About Ashurst Alumni Alumni news

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

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Ashurst alum Jennifer Batrouney AM QC (Solicitor, Melbourne, until 1990) was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the law, to the legal profession, and to women lawyers. 

Jennifer has over 29 years' experience with the Victorian Bar. Jennifer sits on the Melbourne Law School Advisory Council, the Victorian Legal Services Board, the Victorian Legal Admissions Board Committee and the Law Institute Charity Law Committee. She is Chair of the Law Council of Australia Charity and NFP Committee and a director of the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand. She is a member of the Victorian Bar Indigenous Justice Committee, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a Senior Fellow at the Melbourne Law School teaching in the Masters program. Jennifer is a Past President of Australian Women Lawyers, the Tax Bar Association, the Victorian Bar and the Australian Bar Association. Finally, Jennifer was elected as Convenor of the Women Barristers' Association the day after the Award was announced.

What does being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia mean to you?

The appointment serves as an inspiration to continue working for the benefit of the profession. It is an ongoing privilege to be able to help the younger members of the profession.

You have had an amazing career since leaving Ashurst/Blake Dawson – what are some of your personal highlights?

My election as President of the Australian Bar Association to lead the Bar in Australia in 2018 was a great honour, as was moving the admission of my son James to the legal profession in December 2018. It was also fabulous to be the President of the Victorian Bar on the historic occasion of the ceremonial farewell to CJ Marilyn Warren and the swearing in of CJ Anne Ferguson.

What is your favourite Ashurst memory?

We had a very close group of seven "Articled Clerks", as we were then called in 1987-1988 at Blake & Riggall. We called ourselves the "JFMers" after partner James Fairweather Murray who particularly liked utilising the services of Articled Clerks. We got up to all sorts of mischief together, had a GREAT time and remain friends to this day.


Ashurst alum Andrew Burnes (Solictor, Melbourne, until 1987) was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to business, particularly through a range of travel industries, professional tourism organisations, and to the community.

Andrew was a solicitor at Blake & Riggall/Blake Dawson Waldron in Melbourne before founding the Australian Outback Travel Company (The AOT Group) in 1987. After the merger of AOT and Helloworld in 2016, he was appointed CEO of Helloworld Travel Limited. In addition to this Andrew has served as Honorary Federal Treasurer of the Liberal Party of Australia, Deputy Chairman and Director of Tourism Australia, Trustee of the Travel Compensation Fund and Board Member of the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) along with many other roles.

What is your favourite Ashurst memory?

My favourite Ashurst/Blake Dawson memory was the response I got from my principal, Alan Cornell, to the first letter he asked me to draft for him. I spent an enormous amount of time checking the precedents in the library to try and capture his style and spent a lot of time working on the response. The first paragraph began as follows: "We are happy to advise…."

I took the draft to his office and he sat there and read it very carefully. He sat back in his chair and gave me that learned look over the top of his spectacles and said, "Andrew, we are never happy, but sometimes we are pleased…".

And that was a comment I never forgot and it was the beginning of a great articled clerkship under his leadership at the firm, which I will always be grateful for and remember very fondly.


David Dunn (Partner, Melbourne, until 1996) recently embarked on a new career as Executive Chairman of start-up Canard Solutions.

Please tell us about your newest endevour.

I have recently launched my sixth career, which is as Executive Chairman of start up Canard Solutions. This is a 21st century business dealing with all the goods, furniture and effects of downsizing, decluttering or estate clearance. As the Baby Boomer generation arrives at the stage where they and their parents need to move into smaller homes, or aged care, or need to deal with an estate, many find the task overwhelming. Canard Solutions deals with all the physical and practical issues of such a project. It is a business that gives great satisfaction to customers and our team, as well as repurposing much that would otherwise struggle to find a home.

What have you been doing since leaving Ashurst?

After Ashurst (BDW) I joined Merrill Lynch as a Managing Director and stayed for 5 years. This was followed by a period at KPMG as National Head of Financial Advisory – up to 2008. Further adventures as an MBO and Property business followed. I have now launch the Canard Solutions project.

Highlights have included Managing the float of the HK MTR for the HK government, assisting HIH into liquidation, riding shotgun on the Fox/Lew bid for Ansett and growing the KPMG business by some five times.

What is your favourite Ashurst memory?

My favourite memory in Ashurst was growing the Brisbane office from 2 Solicitors to 10 Partners and 50 lawyers over 5 years in the late 1980s. It was a truly exciting time and everyone involved made a great contribution to a very dynamic part of the firm.


Alum Anneliese Reinhold (Lawyer, Melbourne and Sydney, until 1993) became the first Australian to be appointed Chairman of the global Board of Directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) in October 2019. The world's largest in-house lawyers' organisation, ACC provides information services, continuing professional education, networking opportunities and advocacy initiatives to its approximately 45,000 members in over 85 countries. Along with being the first Australian Chairman, Anneliese is also only the seventh female Chairman in ACC's history. She has served on the Board for the past five years, and prior to her appointment as Chairman held the roles Vice-Chairman and Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee.

In late 2019 Anneliese was also appointed to the Council of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in the UK, the world's oldest corporate governance organisation with over 25,000 members around the globe. Anneliese is also a founding investor and member of the Investment Committee of Dubai Angel Investors Ltd (DAI), a member-led investment company investing in seed and Series A rounds of early stage technology companies with high growth potential.

Anneliese embarked on her legal career as an Articled Clerk with Blake Dawson Waldron in Melbourne where she spent almost six years before relocating to the firms' Sydney office, and later moving in-house with Optus Communications. Her career subsequently took her to London, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. She is currently the General Counsel and SVP Legal Affairs of telecoms giant du, based in Dubai, where she has been recognised with numerous awards for her trailblazing work in setting new standards for the development of the in-house legal profession in the Region.

What is your favourite Blake Dawson memory?

My years spent on the Melbourne Office Christmas Party Organising Committee! Always the highlight of the BDW Melbourne annual social calendar, despite the Committee consisting of only me and two others, during our tenure the Christmas Party scaled new heights. The culmination was the event held at The Regent Hotel (from memory, this was probably 1990 or 1991), which featured Tim Frampton as MC, a BDW Trivia Quiz involving not only trivia questions but also physical stunts, and – groundbreaking for back then – a hilarious video filmed inside the office over a weekend by the Articled Clerks, featuring themselves as actors, and set to the theme tune of the then hit tv show "LA Law". Needless to say, a fantastic time was had by all, and the Managing Partner was moved to tears by the quality of the event we'd managed to produce!


Emma Steel (Senior Associate, Brisbane, until 2015) has started a new role with Telstra Enterprise.

Please tell us about your new role with Telstra Enterprise

In January this year I transitioned from my in-house counsel role with Telstra to take up a Senior Commercial Specialist role in Telstra Enterprise (providing deal negotiation and commercial support for Telstra's top tier enterprise and government accounts).

What have you been doing since leaving Ashurst?

Legal Counsel for Telstra Corporation Ltd, predominantly supporting Telstra's enterprise and government account teams, the chief technology officer and providing companywide legal support on products, marketing and intellectual property matters.

What is your favourite Ashurst memory?

There are too many laughs to describe here. We had a lot of fun in the TMT team and maintaining a sense of humour at work was paramount. Importantly, I made lifelong friends that I continue to catch up with on a regular basis.


Ashurst alum Jennifer Wilson (Lawyer, Canberra, until 2018) has worked to develop a pro-bono partnership between KPMG and Redfern Legal Centre.

Please tell us about your recent achievement.

During my time at Ashurst I had the opportunity to be involved in a number of pro-bono initiatives, and that was something I wanted to continue after leaving the firm. Since joining KPMG I have recently developed a pro-bono partnership with the Redfern Legal Centre where our team provides immigration law expertise to the Legal Centre to assist them support vulnerable migrants. It's part of the Migrant Employment Legal Service and I'm proud to say some of our work is assisting to combat the exploitation of migrant workers in Australia's labour force, and in more extreme cases help address instances of modern slavery.

What have you been doing since leaving Ashurst?

Since leaving Ashurst, I have been employed at KPMG within the Deals, Tax and Legal division as the Director of the Australian Immigration practice. My new role combines my former experience as an immigration practitioner and policy adviser, and builds on the legal experience I obtained at Ashurst. Our team assists corporate clients and individuals navigate Australia's complex immigration system. We provide workforce planning and compliance advice to business, and assist individuals to obtain the correct visas to work and live in Australia. It's certainly been an interesting year for immigration law practitioners, because the pandemic has led to the closing of Australia's international borders which has halted travel and has created uncertainty for some individuals and businesses. The associated public debate around population and migration levels in Australia is also keeping things busy and interesting.

What is your favourite Ashurst memory?

There were many. A real stand out was the opportunity to assist senior colleagues prepare for, and appear, in an employment law matter in the High Court. Working in the Canberra employment law and litigation area also meant I enjoyed exposure to Commonwealth Government work, and being able to participate in an innovative ADR resolution process designed to remedy historical wrongs, which was meaningful work. I also used to really enjoy attending the LawSki event with the Ashurst ski team – such a great bunch of people!


Robert Wyld (Senior Associate, Melbourne, until 2005) has been working on the Judicial Integrity Pro Bono Project.

Please tell us about your current pro-bono project.

In late 2019, I commenced a pro bono project in my capacity as former Co-Chair of the IBA Anti-Corruption Committee (ACC) with Integrity Watch Afghanistan.

We are looking to prepare a report into institutional corruption issues in the judicial system in Afghanistan, working with NGOs and the Government of Afghanistan into developing a framework for reform to promote transparency and accountability.

Also, in late 2019, I was published by Oxford University Press US in a significant text on world anti-corruption laws.

What have you been doing since leaving Ashurst?

Since leaving Ashurst, I have been a partner and consultant with Johnson Winter & Slattery in Sydney.

I have undertaken a significant amount of policy work and submissions to the Australian Government (on behalf of the IBA ACC) on reforms to Australia's foreign bribery laws, other criminal reforms and private sector whistleblower protection laws.

What is your favourite Ashurst memory?

During the 1990s, in the Melbourne office, I was a leader (in spirit) of what was known as the Rosarti's Coffee Club. Each day, sometime between 10.00am and 11.00 am, groups of young lawyers (from across Practice Groups) would quietly exit the building at 101 Collins St, to congregate in Rosarti's Bar and Coffee House on Lt Collins St for coffee, gossip and exchange of hot office information.

This regular (and much convivial soirée) so incensed one senior Comm Lit partner who could not find his usual array of eager lawyers waiting to do his bidding, that he forbad anyone from attending such gatherings. Despite the questionable legality of such a ban, it only encouraged the rebels to go underground and shift coffee and gossip times to a flexible "when you can, see you there approach" so attendees were staggered across the day. Modest rebellion in the aid of camaraderie and old-fashioned office and legal gossip prevailed!


Ashurst has a close relationship with McLaren and, as the first set of races on the 2020 Formula One calendar get underway behind closed doors, they have offered us access to their virtual hospitality experience called Slipstream.

The Slipstream experience is an innovative, exclusive, invite only platform hosted on Microsoft Teams. Slipstream gives access to the behind-the-scenes of a race weekend including real-time insights through a live garage feed, garage tours and private Q&A’s with drivers, the team and much more.

We are delighted to be able to offer some of our alumni an opportunity to experience Slipstream for the races below:

  • Sunday 2 August: British Grand Prix, Silverstone
  • Sunday 9 August: 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Silverstone
  • Sunday 16 August: Spanish Grand Prix, Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya
  • Sunday 30 August: Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps
  • Sunday 6 September: Italian Grand Prix, Monza

Spaces are limited and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. If you are interested in joining please email with your preferred race dates.


Do you have a story to tell?

To celebrate Ashurst's bicentenary in 2022 the team behind the firm's successful First Women project are embarking on a new storytelling project, "200 Stories for 200 years".

This project will produce 200 multimedia stories that celebrate the firm's people and achievements over the past 200 years. The stories will be about Ashurst's people, both as individuals and groups, but could also be about events or places that are connected with the firm.

To kick start the project we are calling for a selection of photos and memories from our alumni. If you have recently been tidying out some cupboards and have come across any old photos from your time at Ashurst, we would love to hear from you! Please also get in touch if you would be interested in contributing a story via another medium such as a written piece, podcast, artwork or video.

Contact the 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 or get in touch with our alumni team.

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