Wins rain down: Highlights from the 2023 Australasian Law Awards

On a memorable night, members of the legal profession strutted their stuff and showed off their trophies

Wins rain down: Highlights from the 2023 Australasian Law Awards

Last Thursday night, the rain might have been soaking the streets, but inside the ballroom of The Fullerton Hotel Sydney, members of the Australasian legal profession were soaking in the cheers as wins rained down at 2023 Australasian Law Awards.

Host Dave Hughes led the evening off strong, leaving the audience in stitches with the comedic flair for which he’s been so well known all these years. This year’s Excellence Awardees were then highlighted in a fun video package, building the anticipation for the crowning of the night’s big winners.

“I have loved celebrating all of the amazing Excellence Awardees and the winners. And everyone’s so excited, so it’s been brilliant to be part of that and seeing such amazing things”, Amber Williams, CEO of event sponsor Resolution Institute, told Australasian Lawyer.

The organisation put its stamp on the Australian Mediator of the Year and the Australian Arbitrator of the Year awards. Williams pointed out that as the peak body for dispute resolvers across Australia and New Zealand, Resolution Institute wanted to be able to “promote excellence in dispute resolution”.

Divorce Right’s Anne-Marie Cade took home the Australian Mediator of the Year trophy, while Judith Levine of Levine Arbitration nabbed the crown for Australian Arbitrator of the Year.

Anne-Marie Cade, Divorce Right

“It’s fabulous to be seeing such impressive women winning these awards and being the leaders in their fields. So I’m really proud of both Anne-Marie Cade and Judith Levine”, Williams said.

Meanwhile, event sponsor and top-tier firm Clayton Utz sought to – and got to – applaud excellence in the in-house market as the firm did the honours of handing the trophy to Australian In-house Team of the Year winner Office of Energy and Climate Change Legal, NSW Treasury.

Office of Energy and Climate Change Legal, NSW Treasury

Clayton Utz forensic technology services director Will Howe described it as a “well-deserved” win for the team, and lauded the “really high calibre of nominees”.

“We just really like to celebrate the great work that Australian in-house teams do year after year. The job never gets easier – it’s always doing more with less. And it’s amazing for us watching in-house teams become not as much legal advisors as strategic advisors. So we feel privileged to be part of this award and part of this process”, Howe told Australasian Lawyer.

He added that the night had been a great opportunity to “to see new people, meet new friends, and just connect with other people”.

“The vibe in the room was excellent”, Howe commented.

Meanwhile, SP Search & Consulting got to announce the double winners of the Australian Dealmaker of the Year award, which went to Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s Sandy Mak and Herbert Smith Freehills’ Tony Damian.

Damian also played a significant role in this year’s M&A Deal of the Year, the acquisition of Sydney Airport by Sydney Aviation Alliance.

2023 M&A Deal of the Year: Guy Alexander, Allens; Tony Damian, Herbert Smith Freehills; Presenter: Troy Swan, Winc and OfficeMax

“It’s a really big, interesting, complex deal, so it’s nice for it to be recognised”, he told Australasian Lawyer, beaming in the bright lights as he held the trophy.

SP Search & Consulting also had the privilege of announcing this year’s Law Firm Leader of the Year (>500 Employees), which went to Gilbert + Tobin’s Danny Gilbert.

To know who else stood tall at the end of the night, click here. Stay tuned as we unveil more coverage from the awards ceremony.

Australasian Lawyer thanks Resolution Institute, Clayton Utz and SP Search & Consulting for helping to make the 2023 Australasian Law Awards an incredible night for the Australasian legal profession.

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