2018 ACT Women Lawyers Awards Gala Dinner

On Friday 26 October 2018 we hosted the second biannual ACT Women Lawyers Awards Gala Dinner.

Over 300 guests from across the ACT legal community, including judges, magistrates, and presidents of law societies and bar associations, joined us at the National Gallery of Australia for an evening that celebrated the many achievements of Canberra’s women lawyers.

We were privileged to be joined by journalist and advocate Tracey Spicer, who delivered the keynote speech. Tracey spoke passionately and eloquently about her career journey, pregnancy discrimination, and sexual harassment in the workplace. Tracey shared her experiences working extensively on the issue of sexual harassment and the #metoo movement in the Australian media industry.

She shared 10 useful steps that workplaces and managers can implement to tackle workplace sexual harassment:

  1. Hire and promote more women

  2. Protect workers, don’t just reduce liability

  3. Don’t penalise those who lodge complaints

  4. Multiple avenues of redress

  5. Take responsibility as leaders

  6. Train to change behaviours, not attitudes

  7. Implement bystander behaviour

  8. Reward staff/managers for reporting incidents

  9. Strong disciplinary actions against offenders

  10. Make it a condition of business

The award winners were announced by judges and sponsors, acknowledging exceptional lawyers and organisations. “The awards recognise the outstanding legal talent we are fortunate to have in the ACT. Not only are the award winners all exceptional lawyers, they all contribute more broadly to the profession in a variety of important ways, and are all champions of the women lawyers who surround them,” said Danielle Mildren, President of WLA ACT and Partner at Clayton Utz. “Our award winners reflect the diversity of our legal community, from those in multinational firms to those in government, community, and academia.”

Carol Benda took out the top award of Woman Lawyer of the Year. In her nomination, Carol was described as a force of nature. Her referee spoke of her “enormous contribution to the ACT legal community in a variety of roles over the years and epitomises in particular the unsung nature of work performed (mostly by women) in the community legal sector.” Carol is recognised as “a remarkable colleague and lawyer and truly well-deserving of this honour.”

We extend our congratulations to Carol and all of our award winners:

  • Woman Lawyer of the Year: Carol Benda, Legal Aid ACT

  • Woman Barrister of the Year: Kristy Katavic, Blackburn Chambers

  • Woman Lawyer of the Year – Government: Dr Suzanne Akila, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

  • Woman Lawyer of the Year – Private Practice: Rebekha Pattison, King & Wood Mallesons

  • Woman Lawyer of the Year - Culturally and Linguistically Diverse or Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander: Rorisang Moyo, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

  • Woman Lawyer of the Year - Community or Academic (Joint Winners): Professor Lorana Bartels, University of Canberra, and Parastou Hatami, Canberra Community Law

  • Woman Lawyer of the Year - Early Career (Joint Winners): Bridget Dunne, Legal Aid ACT, and Liz Leiter, Safe Work Australia

  • Firm or Organisation of the Year: King & Wood Mallesons

More information about the award winners and their achievements can be found on our website.

Thank you to everyone who attended the event, the Awards subcommittee for all their hard work in making the event possible, and to all of our sponsors, without whom we would not have been able to run such a successful event.  

Award Winners

Pre-dinner Drinks