Opponent of LGBTQ+ hate crimes honoured with the President's Medal for 2022
President of the Law Society of NSW Joanne van der Plaat has honoured a diverse array of legal talent in thirteen categories during the Society’s Annual Members Dinner and inaugural Awards Night held last week.
These awards are an opportunity for the Law Society to recognise and celebrate its members’ excellence in the field, service to the community and the profession, and commitment to the highest ethical and professional standards.
Dowson Turco partner Nicholas Stewart was awarded the prestigious Law Society of NSW President’s Medal for 2022, having been instrumental in the establishment of a Special Commission of Inquiry into gay and transgender hate crimes.
“The unsolved homicides and serious assaults on our LGBTQIA+ community, especially in the four decades from 1970, remain a blight on our community. Mr. Stewart’s tireless campaign for a judicial inquiry gave voice to those victims silenced by the crimes committed against them,” van der Plaat said.
“Through his membership of the Law Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Mr. Stewart has made invaluable contributions to the legal profession in NSW, being instrumental in revising the Society’s Charter for the Advancement of Women,” van der Plaat added. “He has also been active in mentoring women practitioners and law students.”
Meanwhile, Mark Swan was named the Law Society’s Member of the Year, which is the Society’s pinnacle award for the most outstanding committee member. Swan is a special counsel at Mills Oakley and a long-serving member of the Society’s Property Law Committee.
“Mr Swan’s humble commitment to ethical and professional service benefits not only his practice and clients, but extends to emerging leaders in the profession. He reflects the values we celebrate as a ‘good’ lawyer,” van der Plaat said.
Van der Plaat also recognised several lawyer nominees who serve in rural, regional, and remote (RRR) areas – the winner of which was Courtney Colwell, principal solicitor at Lovett & Green.
“As a rural practitioner of more than ten years’ standing, I’m delighted that these inaugural awards honour the crucial work that RRR solicitors do in their regions,” van der Plaat said. “Ms. Colwell not only ensures access to justice for her small community, but also works hard to ensure her practice attracts and retains solicitors so that local people can continue to access legal help and advice where they live.”
The full list of awardees can be found below.
Nicholas Stewart, Partner, Dowson Turco
Clarissa Huegill, Consultant, Parker and Kissane Solicitors
Law Society of NSW Member of the Year
Mark Swan, Special Counsel, Mills Oakley
Wellbeing Champion of the Year
Alicia Floyer, Director and Principal Solicitor, Next Legal & Conveyancing
Law Society Mentor of the Year
Michelle Lau, Principal Lawyer and Founder, Blue Space Legal
Law Society Mentee of the Year
Xin (Jillian) Fu, PhD Candidate School of Psychology and Brain & Mind Centre – USYD
John Hennessy Legal Scholarship
Anthony Levin, Senior Solicitor, Legal Aid NSW
Michelle Crowther PSM Excellence Award
Megan Smith, Legal Counsel, NSW Ombudsman
Excellence in In-house Corporate Practice Award
Justin Moses, In-house Lawyer, AIME Mentoring
Pro Bono Service Award
Karen Iles, Violet Co Legal & Consulting
Legal Academic of the Year
Professor Tania Sourdin, Dean, Newcastle University
Accredited Specialist of the Year
James Horsburgh (Family and Criminal Law), Director, McIntosh McPhillamy & Co
Rural or Regional Practitioner of the Year
Courtney Colwell, Principal Solicitor at Lovett & Green, Warren
Law Student of the Year
Nora Takriti, Sydney Law School, The University of Sydney
Early Career Lawyer of the Year
Melissa Arndell, Associate, Bourke Legal