Nominees for the 2013 NSW Women Lawyers Achievement Awards


Dear Members & Colleagues

We congratulate all our nominees for this year’s NSW Women Lawyers Achievement Awards who we profile below.

The 2013 Judging Panel for the Awards comprised representatives from the Attorney General & Justice Department of NSW, the Bar Association of NSW, the Law Society of NSW, the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association and WLANSW.

Our Judging Panel having considered the achievements of nominees, recommended a ‘Highly Commended’ special Judging Panel’s Award in addition to the Awards in the 5 standard categories of:

• Woman Lawyer of the Year in Private Practice;
• “In House” Woman Lawyer of the Year sponsored by Clifford Chance;
• Woman Lawyer of the Year in a Community Organisation;
• Woman Lawyer Advocate of the Year;
• “Up And Coming” Woman Lawyer of the Year sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers

In their respective award category, each Candidate was required to meet at least 3 of the following criteria:

• The individual achievement of professional excellence;
• An outstanding contribution to the advancement of women within the practice and development of law;
• Encouragement and influence on other women to pursue a legal career;
• Commitment to the support, encouragement and promotion of the careers of women within the legal profession including mentoring of women within the legal profession and/or advocacy for and the establishment of flexible work practices, and/or balancing children and work commitments;
• Understanding of and support for the legal rights of all women including a commitment to either the promotion of justice and equality for all women, and/or the identification, exposure and eradication of all forms of discrimination against women in the legal system and in the community generally.

The NSW Women Lawyers Achievement Awards 2013 Gala Presentation Dinner will be held on 25 October 2013 at Dockside Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour. Our guest speaker is Prof. Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission. A Lifetime Achievement Award and the recipients of a Lifetime Membership will also be announced.

Please join us and distinguished guests in acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of women in law. Please click here for the Awards Dinner Invitation with further details and sponsor acknowledgements.


Kind regards,

Margaret Holz


10 October 2013


Support the organisation that has supported women in law since 1952.

For further information on joining or to renew your membership please contact our office or visit our website.

Click here for the Membership Form.


Dockside, Cockle Bay Wharf

Woman Lawyer of the Year in Private Practice

Anne Marie Allgrove
Anne-Marie Allgrove.
Anne-Marie has a broad commercial practice with particular focus on issues in the technology, communications and life sciences industries. Anne-Marie specialises in negotiating and advising on the supply and procurement of technology and techonology related services including IT and business process outsourcing and services arrangements, software licences and hardware procurement. Anne-Marie also advises on general commercial and procurement requirements. Anne-Marie advises on intellectual property issues as they arise in the context of such arrangements and on privacy and information management. Anne-Marie has significant experience in advising on government contracts and procurement requirements at both a federal and state level. Anne-Marie also advises on sponsorship, marketing and promotional arrangements. Anne-Marie is also one of our three partners who lead our pro bono work. She has been in that role since 2004 and does extensive work for the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute as well as for Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off the Streets program.

Theresa Armstrong. Theresa was admitted into practice in April 2004. She joined Consolidated Lawyers in 2002 as a receptionist and quickly climbed the ranks, to being appointed Director in July 2009 and Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury in 2010. Recently Theresa has played an integral part in the rapid growth of the firm, which has seen the merger with Veritas Legal and the launch of the new firm brand – Madison Marcus the Law Firm. Specialising in the areas of Personal Injury, Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Theresa has dedicated her legal career to listening to her client’s needs and achieving the most cost effective outcomes. Her contribution to the community and women in business is demonstrated through her involvement in various associations, charity fundraisers and being the Key Mentor to her women staff. As a recent new mother Theresa is committed to achieving a work / life balance for herself and staff.


large_BINNS, BryonyBryony Binns.
Bryony has worked in the Employment and Industrial Relations Group out of both the Sydney and Melbourne offices for over eight years. Her work spans all areas of employment law, with a strong focus on anti-discrimination law and addressing labour risks in change management scenarios. Bryony also regularly conducts training on the topics of discrimination, occupational health and safety, and performance management designed to assist clients manage their relationships with employees and minimise the risk of litigation. Using the Firm’s extensive network, Bryony regularly coordinates multi-jurisdictional advice across the Asia Pacific region for a number of global clients. Bryony was listed as “Up and Coming” in the Chambers Asia 2011 to 2013 Guides.  She has authored a number of chapters in CCH’s Master Human Resources Guide 4th to 9th (current) editions, including chapters on the topic of anti-discrimination laws.

Fay Calderone is a director and owner of Matthews Folbigg Lawyers and leader of the Workplace Solutions team. Fay holds a combined degree in Commerce (HRM&IR)/Law and has practiced exclusively in employment law for twelve years. Fay provides advice and representation to employers ranging from SMEs to large multinationals and local councils on all workplace matters including restructures and change management, employee entitlements, performance management, disciplinary investigations, discrimination, WHS, bullying and harassment. Fay regularly speaks at major industry events, authors articles in industry magazines and has a reputable presence on social media as an expert in her field. This year, Matthews Folbigg, and in particular the Workplace Solutions practice was awarded CBA Business of the Year in the Western Sydney Awards for Business Excellence. Fay is also a volunteer on Parramatta Mission’s People and Culture Committee and is committed to mentoring and furthering the careers of women lawyers within the firm and across the region, leading by example as a proud mother of two young boys. 

Kate Forrester. Kate is a Senior Associate at K&L Gates. Kate focuses on commercial disputes, restructuring and insolvency. Kate is one of the youngest promoted Senior Associates at K&L Gates and is involved in various initiatives which encourage the development of female lawyers. Within K&L Gates, Kate is a mentor for graduates and dedicates much time to the development of the lawyers in her team. Kate is currently a committee member of the Insolvency Practitioners Association of NSW Young Professionals’ Committee through which she promotes the role of female lawyers in the insolvency industry through organising networking and learning opportunities. Kate also regularly participates in mentoring programs such as the UNSW Women’s Mentoring Program. In 2011 Kate was the only female lawyer to be nominated for the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (NSW) Award for Outstanding Female in the Insolvency and Restructuring Industry. This year Kate was awarded the K&L Gates Women’s Achievement Award for Emerging Talent.

Jodie Masson. Jodie is a partner within the Real Estate team at K&L Gates (previously Middletons). She has specialised in property law for over 15 years and her experience includes sales, acquisitions, leasing and general property law advice. Jodie has a large practice and many long term clients, acting on all property legal issues for the entire life cycle of various commercial properties. She is recognised as a leader in her industry and was admitted as a fellow member of the Australian Property Institute as part of the API’s Property Leaders’ Program in 2011. Jodie has a large team including many lawyers who work on flexible arrangements. She is a strong advocate of work life balance and leads by example. She is innovative in her approach to tailoring non-standard work arrangements to suit individuals and to improve client service. She was one of the founding members of K&L Gates’ Women’s Leadership Initiative program. 

Susana Staka is a Director of Champion Legal, a private legal practice with offices in Parramatta and Sydney.  She became an Accredited Specialist in Family Law in 1999 and practices exclusively in family law.  She was appointed an Independent Child’s Lawyer in 2005 and sits on the NSW Independent Child’s Lawyer Selection Panel.  She was appointed to Law Society of NSW Family Issues Committee in 2009.  In her capacity as NSW Law Society Representative of Family Issues Committee, she sits on a number of committees including Family Court Magellan Steering Committee.  She is a trained Mediator and a trained Collaborative Lawyer.  She is a founding Member of Western Sydney Collaborative Family Lawyers.  In 2012, she was appointed to Specialist Accreditation Advisory Committee, Family Law.  

Susan Warda is a Principal of Coleman Greig Lawyers, the largest commercial law firm outside of the Sydney CBD.  An Accredited Specialist in Family Law, Susan is highly regarded across the profession for both her legal expertise and her commitment to clients and the community. With particular expertise in family law matters that involve complex financial issues, Susan is able to draw upon her commercial experience and business acumen.  She is also an experienced mediator and trained collaborative law practitioner and regularly presents at professional events and training programs. Susan is actively involved in the local business community through her role as the Ambassador for the Coleman Greig Women in Business Forum and her position on the Board of various organisations. She was previously the Chair of the Austlaw Board, a founding member of the Western Sydney Collaborative Family Lawyers network, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), a Director on the NSW Board of Variety, the Children’s Charity and a Director of Variety Australia. 

 ‘In House’ Woman Lawyer of the Year

Helen Mediati is Senior Corporate Counsel at GE Capital, providing legal support and advice to GE Capital’s Commercial business. Helen is also Company Secretary of Hallmark Life Insurance Limited and Hallmark General Insurance Limited, wholly owned subsidiaries of GE. Prior to joining GE, Helen worked in-house at ANZ and Macquarie Bank Limited. As a senior member of the Legal team, Helen supports and promotes the development of women within GE, principally through active involvement in the GE Women’s Network, a voluntary organisation fostering professional women’s development to attract, grow and retain female talent within GE. Helen also assists, encourages and promotes younger lawyers, both at GE and externally, through mentoring. Helen’s passion to provide women and young people with tools for development carries through into her pro bono activities in the ‘Lawyers in Schools’ program, by teaching high school students about a number of legal topics. Helen is an advocate of work-life balance, something particularly important to her as she is mother of two young children.

Carolyn Hoy leads Westpac’s Group Corporate Legal team which supports Westpac’s merger and acquisition activity, corporate governance, group policy, statutory reporting, AML and sanctions, and any projects or matters with a broad Group impact.   Carolyn has been at Westpac since 2005 and has worked both part time and in a job share arrangement during that time.  She was promoted to her role as Head of Group Corporate when pregnant with her second child.  Carolyn has practical and personal experience with managing work and family that she now works to pass on through her team, through mentoring other lawyers and in Westpac’s flexibility initiatives and training sessions. Prior to Westpac Carolyn had an inhouse legal role at AWAS Aviation Services, Morgan Stanley’s aircraft leasing subsidiary, and started her career in private practice at Minter Ellison.


Woman Lawyer of the Year in a Community or Academic Organisation 

Andrea Christie-David is a Partner of Salvos Legal, delivering pro bono legal services to disadvantaged members of the community in family, criminal, immigration, and administrative law matters. Andrea has previously been Principal Solicitor of a community legal centre, after leaving her career in corporate law behind to pursue her passions in the community sector. Andrea completed a Master of International Law at the University of Sydney, during which time she undertook an internship at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. She was awarded a scholarship to complete a Graduate Certificate in Not for Profit Management, and volunteers her time as a member of various committees, including the Law Society’s Human Rights Committee, the Salvation Army’s Women in Leadership Committee, and as a Board Member of an NGO. Andrea is a lecturer within the Master of Migration Law at Griffith University and has previously taught Business Law at Macquarie University.

Nerida Harvey has extensive experience advocating on behalf of disadvantaged persons and improving access to justice. Admitted in 2001, she has largely worked in the family, criminal and child care & protection fields.  Nerida also worked for a period of time for a business immigration law firm in New York and passed the New York Bar in July 2009. Since September 2009, Nerida has served as Solicitor, Pro Bono & Community Services at the Law Society. She is the leader of the Scheme and is responsible for encouraging solicitors to undertake Pro Bono work. Nerida also represents individual clients. A part of the program Nerida has developed is teaching PLT Students about how they can contribute to those less fortunate throughout their legal careers. There is also an emphasis placed on training and development along with nurturing and supporting other females in the legal arena.
Shauna Jarrett is the Assistant Group Secretary at the University of Sydney.  She began her commitment to the support of the careers of women within the legal profession when she joined NSW Young Lawyers in 1994.  Shauna was elected to the NSW Law Society in 1999 and rose to the position of Junior Vice President in October 2006.  During her term as a Councillor she was responsible for the development, implementation and promotion of various workplace polices that lead the basis for the Law Society’s ongoing commitment to women in the legal workplace, including model equal opportunity policies, flexible workplace guidelines and strategies for the elimination of workplace bullying.  As Vice President of WLANSW she continued the promotion of these policies, including regular panel sessions on having a career as a solicitor, from employee to sole practitioner to in-house solicitor.

 Woman Lawyer Advocate of the Year

Julia Lonergan SC has been practising as a Barrister since 1997. Previously she practised as a solicitor from 1983 to 1997, specialising in insurance litigation.  At the Bar, she has specialised in medical negligence litigation, Inquests and disciplinary proceedings involving health care practitioners. She was appointed Senior Counsel in 2012 and is currently appearing as Senior Counsel Assisting the Special Commission of Inquiry into the investigation of child sex abuse allegations in the Newcastle-Maitland Diocese. Julia mentors Sydney University law students, and participates in the Bar Association mentoring scheme, encouraging women in their aspirations to serve the law. She has served on the Law Council of Australia Equal Opportunity Committee and the NSW Bar Association Equal Opportunity Committee and has been an advocacy coach for the Bar Practice Course for the last 7 years, giving particular encouragement to new female counsel.

Terese Messner, barrister of Family Law Chambers, has been in practice for 30 years as a solicitor in private practice and for Legal Aid, as a Registrar of the Family Court and as a barrister. In 2001 she had the privilege of working at Warringa Baya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre, providing her with valuable insight into the legal needs and challenges of Aboriginal women. Her primary area of practice has been in all aspects of family law including the independent representation of children and she has over the time given numerous papers at various seminars and conferences on Family Law. She has always had an interest in the role of women in advocacy particularly in the balance between a litigation practice and parenthood. She has informally mentored a number of young women lawyers both barristers and solicitors regarding such a mentoring role as part of her overall professional responsibility.

The Hon Justice Melissa Perry practised at the bar for 21 years, taking silk in 2004. She was appointed to the Federal Court on 23 September 2013. Her practice embraced international law, human rights, constitutional and administrative law, and native title on which she co-authored a textbook. Appearances include over 40 High Court appeals, and the challenge to the legality of the military government in Fiji.  Her prize-winning doctorate was in international law from Cambridge.  Dr Perry is a squadron leader with the RAAF Legal Specialist Reserves, and serves on a number of bodies including the Australian Academy of Law, Administrative Review Council and Gilbert+Tobin Centre of Public Law. Previous positions include the NSW Bar Association Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Committees and the Rule of Law Institute of Australia Governing Council.  She is passionate about promoting and encouraging young women in the law through formal mentoring schemes and informally.

‘Up and Coming’ Woman Lawyer of the Year 

Camille Cedergren is a commercial litigation lawyer at William Roberts Lawyers with a particular focus on intellectual property and media law. She began her legal career at Banki Haddock Fiora in 2006, and was admitted in 2010. In addition to her legal employment, Camille is an active member of NSW Young Lawyers. She is the current Chair of the Communications, Entertainment & Technology Law Committee, the CLE Representative of the Civil Litigation Committee and is actively involved in many other initiatives of NSW Young Lawyers. Camille also spends time adjudicating university law competitions and mentoring young female lawyers. Having been instrumental in bringing UNIFEM to Australian secondary schools, Camille remains passionate about helping young women to realise their potential. She facilitates numerous forums where the achievements of women legal professionals are highlighted, nurtured and encouraged by improving education, professional networking and mentoring.

Leah Dowling is currently a Senior Advisor at Qantas Airways in their Employment Knowledge team. She began her career as an Inspector at the Fair Work Ombudsman where she developed her passion for workplace relations and industrial law. Since being admitted in December 2008 she has worked as an Associate to a Judge at the Fair Work Commission and has worked as a solicitor in private practice in the employment law team of an international law firm.  She has held various positions on the Young Lawyers Workplace and Safety Law Committee including Vice Chair and CLE representative and has coached mooting teams.  She is committed to mentoring university students and graduates commencing their careers as lawyers.

Clare Kerley is a lawyer at Matthews Folbigg Lawyers, in the Workplace Solutions team working across a broad range of employment, industrial and safety matters with a diverse range of clients, including manufacturers, retailers, professional service organisations, insurers, recruiters and local councils. She holds a double degree in Law and Journalism from the University of Technology Sydney, and launched her legal career after working in print and television media for six years. Clare is Chair the WSBC Generation Connect committee, where she works alongside young professionals across Western Sydney in developing their careers, networking and creating business opportunities.  Clare is also the Vice-Chair of the Young Lawyers’ Workplace and Safety Law Committee, and is committed to supporting young women entering the profession, undertaking activities such as organising the McCallum Medal and participating in the UWS Law Careers Expo.

Natasha Walls is a specialist employment lawyer with over six years’ experience spanning private practice, public sector and in house roles. Natasha has advised extensively in respect to workplace change, internal policy implementation, enterprise bargaining, engagement, strategic planning, training, legal compliance, litigation and risk management. Presently, Natasha is employed in the workplace relations team at Lion and partners with the business to deliver legal and industrial solutions across Australia and New Zealand. Natasha is a passionate advocate of gender equality and social justice with a particular focus on achieving women’s equality in the workplace and has been involved in a number of community and pro-bono legal activities, including recently attending a women empowerment volunteer program in Faridabad, India. In addition to her L.LB Natasha holds a degree in Communications and Marketing (Public Relations) and is currently completing a Masters in Law and Management at UNSW.


Kathryn Wetherell is an in-house commercial/IT lawyer with Westpac Banking Corporation. Prior to working at Westpac, Kathryn worked as an in-house lawyer at Fuji Xerox Australia, and Nintendo Pty Ltd (Kyoto, Japan), where she played a lot of video games and cameo’d as a voice actress.  Kathryn has also worked as a university professor at RitsumeikanUniversity in Kyoto, Japan, and for law firms in Japan and the US.  

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Who are Australian Women Lawyers (AWL)?

Formed in 1997, AWL is the national body representing and funded by women lawyers associations in Australia. The current AWL Patron is the Honourable Chief Justice Diana Bryant of the Family Court of Australia.

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