Joanna Abraham is a Lecturer at the College of Law and the Vice President of Victorian Women Lawyers. She has practiced extensively in Administrative, Immigration & Refugee Law, having recently been recognised as one of Australia’s leading lawyers in Human Rights Law, and was previously awarded the Justice Award at the 2020 Victorian Multicultural Awards for Excellence for her work in this space. Being a migrant herself, Joanna is passionate about championing intersectional diversity, both in the legal profession and wider community and is an advocate for greater workplace flexibility in the legal profession due to her experiences of living with chronic illness. She sits on the Boards of Victorian Multicultural Women (VMW) and Afri-Aus Care (AAC).
Hayley is a passionate lawyer with experience in litigation and compensation law. She has developed a practice with significant focus on representing and securing access to justice for members of the Stolen Generations, and others who have suffered as a result of sexual, physical and emotional/mental abuse as children. She is one of the most respected experts in this field, in part due to her dedication in developing and running a trauma informed practice.
For Hayley, this work truly makes a difference to people, and goes beyond individual clients receiving compensation. As part of the settlement process, abuse victims receive a personal apology from the defendant institution or department, which means a lot to them.
Hayley’s practice also includes acting for people in a range of personal injury matters, general litigation and international torts. She regularly appears in the District Court of NSW, the Supreme Court of NSW and the Personal Injury Commission.
She has provided advice to clients in the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) appeals, SafeWork NSW Investigations, Victims Compensation applications for the Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme, applications for the National Redress Scheme, Applications in the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), applications in various states Civil and Administrative Tribunals, Coronial proceedings, and to witnesses appearing at the NSW Parliament General Purpose Standing Committee’s Injury into Stolen Generations Reparations, and the witnesses appearing at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses of Child Sexual Abuse.
“Working with abuse victims can be extremely emotional and draining, but, when matters settle, the closure that this work brings for claimants is something that inspires me to keep at it”.
Key Professional Achievements
• Hayley was honoured as an Australian Law Awards 2021 finalist in the category of Senior Associate of the Year
• Hayley is the Winner of both the Senior Associate of the Year – SME Law category and the Excellence Award in the Women in Law Awards 2021
• Hayley was honoured as an Australian Law Awards 2022 finalist in the category of Special Counsel of the Year.
Molina is an experienced commercial lawyer having practiced at top-tier Australian law firms and the Victorian Government Solicitor's Office and in the Supreme Court of India. She serves on the board of, and was the first South Asian woman to be elected President Elect of the Law Institute of Victoria. She is also the National President of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association.
Molina is the Chair of Gymnastics Victoria and also serves on various other boards including AMES Australia, Graduate House of the University of Melbourne, Good Shepherd ANZ, AFL South East Commission, Table Tennis Victoria and Australasian Centre for Human Rights and Health. She is also the co-founder of the Asian Australian Alliance and the founder of the organisation Multicultural Women in Sport.
She has received multiple awards for her work including the Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence twice.
Annabel Biscotto is the 2022/23 President of the Australian Law Students' Association (ALSA) and simultaneously undertaking a Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) at Curtin University in Perth. She is passionate about shaping the future of the legal profession, with a particular emphasis on mental health, diversity, and higher education reform.
In her role as President, Annabel has engaged in strategic dialogues with prominent industry stakeholders within the legal education sphere and fostered global collaboration with various international law student organisations. She is also an active member of the Law Council of Australia’s Young Lawyers Committee.
Annabel is a 2023 New Colombo Plan Scholar, a prestigious Australian Government initiative designed to uplift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region. She will be commencing her program at the end of this year in Singapore. The story of her Nonna Lina, whose own education was cut short in third grade in Sicily, instilled in Annabel the invaluable importance of learning and the pursuit of knowledge. This narrative characterized by resilience, sacrifice, and an unyielding belief in education's transformative power, fuels Annabel's advocacy and underpins her commitment to driving change in the legal landscape.
As a proud advocate for neurodiversity awareness, Annabel shares her lived experience of navigating the complexities of working and studying from a unique perspective. She is a creative spirit who enjoys storytelling, performing and digital media.
Zoe is a Senior Solicitor in the Environmental Defenders Office’s Safe Climate (Corporate) team, where she assists communities trying to shift corporate behaviour on climate change and hold companies accountable for their climate impacts. She is an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Western Australia Law School and holds a Master of Laws from Columbia University, which she studied on a John Monash Scholarship.
Zoe started her career as an Associate at the Federal Court of Australia, before joining the State Solicitor’s Office of WA. She was recently awarded Lawyers Weekly’s 30 Under 30 Pro Bono/Community Lawyer of the Year, and, in 2019, was awarded WA Junior Woman Lawyer of the Year.
Penelope is the Executive Manager, Education and Research at the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, translating research and evidence into guidance and resources that employers can use to understand and improve workplace gender equality in their organisation.
Penelope’s background is in consulting to organisations to execute change and improve performance through organisation design, leadership and capability. She has led award-winning programs across a range of sectors and held leadership roles in leading consulting organisations.
Recently, Penelope has researched the gendered effects of flexible work and she applies behavioral science in her work. Penelope is also a Director of Safe Steps, a Victorian family violence response service.
Annabel Crabb is one of Australia's most beloved journalists. She is a multi-faceted writer and broadcaster who ranges between federal politics, gender, current affairs, history and cooking and is a sought-after speaker and presenter for her incisive and humorous approach.
She is the creator and presenter of Ms Represented, and of the long-running political interview series Kitchen Cabinet, a seventh season of which will air this year. She wrote and presented the ground-breaking documentary series on life inside Australia’s Parliament House, The House With Annabel Crabb. She also hosts ABC's popular Australian history and food series, Back In Time For Dinner. Annabel is a regular face on ABC TV's election night and Budget broadcasts and has a long history of appearances on ABC's Insiders program, including a stint as acting host in 2019.
She is a regular commentator across the ABC's radio network. With friend and ABC colleague Leigh Sales, Annabel hosts the podcast Chat 10 Looks 3, an independent podcast in which the pair discuss books, film, culture, and cooking. Their first book together, Well Hello, was published in September 2021. Annabel won a Walkley Award for her biographical work "Stop At Nothing: The Life And Adventures Of Malcolm Turnbull" and has written several books including the 2014 bestseller The Wife Drought.
Annabel boasts the awkward distinction of being Twitter’s most-followed Australian journalist, with an audience of over half a million.
Sheetal Deo (she/her) is passionate about leveraging platforms and privilege to connect ideas, people, and opportunities that amplify and empower underrepresented experiences. Sheetal has a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and political science from the University of the Fraser Valley (Canada), and a Juris Doctor, Master of Laws and Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from Bond University (Australia). Sheetal incorporates her political and social science training in her advocacy for equity & accessibility within the legal profession and the community it serves. Sheetal is the Principal and Founder of Shakti Legal Solutions; an innovative, award winning low-bono law firm designed specifically to improve access to legal assistance for everyday people through a unique, ‘pay what you can’ model.
Outside of her legal practice, Sheetal runs a diversity and inclusion consultancy, is the Lead Facilitator for the Anti-Racism Knowledge Program with the Diversity Council of Australia, an adjunct lecturer with the College of Law, and volunteers her time to various not-for-profit organisations and boards including the Centre of Legal Innovation’s Emerging Leaders Advisory Board and the Queensland Law Society where she is the first culturally and racially marginalised (CARM) woman elected to serve on its board in its 150-year history.
Lolwa Elokda holds a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of International Relations from La Trobe University. She completed several legal internships, including placements at Victoria Legal Aid, Whittlesea Community Legal Centre, and law firm Madison Marcus. She pursued a career in legal technology and innovation, joining LEAP Legal Software in 2021. She swiftly progressed from HelpDesk Consultant to HelpDesk Team Leader, to Implementation Consultant.
Working in legal technology, Lolwa helps clients from a diverse range of ages and backgrounds, from fresh graduates to experienced practice managers and principals at the peak of their careers. Each might approach technology from a different perspective.
Joining Clio in January 2023, Denise brings over 15 years of experience in legal technology, including leadership roles at LexisNexis, and was most recently General Manager of Practitioner Services at Sympli. She holds a bachelor’s degree in modern Languages from the University of Cambridge, an MBA from Western Sydney University, and is an alumnus of the University of Warwick Business School. Denise has a proven record of building and leading high-performance teams and a deep understanding of the unique needs and challenges faced by legal professionals.
Sach Fernando founded Maxiom Injury Lawyers in 2018 with a commitment to ensuring that personal injury services are accessible and that all clients partner with a lawyer who provides the level of guidance and support they need to focus on recovery and rebuild their lives. The firm was established with flexibility and remote working in mind, so as to cater for a broad range of legal professionals.
Sach is recognised as a leading lawyer by Doyle’s Guide for his expertise and commitment to fighting for the rights of injured Victorians.
Sach has also been recognised by prestigious industry bodies, including being named a Rising Star by the Law Institute of Victoria and as one of the best insurance lawyers in Lawyers Weekly’s 30 Under 30 awards.
Being of Sri Lankan heritage, Sach speaks fluent Sinhalese. His service to the Sri Lankan Australian community was recognised in 2016 when he was awarded Young Sri Lankan of the Year. He is also an active member of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, an organisation that is committed to protecting the rights of individuals and a Trustee of Law Aid, a not for profit litigation fund which funds complex personal injury cases.
Sofia Khan is the Head of People & Development and Talent Acquisition for LOD's legal and consulting workforce in Australia, including paralegals, lawyers, and risk & compliance professionals.
Since joining LOD (formerly known as Advent Lawyers / AdventBalance) in 2011, Sofia has played a key role in establishing offices and building teams for LOD locally and internationally in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as managing the HR and recruitment function for those offices.
Having worked in the legal profession for a number of years and driving various initiatives for LOD in the recruitment and DEI space, Sofia has a real passion for opening doors, empowering and helping people realise their full potential, and succeed in their careers.
Karen Finch is a passionate legal innovator and legal technology enthusiast. Karen brings together these two passions in her role as Founder and CEO of Legally Yours, an Australian LegalTech company transforming the way Australians access legal services. Classified as a tech-enabled RaaS platform (a.k.a providing Relationships As A Service), Legally Yours closes the justice loop by connecting Australians to fixed-fee lawyers around Australia for all their personal and business legal matters, and helps small law firms build, scale and grow innovative legal practices.
Karen is also a Co-Director of Pro Help Legal Australia, President of the Australian Legal Technology Association (ALTA), former Committee Chair of the Women of ALTA, a Legal Tech Editor for Idea Spies, and a finalist for Innovator of the Year at the Australian Law Awards 2023 and Thought Leader of the Year at the Women in Law Awards 2023, and a past finalist at the Women in Law Awards 2022 for Thought Leader of the Year and Innovator of the Year.
Olamide is one of Revolution Law’s Consultant- Special Counsel. She was admitted as a Solicitor in the Queensland Supreme Court in August 2003. She has over 18 years of experience in Personal Injury Law and has acted for countless claimants in Motor Vehicle, Work Injury, Public Liability, and Medical Law claim.
Olamide loves to share her wealth of knowledge in the form of writing opinion pieces, regularly speaking at various legal seminars, and mentoring junior lawyers. Olamide is an absolute advocate to her clients in fighting for justice.
She is one of the founding members of the Queensland African Lawyers Network, and a member of the Women Lawyers Association Queensland, ALA Medical Law Special Interest group and Queensland Law Society.
She was recognised by Doyles as one of Queensland’s Leading Medical Negligence Lawyers, in 2015, 2017, 2018 and a Lawyer Weekly Finalist for Regional Suburban Lawyer of the year.
She is married and has three boys including twins. She also lives by the motto of being the change that you want to see.
Carmel Lee is a leading barrister based in Sydney specialising in commercial, equity and public law matters with a focus on contract law, private international law (conflict of laws), white collar crime, property law and succession law. She regularly appears for and advises companies and individuals in cases concerning disputed contracts, trusts, equitable interests in land and enforcing foreign judgments. A dedicated part of her practice is providing pro-bono advice and representation in human rights and public interest litigation matters. In these areas she has represented refugees based in Nauru and has provided advice on the freedom to protest and political expression.
Prior to being called to the bar in 2012, Carmel was a Deputy Registrar of the NSW Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeal and Tipstaff to a number of judges in the NSW Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. Previous to this she was a solicitor in private practice and worked at the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office.
Carmel has lectured in Conflict of Laws, Advocacy and Strategic Litigation, Evidence Law and Legal Ethics at Sydney University, University of New South Wales and University of Technology Sydney.
Carmel was awarded the Lawyers Weekly “Barrister of the Year” award in the Women in Law Awards in 2022 and “Barrister of the Year” in the Australian Law Awards in 2023.
Fiona McLay is a legal tech consultant and evangelist who works with law firm owners to make the most of their existing tech. She is a teaching fellow at the College of Law and a Geeky Guru for the Centre of Legal Innovation. A former lawyer, she has an insider’s view on how business across the legal industry are using (or not using) technology. Her book, Tech-Enabled Lawyer: How to Make the Most of the Tools You Have and Spot the Tech You Need, has been called “the guide the industry has been crying out for.”
Michelle is a barrister experienced in civil litigation and her main areas of practice are common law, personal injury and family law.
Michelle has successfully represented clients in claims for historical child sexual abuse, abuse in care, medical negligence, motor accident, workers compensation and other personal injury claims. In addition, she has worked on family provision claims, challenges to testamentary capacity and breach of executor duties claims.
Prior to being called to the Bar in 2023, Michelle was the owner and principal lawyer of Central Coast firm Meares Law, practicing primarily in family law. In her family law practice, Michelle has significant experience in complex parenting and property matters including company and trust structures, bankruptcy, superannuation including Australian and international pensions and appellate work. She frequently appears in parenting matters involving complex mental health and family violence issues.
Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts (Communications/Anthropology) from the University of Southern Queensland, a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Technology and Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) from the University of New England. She is President and founding member of NSW Regional Women Lawyers Association and was a finalist for the NSW Women Lawyers Association – Regional Lawyer of the Year 2019. Michelle is also a member NSW Bar Association Legal Aid Committee and the Media & Information Law & Technology Committee.
Jeremy Meltzer is Founder & CEO of i=Change, Australia's fastest-growing social impact tech platform that bridges worlds between businesses and NGOs.
In partnership with over 400 brands like Camilla, Ginger & Smart and Clarins, i=Change has raised almost $9 million and counting, $1 at a time, impacting the lives of up to 1.7 million people in Australia and globally.
i=Change is a certified B-Corp, has won 3 x Australia Post ORIAs (2019, 2022, 2023), NORA’s ‘Best All-Round Sustainability Partner’ (2023) and was voted one of 50 most innovative start-ups in Australia.
i=Change has expanded into the legal sector, providing a unique solution for firms to bring to life their philanthropy, their commitment to people and planet - and engage their clients while doing so.
Jeremy Meltzer Founder & CEO.
With a focus on empowering women & girls and mitigating the effects of climate change, i=Change is leading a purpose-driven business movement.
Jeremy’s story highlights the unique opportunities available to every business to find their authentic path, meaningfully differentiate, drive client engagement, growth and retain talent. For as consumers - we now expect the businesses we support, to be helping build a better world.
In his early 20’s, Jeremy saw significant violence against women while living in Latin America. He felt helpless to impact such a complex issue, yet knew he had to try. Jeremy imagined how our purchases could create new funding for best-practice NGOs, backing impact leaders with deep expertise, to create the urgent change we need to see.
Natalie is co founder of Own Your Health Collective where she blends her women’s health and mindset coaching, business and leadership facilitation, yoga and meditation teaching to support women to live their best life across all life phases.
Podcast host of Peri Menopause Power, Natalie is passionate about educating and inspiring women to come into their bodies and harness their cycles and life phases to their advantage for greater whole health, wellbeing, passionate living and vitality.
Natalie thrives on supporting individuals to reach their highest potential in work and life and is excited to bring women’s phases to this learning and perspective.
With over two decades of experience, Pania plays an essential role in the PracticeEvolve Group, demonstrating her exceptional passion for people and culture. A large portion of her career has been in strategic human resources roles for mid-tier law firms before transitioning towards legal technology and innovation in recent years. Pania is dedicated to cultivating a work environment that is both creative and innovative, as well as inclusive and supportive. Her unwavering emphasis on the health and well-being of every employee underscores her belief that the workplace should foster an environment for people to be the best versions of themselves, enabling them to perform at their highest levels.
Karena is a partner at Coutts Lawyers & Conveyancers and is the head of the injury compensation and employment law teams. She is passionate and dedicated to helping her clients understand their rights and obligations and advising them on the best course of action to achieve their desired outcomes. It is her practical and client-orientated approach that has attributed to her authentic reputation positioning her as a highly regarded compensation and employment lawyer.
Karena has 20 years of experience in Insurance Law. She has worked for international top tier firms and gained invaluable knowledge and skills. Her broad brush of skills has allowed her to develop a diverse practice that covers all facets of injury compensation and employment law.
Carrie Norman is the Chief Member officer at legalsuper responsible for overseeing the Member Services, Member Experience, Product and Strategic Relationships & Partnerships teams. Carrie joined legalsuper in September 2020 bringing with her a wealth of knowledge with more than 15 years of experience in the superannuation industry.
Carrie's career spans over 22 years, holding senior management positions across a range of sectors including superannuation, trustee and legal services and energy companies. For the past 15 years Carrie has worked in the superannuation industry, gaining broad experience leading member and employer teams across experience, service, operations, and business transformation. Before joining legalsuper Carrie held senior leadership positions at Cbus and ESSSuper.
Caryn leads the Gilbert + Tobin Legal Service Innovation team and G+T Innovate. These teams provide specialised services to support Gilbert + Tobin’s legal service delivery, and innovate to deliver new tools and services benefiting Gilbert + Tobin’s practice and clients. Caryn’s role encompasses responsibility for over 70 lawyers and business professionals working across Transformation, Legal Informatics and Data, Legal Project Management and Knowledge Management. Caryn was named “Most Innovative Changemaker” at the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards Asia-Pacific 2022, “Innovator of the Year” at the Australian Law Awards 2022 and “Innovator of the Year” at the Partner of the Year Awards 2021. Under her leadership, Gilbert + Tobin also won “Excellence in Technology and Innovation” at the Australasian Law Awards 2023 for a third consecutive year and was named “Most Innovative Law Firm” at the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards Asia-Pacific in 2019. Caryn is the Co-Chair of the Advisory Board to the Centre for Legal Innovation and is a director for various not-for-profit organisations. Caryn has a passion for expanding the focus and content of legal education to enable lawyers to succeed and thrive in the changing legal environment.
Shivani Sharma's journey is a testament to the twists and turns life can take, leading us down paths we never expected. Despite her initial aspirations of becoming a hairdresser or an air hostess, she found herself drawn to the field of Law.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Laws and subsequently building a successful career as a Litigator, she showcased her dedication and determination in this challenging field. What makes her story even more remarkable is her ability to juggle multiple roles and responsibilities with an entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to take calculated risks in pursuit of her goals.
One of the most transformative experiences in Shivani Sharma's life was embracing motherhood. This journey is unparalleled in its impact and demands, requiring adaptability, patience, and selflessness. Combining her professional commitments with the responsibilities of motherhood underscores her strong organisational skills and ability to prioritise effectively.
What truly sets Shivani apart is her ambitious nature and influential personality. Her desire to be a catalyst for change in thought and behaviour reflects a deep commitment to the betterment of her community. By focusing on communication and education, especially for young girls and women, she aims to break down barriers and empower others to reach their potential.
Shivani Sharma's story is a narrative of growth, transformation, and the power of resilience. Her journey from initial aspirations to her current role as a litigator, entrepreneur, mother, and advocate for change is an inspiring example of how life's unexpected turns can shape us into individuals capable of making a positive impact on the world around us.
Desi is the Assistant Director of Judicial Education at the Judicial College of Victoria. She is an Australian Legal Practitioner and experienced practical legal training mentor for emerging practitioners. She is also the CEO and Founder of Wellceum, a workplace consultancy supporting legal and professional services integrate strategy to manage psychosocial risk, improve employee resilience, and create visible social impact. Admitted in 2005, Desi has practiced in mid-tier, suburban and private firms. In 2013, Desi completed a Graduate Diploma of Education with a focus on legal studies and literature. As a certified mental health first aid trainer, Desi is a strong advocate for mental health, the wellbeing of new lawyers and the profession as a whole.
In 2019 she contributed to a book chapter on time perspective in relation to wellbeing and productivity in Lexis Nexis’ ‘Wellness for Law: Making Wellness Core Business.’ Desi is a director of the Minds Count Foundation in Australia and a Commissioner on the IBA Professional Wellbeing Commission at an international level. She holds the seat of APAC liaison for the IBA Academic and Professional Development Committee.
Most notably, Desi was named Australia’s Lawyer’s Weekly Women in Law Wellness Advocate of the Year for 2021 and again in 2022.
Sara is a senior lawyer with more than 15 years experience in both public and private sectors with substantial litigation, compliance, commercial and regulatory experience. She has acted for the Commonwealth in a variety of large and complex “significant matters” within the context of the Legal Services Directions 2017 (Cth) and has extensive experience in leading and working in teams involved in complex litigation and investigations as well as various law enforcement and governmental organisations. She also has extensive legal experience across a range of traditionally male dominated industries including construction, insolvency and insurance. Sara currently works at the Australian Transaction Reports & Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) as a manger in the Rules and Exemptions division.
Having migrated to Australia with her family from Iran at the age of 15, Sara graduated from the University of Sydney and is also passionate about human rights and social justice issues. For the past 15 years, Sara has undertaken advocacy work on a volunteer basis on a range of human rights issues including women’s rights, minority rights and workers’ rights. In November 2022 Sara appeared before the Australian Senate to raise awareness about the gross violations of human rights against women and girls in Iran, who live in a gender apartheid state. Sara is a big believer in self-advocacy and challenging the status quo; she personifies resilience and perseverance and breaking through numerous obstacles including racial, gender and class discrimination in order to thrive in the legal profession.
Danielle Snell is an award-winning litigator and co-founder of Elit Lawyers by McGirr & Snell. Launching her own firm whilst 7 months pregnant, Danielle is driven to support her team to also embrace the multiple roles they hold in their lives. Through creating and successfully implementing bespoke and future focussed IT solutions, Danielle empowers her diverse team to continue to provide outstanding client service whilst balancing personal and professional commitments.
Danielle’s trailblazing leadership initiatives were recognised at the Australian Law Awards where she was named “Managing Partner of the Year”. At the same awards in 2022, Elit Lawyers was named “Boutique Law Firm of the Year.