale has worked extensively with vulnerable children, including those who were detained on Christmas Island and faced transfer to Nauru. In addition, Ms Dale has worked tirelessly for people seeking asylum and refugees in visa cancellation and civil law issues.
Native Title Partner of the Year
Mark Geritz, Clayton Utz
Mr Geritz is a partner at Clayton Utz’s Brisbane Office. A double-threat, Mr Geritz also works in Clutz’s energy and resources practice, in addition to its native title practice. According to his firm’s website, Mr Geritz was recently hand-picked by South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council to act in the largest native title settlement ever in Australia based on his extensive experience in negotiating Indigenous Land Use Agreements.
Planning and Environment Partner of the Year
Rebecca Dixon, Ashurst
A partner at Ashurst’s Sydney office for seven years, Ms Dixon regularly advises on significant environmental and planning matters. Some of her most recent work includes being part of the team that advised a consortium in its billion-dollar acquisition of Real Pet Food Company Group.
Pro Bono Partner of the Year
Heidi Nash-Smith, Wotton + Kearney
Ms Nash-Smith is passionate about community advocacy, consistently leading Wotton + Kearney’s pro bono practice to soaring heights. She’s been at the firm since 2010 and during this time has helped a wide-ranging clientele list, including, but not limited to, refugees, senior citizens and not-forprofit individuals.
Projects, Energy and Resources Partner of the Year
Mark Geritz, Clayton Utz
Marking his second award-win of the night, Mr Geritz is clearly a force to be reckoned with in both of his key practice areas. This award recognised Mr Geritz for his numerous work in the endless projects he’s advised on, most recently including the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project and Abbot Point expansion, dubbed the largest coal project in Australia
Real Estate Partner of the Year
Jason Cornwall-Jones, Ashurst
Mr Cornwall-Jones heads up Ashurst’s Melbourne real estate group, to which he brings almost 20 years’ experience. A regular adviser in the real estate development space, Mr Cornwall-Jones has acted for high-profile clients, including Melbourne City Council, Australia Post, Capital Alliance Investment Group and Woolworths.
Taxation Partner of the Year
Paul Sokolowski, Arnold Bloch Leibler
An expert in tax law, Mr Sokolowski has been with ABL since 2001 to where he now heads up the firm’s taxation practice as national practice leader. His high level of attention to detail is commended by both his peers and colleagues, and sees him nab some of Australia’s most prolific high-net-worth individuals, public entities and not-for-profits.
Technology, Media and Telecommunications Partner of the Year
Dr Martyn Taylor, Norton Rose Fulbright
Dr Taylor is based in NRF’s Sydney office, where he heads up the firm’s telecommunications and media group, international trade group and co-heads the rail group in Asia-Pacific. Holding 24 years of experience in the full range of telecoms and media, Dr Taylor is well regarded in this practice area, acting for telecom projects worth into the billions.
Workplace Health and Safety Relations Partner of the Year
Shae McCartney, Clayton Utz
Ms McCartney is a partner within Clayton Utz’s Brisbane office, a role she has held for almost a decade. Advising corporate and government clients on a broad range of workplace health and safety matters, Ms McCartney also lends her time to providing practical training in all areas of employment law.
Workplace Relations Partner of the Year
Michael Harmer, Harmers Workplace Lawyers
Mr Harmer is the chairman and senior team leader of Harmers Workplace Lawyers, bringing with him over 35 years in the practice area. In addition to advising on many workplace relations matters, Mr Harmer holds the position of president of the Australian Institute of Employment Rights.