ACC Australia unveils winners of Corporate Lawyer Awards 2022

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Winners of Corporate Lawyer Awards 2022
From top left: Cate Bennett, Andrew Paloni, Bradley Holland and Christine Adamson. Bottom left: Marie Le Bras, Jason Arnheim, Edwina Stevenson and Luke Barrett

More than 350 in-house counsel, partners and friends celebrated with winners of the Australian Corporate Lawyer Awards 2022 during a gala dinner in Brisbane in November 2022.

The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) announced the winners at the 2022 In-house Legal National Conference.

“The awards programme highlights the importance of in-house lawyers in their role as leaders, ethical guardians, legal advisers and innovation partners,” said Ingrid Segota, executive director of ACC Australia in Melbourne.

“In recent years, with the increased use of technology and a greater focus on compliance and risk management, ACC Australia has expanded the award categories to better recognise the breadth of in-house legal excellence.”

Edwina Stevenson, legal manager – corporate and compliance at Pernod Ricard Winemakers was declared the In-house Lawyer of the Year.

She is a key legal adviser to the spirits producer in corporate law and compliance, with a career spanning more than 15 years. She advises on matters related to consumer law, industrial relations, privacy, food code compliance and much more.

Christine Adamson, acting general counsel real estate at the Queensland government’s investment company QIC, received the New to In-house Lawyer of the Year award, which acknowledges the impact of transitioning to an in-house legal career.

Adamson joined QIC in 2021 and leads a team of more than 15 legal professionals after more than two decades of a successful stint at Allens in Brisbane. She has been instrumental in building processes and efficiencies, including an app to manage tenant default processes.

Legal Innovator of the Year was awarded to Bradley Holland, regional general counsel, APAC, at software developer Juniper Networks in Melbourne.

Holland leads the legal team across the region and leverages his technical knowledge and extensive international experience to support the complex negotiations and drafting requirements of a global technology supplier.

Cate Bennett, general counsel and company secretary at a non-profit organisation Movember in Melbourne, received the Not-For-Profit Lawyer of the Year.

The award recognises her track record of creating simple solutions to complex problems, developing high-performing and goal-oriented teams, and building relationships with stakeholders that drive value and achieve shared objectives.

In the Environmental, Social and Governance Excellence category, Andrew Paloni, special counsel – major projects at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, Queensland, was awarded for his role in several significant infrastructure projects, including the expansion of the national sea simulator, and the design and building of a new generation of research vessel.

Government Lawyer of the Year was awarded to Marie Le Bras, general counsel, regional development and engagement of government-owned wholesale broadband provider NBN in Melbourne.

Le Bras supports her stakeholders in navigating complex legal and regulatory landscapes as NBN seeks to lift the country’s digital capability, especially to connect regional and remote Australia.

Having established the internal legal function in 2021, Jason Arnheim, general counsel at Ego Pharmaceuticals in Melbourne, deserves his win as Sole Legal Officer of the Year. Arnheim handles legal queries and is responsible for government relations and insurance.

In the category of Small Legal Team of the Year, the Australian Institute of Marine Science came out as the winner. Its small legal team of five has worked to help deliver research partnerships on an unprecedented scale and complexity, at a critical time for the Great Barrier Reef and other marine ecosystems.

Meanwhile, the winner of the Large Legal Team of the Year award went to Insurance Australia Group’s legal and company secretariat, which provides corporate, insurance, regulatory and commercial legal services with five teams and is committed to delivering legal, corporate governance and corporate affairs solutions.

Lastly, the winner of General Counsel of the Year is Luke Barrett, general counsel at Australian superannuation fund UniSuper.

Barrett has more than 20 years of experience in financial services, advising fund managers and superannuation funds across all aspects of their businesses and investments. His prior experience includes senior legal positions with leading law firm Allens and with Vanguard Investments.