2017 Australian In-house Awards Winners are:

  1. Corporate Lawyer of the Year – Rachel Launders, General Counsel and Company Secretary, Nine Entertainment Co 
  1. Government Lawyer of the Year – Annette Musolino, Chief Counsel, Department of Human Services       
  1. Legal Team of the Year – Small (1 – 9 lawyers) –Salmat Limited
  1. Legal Team of the Year – Large (10+ lawyers) – Department of Lands, Legal Services WA 
  1. Young Lawyer Achiever of the Year – Michael Hogan, Wormald Australia Pty Limited 
  1. Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility- National Australia Bank

While the 2017 Australian In-house Lawyer Awards continue to reflect the influence of the digital age on the profession, they also confirm that in-house lawyers are rapidly being integrated into the senior management team as organisations – large and small – gear up to manage 21st Century risks including crisis management, cyber security and corporate social responsibility.

As you will note below 2017 Corporate Lawyer of the Year winner, Rachel Launders, General Counsel and Company Secretary at Nine Entertainment Co crisis management took on very real significance in April, 2016 when four staff members from 60 Minutes were arrested in Beirut and Rachel was pivotal in leading Nine’s response to those events.  Similarly, winner of the 2017 Small Legal Team Salmat developed a security incident response plan, that sought to prepare the company for a potential cyber breach.  As a result, Salmat now boasts a comprehensive response plan that includes checklists, escalation procedures, notification templates and practical guidelines for dealing with a security incident.

When 2017 Young Lawyer of the Year Michael Hogan joined Wormald in May 2016, Michael Hogan he could scarcely have asked for a more challenging period in the organisations’ 130-year history. The company had just been divested by Tyco International and, with a new CEO and management team, urgently required a general counsel to establish a legal function in what was being referred to as a 130-year old start-up Michael certainly had his work cut out for him.

As was the case last year, many legal departments operating in Australia continue to embrace the digital revolution, with some award winners (in both the categories for individual and team awards) having introduced self-serve contract systems and automated procurement processes, which have empowered the legal team to be able to move to the next level of support; as shapers of culture and strategy for their business.

ACC Australia outgoing President Gillian Wong noted that “It’s an exciting time for the Australian in-house legal profession, with many responding to the opportunities and challenges presented by the challenges of 21st century risks, digital disruption and environmental, social and governance issues.

“It’s fantastic to see so many of the winners, recognised for their excellence in the provision of legal services, supporting innovation in response to a highly dynamic and increasingly complex environment”, said Ms Wong. “Whether in government or corporate legal departments, each winner has made a significant contribution to the profession and demonstrated excellence in an area of the legal profession that is constantly evolving and swelling the ranks of the c-Suite.”