The Best Young Lawyers
in Australia Under 35

Pioneering innovators

Australasian Lawyer’s fourth annual Rising Stars list celebrates young professionals aged 35 and under who have made remarkable contributions to the legal sphere. Their dedication to the industry and unwavering commitment to client service distinguish them as leaders.

Reflecting on what makes the best young lawyers stand out, Jesse Shah, founder and CEO of legal recruitment firm nrol, says, “The junior market has lots of candidates; that’s why it’s important to have a passion for the law. There’s lots of competition.”

Shah highlights the importance of motivation for younger professionals.

He says, “Law is a very traditional industry; they have to be very clear in the areas they want to practice in and have passion for that area.”

The Rising Stars of 2024 have stood out in such a competitive landscape with their dedication to their craft and ability to deliver for clients. 


Justine Zhou – Quantum Law Group

Forward-thinking best young lawyer
Age: 31

An exceptional commitment to client success saw her made partner three years ago, and it is a testament to her foresight and passion to drive the legal profession forward.

Previously recognised as a Rising Star in 2022 and 2023, this best young lawyer has her sights firmly set on the next stage. Soon to be named an equity partner, she is relishing the opportunity to step back from daily client interaction to focus on big picture objectives.

Zhou has spearheaded the firm’s expansion into Asia, notably Malaysia, the Philippines and China. She is also finalising plans to establish a satellite office in Singapore.

“This has been in the works for some time because I’m originally from there, so I’ve got the connections and the network. It’s a popular place to expand because it leads to the rest of Asia,” she says. “We have partners and joint ventures with law firms there, as well as other professionals such as immigration agents and accountants, to provide more of a concierge service for our clients who want to have international work done.”

Justine Zhou, Quantum Law Group
“One of the main things I excel at is looking beneath the surface to find points that are not readily apparent and then hashing them out and bringing them to the surface, so the right decision is made for the client”
Justine ZhouQuantum Law Group

Innovation is a constant pursuit for Zhou. She envisions a decentralised justice system and, as a byproduct, is propelling Quantum into the metaverse.

Zhou aims to revolutionise the lengthy and costly process of legal disputes by digitising them. She foresees a system where clients acquire dispute credits in digital currency to arbitrate specific matters. These credits would be linked to smart contracts, enabling automatic fund release and eliminating lengthy wait times.

She says, “Through my work, I aim to add value to society, and I think technology can help scale that. If we can make things easier in terms of resolving disputes in this way, I think it’s going to be a huge benefit to the world.”

Specialising in real estate, commercial law and technology, Zhou handled $870 million in transactional and advisory deals between 2022 and 2023.

Some of her standout projects are:

  • reducing a $5 million claim against a construction company to $400,000

  • devising an innovative approach for a foreign investment application to expedite a $30 million transaction for an international construction firm

  • resolving disputes with a high-value real estate acquisition exceeding $100 million, allowing for a settlement to take place

As a young female partner, Zhou has grown accustomed to leveraging underestimation to her advantage.

“On first impression, clients don’t know I’m all this and that, which is quite refreshing because when I do advise on things, they are pleasantly surprised, and the impact is larger,” she says.

Neane Carter – Terri Janke and Company

Empowering community
Age: 26

As one of the nation’s best young lawyers, Carter channels her proud Indigenous heritage to address legal issues impacting her community. As a solicitor specialising in Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP), she reconciles contradictions between modern copyright law and indigenous customary law, where knowledge does not belong to an individual but is communally owned.

As part of this work, Carter has:

  • assisted in drafting a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs regarding the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and its relationship with the Uluru Statement from the Heart

  • advised on the protection of cultural knowledge in the native foods and botanicals industry in collaboration with the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations, drafting a document setting benchmarks to ensure cultural protocols were protected

“If you want to make products that contain bush foods, recognising First Nations people for their knowledge, where you’ve gotten that knowledge, and which community it has come from, is really important,” says Carter.

Neane Carter, Terri Janke and Company
“Western systems have not always been there for us, but we’ll make it work the best that we can, until we’re seeing laws that better recognise our rights. Being able to bring my culture into work every day sets me apart from, say, a non-Indigenous person advising clients in the commercial space”
Neane CarterTerri Janke and Company

The solicitor also leads development initiatives at Terri Janke, such as Guarding Governance, a professional workshop designed to assist executives and directors in developing their capacity-building skills, with a particular focus on Indigenous governance systems.

Carter says, “Not only am I advising First Nations people, but I’m also advising non-Indigenous people in organisations who want to understand, in best practice, what it means to be appropriate and respectful when I engage with First Nations people.”

Motivated by the desire to address the absence of Indigenous representation in the legal field, Carter is committed to using her legal expertise to empower and uplift her community.

“My dream would be to give them everything I know – six years of law school and practical legal training,” she says. “If I become obsolete because my community is so empowered with that knowledge, that would make me excited for the future.” 

Katie Pryor – Maddocks

Technical expertise
Age: 34

The senior associate stands out for her dedication to pro bono work and expertise across medtech.

This specialised knowledge has enabled Pryor to:

  • advise Foundation Medicine on a multi-jurisdictional patent dispute concerning its next generation diagnostic for the analysis of tumour alterations

  • direct pharmaceutical company Takeda on its enforcement strategy for its multiple myeloma drug Velcade

  • guide a leading medical research institute on a licence agreement with a global biopharmaceutical company

Reflecting on the latter case, completed in 2023, she says, “I learned a lot about project management because I was overseeing the operation of the team. I really learned how to get the best out of people. I’m a big believer in allowing people to work in the way that suits them best.”

Katie Pryor, Maddocks
“What makes me unique is my experience in the life sciences sector and my approach to that work as well. I’d say I have a genuine passion for learning as much as I can about the field”
Katie PryorMaddocks


Acknowledging how instrumental mentorship has been in her journey, Pryor hones her leadership skills through participation in Toastmasters, an international nonprofit dedicated to building public speaking skills.

She says, “Through that, I’ve had the opportunity to receive a lot of mentorship and guidance and learn how to be a better mentor.”

Pryor focuses on uplifting those who are not able to obtain legal counsel through her pro bono commitments. Since January, she has completed 70 hours, exceeding Maddocks’ 35-hour annual target.

Some of her notable recent cases are:

  • offering initial IP counsel to a global animal welfare charity for their campaign exposing the cruelty of dolphins in captivity

  • assisting refugees in obtaining visas to remain in Australia

“It’s incredibly rewarding. Often, one of the highlights of my week is the time that I spend doing pro bono work,” says Pryor. “Being in a position of privilege, we have an imperative to give back to people who might otherwise not be able to pay for legal advice. I think that’s a central tenet of the legal system.” 

David Adason – Aptum

Workflow management
Age: 33

By blending legal skills with a passion for technology, Adason has created a unique role. As an associate director, he offers clients advice on business and tax issues while also devising strategic initiatives to enhance Aptum’s operations.

He says, “Managing clients is not my strong suit. I’ve instead become a specialist resource that can be dropped into projects, like an internal junior counsel.”

Adason’s career highlights include:

  • crafting a freezing order application against an Australian Securities Exchange-listed entity amid a significant dispute in the oil and gas industry, where he was responsible for preparing the supporting evidence

  • handling proceedings in the New South Wales Supreme Court involving a property development dispute valued at approximately $50 million, where he prepared pleadings and witnessed evidence in-house

Adason’s previous role was that of the firm’s head of innovation.

“I’ve got a fairly big interest in the way that we practice and looking at how that can be improved and tweaked by the addition of technology,” he says.

David Adason, Aptum
“I bring clients value through my deep technical skill and expertise. I am able to quickly understand and, most importantly, distil very large and complex sets of facts and issues”
David AdasonAptum

Adason actively shares this information with his professional community, presenting at the following panels and workshops in 2023:

  • Legal Innovation & Tech Fest in Sydney: embracing new technology to streamline law firm operations

  • Centre for Legal Innovation’s Future Firm, Future Fit Workshop: sharing insights to enhance the client experience

Playing a central role in the architecture of Aptum’s approach and internal processes, Adason has introduced workflow management tools such as:

  • Jira

  • MatterX

  • Everchron

His contribution has enabled the rest of the firm’s lawyers to be more efficient.

“We have standard platforms across every project from day one, so the lawyers who are working on it don’t have to spend time understanding the context,” says Adason. “They can just jump from one project to another without having to worry about that context-switching downtime.” 

Best young lawyers’ aspirations


AL delved into the goals and targets of this year’s Rising Stars by asking, “Envisioning the culmination of your career, what do you hope to have accomplished?”

  • Zhou: “I think what’s beautiful about life is that it’s always changing. I’ve got short-term goals, but at the end of my career, I would like to have changed the world by making a mark on how legal processes operate, and I think technology will play a large role in that.”

  • Carter: “My goal is for an empowered community where my role becomes redundant. I hope my children and my children’s children can grow up in a world where Australia recognises them, values them and respects their rights and culture. Through the work that I do in advocating for the protection of ICIP rights, I can see this future for my people.”

  • Pryor: “My goal is to continue building my practice as a go-to IP lawyer in the life sciences space, assisting clients to commercialise their intangible assets and defend or bring proceedings where necessary. Continuing to contribute to Maddocks’ pro bono initiatives will also remain a priority for me. I hope to look back on a career in which I’ve developed enduring relationships with my clients and colleagues and have helped to mentor the next generation of IP lawyers.”

  • Adason: “I want to have made a meaningful impact on the profession, in particular on the way civil disputes are run – to somehow help move the needle towards making it a better process for both clients and practitioners.” 


The Best Young Lawyers in Australia Under 35

  • Alexandra Sullivan
    Senior Associate
    Citation Group
  • Alice Cooney
    Legal Education Curriculum Specialist
    Office of Public Prosecutions
  • Amy Zhang
    Executive Counsel and Team Leader
    Harmers Workplace Lawyers
  • Andrew Attard
    Baker McKenzie
  • Andrew Honey
    Senior Associate
    McCabes Lawyers
  • Ash Joseph
    Senior Associate
    PwC Australia
  • Ashleigh Blewitt
    Chamberlains Law Firm
  • Breannon Bailey
    Special Counsel
    Wotton + Kearney
  • Callum Ritchie
    Senior Associate
    DMAW Lawyers
  • Calum Woods
    Senior Associate
    Lander & Rogers
  • Candace Prince
    Founder and Principal
    Prince Legal
  • Charles Gibbs
    Senior Associate
    Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
  • Chelsea Landgren
    Kalus Kenny Intelex
  • Chloe Taylor
    Fashion and Beauty Lawyer
    Hall & Wilcox
  • Colette Downie
    Senior Associate – Intellectual Property
    Baker Mckenzie
  • Courtenay Willis
    Chief Counsel, ANZ
    Nando’s Australia & New Zealand
  • Daniel Moradian
    Senior Legal Counsel and Company Secretary
  • David Adason
    Associate Director
  • David de Mestre
    Senior Associate – Commercial Litigation
    Bartier Perry
  • Dietrich Marquardt
    Special Counsel
    Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Esterina Azzi
    Senior Associate
    McCullough Robertson
  • Eveline Rygorowicz
    Special Counsel
    Wotton + Kearney
  • Freddie Gollan
    General Counsel
    Satellite Office
  • George Abraham
    Senior Associate
  • Georgia Campbell
    Senior Associate
    Thomson Geer
  • Jack Gracie
    Special Counsel
    Phi Finney McDonald
  • Jacob Corbett
    Bradley & Bray Lawyers
  • James Morgan
    Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Jennifer Spear
    Senior Associate
    Duffy Elliott Lawyers
  • Jessica Ashby-Boyd
    Principal Solicitor
    Access Family Law
  • John Saunders
    Senior Associate
  • Joshua Schultz
    Senior Associate
    Dentons Australia
  • Justine Zhou
    Quantum Law Group
  • Kate Mylott
  • Katrina Bullock
    General Counsel and Integrity Officer
    Greenpeace Australia Pacific
  • Laura Martin
    Senior Associate
    Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Lee Jamali
    Senior Associate
    Pinsent Masons
  • Lucy Hallwright
    Hamilton Locke
  • Madison Tonkes
    Corporate Counsel
    Southern Cross Austereo
  • Maggie Yie-Quach
    Senior Associate and National Innovation Manager
    Lander & Rogers
  • Maria Tseprailidis
    Principal, Partner and Lawyer
    Ethos Migration Lawyers
  • Marial Lewis
    Founder and Principal Solicitor
    Crossover Law Group
  • Michael Harty
    Special Counsel
  • Michael Kriewaldt
    Jewell Hancock Employment Lawyers
  • Michael Stannard
    Mellor Olsson
  • Michelle Mon
  • Neville Mirza
  • Nicholas Camac
    Senior Associate, Banking and Finance
    King & Wood Mallesons
  • Nicholas Venn
    Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Nick Malone
    Pragma Lawyers
  • Nicole George (formerly Nicole Diepenhorst)
    Senior Legal Counsel, Retail Insurance
    AIA Australia
  • Niki Schomberg
    Senior Associate – Family and Relationship Law
    Lander & Rogers
  • Ninsun Gabriel
    Madison Marcus
  • Rachael Lopez
    Griffith Hack
  • Rachel Walls
    Special Counsel
    Wotton + Kearney
  • Renee Roumanos
    Founder and Principal Lawyer
    Renee Roumanos Legal
  • Sam Hagan
  • Sapphire Parsons
    Senior Associate
    Macpherson Kelley
  • Sara Pearson
    Griffith Hack
  • Sophie Lefebvre
    Principal Solicitor
    Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office
  • Stefanie Costi
    Watts McCray Lawyers
  • Stephanie Vejar
    Senior Migration Lawyer
    Women’s Legal Service Victoria
  • Stipe Vuleta
    Chamberlains Law Firm
  • Tim Buckley
    Senior Associate
  • Varshini Rajendran
    Senior Associate
    Johnson Winter Slattery
  • Zefy Souvlakis
    Lawyer and Partner
    Ethos Migration Lawyers


As part of our editorial process, Key Media’s researchers interviewed the subject matter expert below for an independent analysis of this report and its findings.



Last November, Australasian Lawyer accepted nominations for the 2024 Rising Stars list. The standout young stars from the Australian legal profession were invited to put their names forward; those who knew of and wished to highlight such talent were also asked to submit nominations.

Nominees needed to be 35 or younger as of 31 March 2024. They had to have committed to a career in the legal profession and shown a clear passion for the industry. The Australasian Lawyer team also required nominees to cite their current position, responsibilities and key achievements over the past 12 months.

The team considered recommendations from managers and senior industry professionals in the review process conducted after the nomination period. After considering all aspects of the many submissions received, 73 emerged as the brightest young stars of the batch.