If this is the future, be not afraid

16 May 2014 By Justin Whealing

Going through the submissions for the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards was a humbling experience for myself and the deputy editor Leanne Mezrani.

Going through the submissions for the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards was a humbling experience for myself and the deputy editor Leanne Mezrani.

We could scarcely believe that the submissions we were looking at came from lawyers that were under 30, given the quality of the work and positions of responsibility that were assumed by nominees.

The expertise and quality of all 59 finalists selected is simply staggering.


There was the finalist whose strong relationships with a client has led to an increase of 204 per cent in revenue from that client. Another finalist saved a client $370,000 when they picked up an error in a particular filing that would have scuppered a whole project if it was not noticed.

Despite these examples, it wasn’t money made or money saved that impressed Leanne and myself the most when reading the submissions.

It was the personal references that stood out.

Testimonials from colleagues and clients which outlined the unique impact candidates have made to their respective firm, company or client is what sticks out.

One global law firm partner said that “in 25 years of practice, I have never been more excited about the potential of any individual”.

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Accolades don’t come much higher than that, and this outstanding young lawyer is not alone.

One of our esteemed judges, John Chisholm, a former managing partner of Middletons and Maddocks, made the following comment.

“I have to say this was the hardest judging I have ever done for anything. The calibre of finalists, at least in the two categories I was judging (Workplace Relations, Employment & Safety and the College of Law Pro Bono Award), were so high. I felt very humbled when reading the commitment and passion each finalist gave to their chosen career. Simply extraordinary young lawyers the lot of them and any of them would have made worthy winners.”

John’s comments are spot on.

As for the future of the profession?

The respected mediator Steve Lancken, who was also a judge in the Pro Bono category in addition to being one of the adjudicators in the KordaMentha Dispute Resolution Award, said that;

“These awards demonstrate that the next group of senior lawyers who will, in the coming years, come from our under 30 cohort will lead the profession well, with great principles, energy and skill.”

The finalists in the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards are not just brilliant young lawyers, they are brilliant lawyers.

It is to be hoped that as they move through the ranks of the profession into senior leadership positions, they will use the skill, energy and principles Steve talks about to leave their mark, agitate for change and ensure the profession is a kinder, more receptive environment for future generations.


The Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards will be held tonight at Sydney’s Ivy Ballroom. You can find out more information on the Awards and purchase tickets here.

If this is the future, be not afraid
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