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Catch up on the latest news about Ashurst and Blake Dawson alumni.

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CONGRATULATIONS PROFESSOR RON MCCALLUM AO

Congratulations to Professor Ron McCallum AO (Special Counsel, Sydney until 2000), who has recently published a memoir, Born at the Right Time. Blind since birth, Ron regards himself as fortunate to have been born at a time when ever improving technology has enabled him to live a rich and full life, and to become a professor of law at one of Australia's most prestigious universities. Ron shares his early fears that he might never manage to have a proper career, find love or become a parent. He has achieved all this and more. Ron is Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Sydney, the first totally blind person to be appointed to a full professorship at any university in Australia. He has been chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Geneva, has received a Centenary Medal for his work, and was the 2011 Senior Australian of the Year. Ron is truly an inspiration to all who meet him. His book is published by Allen & Unwin in 2019. 

CONGRATULATIONS TO JENNIFER BATROUNEY QC WHO WAS ELECTED AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE AUSTRALIAN BAR ASSOCIATION

In November last year Jennifer Batrouney QC was elected President of the Australian Bar Association.

Jennifer said: "Having previously held positions including the President of Australian Women Lawyers, the Tax Bar Association and the Victorian Bar, it is an honour to lead the Australian Bar for the 2018-2019 year. My main focus has been on running the ABA international commercial conference in Singapore from 11-12 July. In the meantime, I am teaching two Masters subjects at the Melbourne Law School, a new subject called “Tax in Practice” and an intensive “Law of Charity” subject at the end of the year. I still maintain contact with many of those whom I did articles with at Blake & Riggall and value the skills that I learnt in my formative years at the firm. It is also nice to maintain my contact with the firm by being briefed in various ongoing matters."

Jennifer completed her articles at our Melbourne office, articled to Robert Paterson. She said: "I was fortunate to be articled to Robert Paterson and remain grateful to this day for all he taught me while I was articled to him".

After being admitted in 1988, she worked in the Corporate and Commercial group practising in taxation and superannuation with the firm. She signed the Victorian Bar Roll in 1991 and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2000.

JANINE GILLEN APPOINTED AS SENIOR LEGAL COUNSEL AT BECHTEL AUSTRALIA

Congratulations to Janine Gillen (former Senior Associate in our Technology, Media and Communication practice in our Brisbane and Melbourne office, 2002 - 2010), who was appointed as Senior Legal Counsel at Bechtel Australia in February. Janine joins Bechtel from Rio Tinto where she was Corporate Counsel.

What do you enjoy about your work?

I love the challenge of working for a multi-national company working in so many different and interesting areas of the world. No two days are the same! Also, I get to work with incredibly interesting and talented people who are at the top of their respective fields. I find it a very humbling experience and I never stop learning as a result of it.

What is the best career advice anyone ever gave you?

I was very lucky when I started at Blake Dawson in 2002 that I moved into the Telecommunications, Media and Technology team (as it then was) following the completion of my practical legal training. I found myself among people who were dedicated and knowledgeable but who also had an abiding sense of humour (no matter what the world threw at them). I recall distinctly (and fondly) one day I found myself in the partner’s office stressed out of my mind about an impending client deadline. We all recall those moments – when the stress of it all in those early days make you lose your a sense of perspective. At the time, the partner had a lovely view over Brisbane, including the Royal Brisbane Hospital on the distant horizon. He looked at me contemplatively for a moment, swung in his chair to face the window, pointed expansively towards the hospital and said to me “Janine, we are not saving lives here.” I thought at the time, “very good point!”. I have taken this advice with me through my years in the law. It has helped me keep it real. I also dispense it (with appropriate attribution, I might add) to anyone who finds themselves in the same position. I hope that it helps them as much as it helped me.

What advice would you give yourself as a young lawyer?

A career is the law is very fulfilling and when I look back on my life I think I did a lot of interesting things and met interesting people solely because of the opportunity I had to have a career in the law. But nothing worth having is easy to get. Working in the law is hard work but that hard work can be very rewarding in so many ways. Early in your career things can be tough, really tough and sometimes the light ahead is not always as clear as you thought it would be. But hang in there, get a good mentor and coach and don’t be in too much of a rush to be a partner or General Counsel. Learning the ropes and learning them well is so important and sets you up for a long and successful career in the law.

ALUMNA JANE BURTON APPOINTED DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL

Jane Burton is our new Deputy General Counsel, she is an alumna of the firm, who for many years worked with Amanda Ludlow in the Digital Economy (then TMT) team, specialising in technology and data law. She re-joins us after spending the past four years at Flight Centre where in addition to working in the in-house legal team, she spent a year acting as the Regional Data Protection Officer for Flight Centre in Australia and New Zealand.

NERIDA COOLEY APPOINTED AS FULL-TIME MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL NATIVE TITLE TRIBUNAL

Congratulations to Nerida Cooley (former Counsel in the Brisbane resources team) who has been appointed as a full-time member of the National Native Title Tribunal, an independent body established under the Native Title Act 1993 as a special measure for the advancement and protection of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders.

FAREWELL TO BROADWALK HOUSE – LONDON

Ruth Harris, Office Managing Partner, and Logan Mair, Projects & Real Estate Partner, recently hosted an alumni drinks reception to bid farewell to our Broadwalk House office ahead of the move to the new office location at the London Fruit & Wool Exchange. There were many familiar faces there on the evening and lots of reminiscing. Alumnus Rob McBride (Corporate Solicitor in London until 2005) said, "I remember Roger Finbow once saying that only those people that have been at Ashurst understand what is so unique and special about the firm, and I would have to say that I agree with him. I remain very proud to have spent my first decade as a lawyer at Ashurst working with so many great people, and I continue to tell anyone who cares to listen of the unique spirit and culture that defined the firm and which created its success. I wish you all the very best of luck and success in the new premises - we are watching from the sidelines and continue to want the best for our old firm, friends and colleagues!"

Thanks to all those who attended. For more pictures of the evening please visit our alumni events page.

THE ASHURST EMERGING ARTIST PRIZE – 2019 SHORTLIST

The Ashurst Emerging Art Prize is a global competition which supports artists in the early stages of their careers by providing guidance and exposure of their work. As a direct result of the initiative, a number of artists have secured sales for the first time, representing a major milestone in their careers.

The 30 shortlisted artists’ artworks (see below), chosen by a panel of renowned experts, will be exhibited at our London office from May to August 2019.

The prize presentation will take place at our London office in September. If you would be interested in attending please get in touch with our alumni team.

Our alumni news page keeps you up to date with the achievements and successes of our global alumni community. NIKKI SPENCE, ALUMNI MANAGER

Alumni contacts

If you have any questions or you need to update your contact details, please email alumni@ashurst.com or get in touch with our alumni team.

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