NSW solicitors honored in King’s Birthday Awards

From ADR pioneers to future governor-generals

NSW solicitors honored in King’s Birthday Awards
Brett McGrath, President of the Law Society of NSW

Prominent NSW solicitors, including the Governor-General designate, have been recognized in this year's King’s Birthday Honours list, highlighting the vital role of the legal profession in community service and national life.

Law Society of NSW president Brett McGrath congratulated the Orders of Australia honors recipients and acknowledged the contributions of those serving the law.

“I regard lawyers’ service to the community so highly that I have made it one of my President’s Priorities for my 2024 term representing the interests of more than 42,000 solicitors across the state,” McGrath said.

Australia’s next Governor-General, Sam Mostyn AC, began her career as an associate to Michael Kirby AC CMG, the former president of the NSW Court of Appeal and later a High Court Justice, before practicing as a solicitor for a short period. Mostyn has been a keynote speaker at various Law Society of NSW events.

The late Ruth Charlton AM, a Law Society member for over 35 years, was a pioneer in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Just a year after her admission, she became a founding member of the Australian Dispute Resolution Association in 1986. Charlton was an Accredited Specialist in Mediation and the founding chair of the Law Society’s ADR Specialist Accreditation Committee.

Robert Kelly AM practiced as a solicitor for 26 years before being called to the Bar in 2000. He has contributed his legal expertise to the medical profession, including serving as Deputy President of the New South Wales Medical Board. Kelly has also served as Pro-Chancellor of the University of Technology Sydney and led the Law Foundation of NSW and the Solicitors Benevolent Association.

Nalika Padmasena OAM entered the legal profession in 2007 after serving the community as a court support worker at Parramatta. She has held leadership roles at the Senior Rights Centre, the Toongabbie Community Legal Centre, and the Community Legal Centres Association of Australia. Padmasena received her Order of Australia Medal for serving the multicultural community.

McGrath congratulated former Federal Circuit and Family Law of Australia Judge Lewis Driver AM for his significant service to the judiciary and the law. Driver’s 22 years on the bench of the FCFCOA (formerly the Federal Magistrates Court) mark half a century of dedicated service to the justice system and the rule of law.

“It’s impossible for the King’s Birthday Honours List or this statement to recognize all lawyers who serve in countless ways as leaders in their communities, including providing no-cost or low-cost legal services to the vulnerable. However, these awards are a fitting way to offer a nation’s gratitude to Australians whose generosity and diligence set an example for us all,” McGrath said.

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