2023 Annual Conference



8.00 - 9.00am

Arrival and networking

8.45am | Official Welcome


  • Jennifer Wong, Solicitor Advocate, Crown Solicitor’s Office
  • Mel Keenan, Legal Officer, Electoral Commission of NSW, In-House Corporate Lawyers Committee (Deputy Chair) 

8.55am | Opening Address 


  • Anthony Lean, Deputy CEO, Law Society of NSW

9.00 - 10.00am

Proven Innovation Strategies for Government Legal Teams

There is much breathless talk proclaiming “the end of lawyers” as tech, robots and other factors are apparently going to render lawyers jobless. Nick Abrahams believes quite the opposite is true. As part of his role at Bond University, he has been researching the future of law for several years and he believes the opportunities for lawyers have never been better – but for lawyers with the right skills and mindset. He has worked with numerous in-house legal teams on their innovation projects and will be discussing innovation strategies for government legal teams.

Nick’s session covers the following topics:

  • Explore the future of the legal profession and identify key threats and opportunities
  • Learn about legaltech and its true impact on the legal profession so far
  • Discuss the current state of Artificial Intelligence in law and its potential for the future
  • Explore case studies of successful, low-investment/high-reward in-house legal innovation

Nick has been a corporate technology partner at Norton Rose Fulbright for over twenty years, spending the last eight years in global technology and innovation leadership roles. Currently he is the global co-leader of the firm’s digital transformation practice. He is an Adjunct Professor at Bond University where he is researching high performance in legal services and teaches the course The Breakthrough Lawyer: Grow as a legal leader & innovator in your organisation.

Nick has a special interest in legal innovation. He won the Financial Times Asia Pacific Legal Innovator of the Year Award for the creation of the world’s first AI-enabled privacy chatbot, Parker. He co-founded Australia's leading online legal company, LawPath, which has served over 400,000 customers in its ten years.


  • Nick Abrahams, Global Co-Leader, Digital Transformation Practice, Norton Rose Fulbright

10.00 - 11.00am

The Establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Commission: Transparency, Integrity, and Public Appointments

In this session, we will discuss the establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the role of government lawyers in ensuring transparency and integrity. This session aims to equip government lawyers with the knowledge and tools needed to advise their departments on promoting accountability, maintaining public trust, and safeguarding the integrity of the nation's governance.


  • Scott Alden, Partner, HWL Ebsworth Lawyers (Committee member)
  • Dr Ben Gauntlett, Deputy Commissioner, National Anti-Corruption Commission

11.00 - 11.30am

Morning Tea Break incl networking

11.30 - 11.45am

Health equity in gaol: examining continuity of care for First Nations people 

Join us for an insightful sneak peak into Anthony’s research project on the Health equity in gaol: examining continuity of care for First Nations people. This proposal recognises that unmet health needs contribute to the cycle of incarceration for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. The research project draws on evidence that culturally safe health-based responses can help to reduce the number of First Nations people in custody. It is fundamentally about protecting health rights through continuity of care and entails two nodes of enquiry: 

i)    the efficacy of a mechanism used in correctional centres in British Columbia, Canada, known as an ‘indigenous patient navigator’ (IPN); this includes examining their role in facilitating access to external health services and improving continuity of care for Aboriginal people in custody and beyond; and
ii)   the role of lawyers at the Prisoners’ Legal Service (West Coast Prison Justice Society) in advocating to protect or remedy breaches of the health rights of Indigenous people in custody, and their degree of engagement with the IPN program.

Speaker - Winner of the John Hennessy Scholarship 2022

  • Anthony Levin, Manager and Senior Solicitor, Combined Civil Law Specialist Team, Human Rights Group, Legal Aid NSW

11.45 - 12.30pm

Settling and mediating government litigation

Join us for an insightful look how to effectively settle and mediate government litigation.  This session will delve into topics such as:

  • Ex Gratia Payments – Act of Grace  Scheme (State and Federal)
  • The Scheme for Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (the CDDA Scheme)
  • Waiver, postponement or deferral of debts under section 34 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1977 (Cth)
  • Mediating with Government – the traps!


  • Mark Robinson SC, Barrister, Macquarie Street Chambers 

12.30 - 1.30pm


Whistleblowers make Australia a better place but the cost of courage to speak up is too high. Whistleblowers routinely face detriment when they speak up – termination, suspension, loss of reputation, or for government whistleblowers like David McBride or Richard Boyle, criminal prosecution. Beyond the legal and employment repercussions, there are the personal costs to psychological health, family, and finances.

Government lawyers play a critical role in whistleblower protections – as whistleblowers themselves or as potential authorised officers in receiving disclosures. 

The Human Right’s Law Centre’s (HRLC) Whistleblower Project is the first of its kind in Australia, dedicated to representing whistleblower clients and strengthening whistleblower protections through law reform. 

Please join Regina Featherstone, Senior Lawyer at the HRLC and Jade Tyrrell, Senior Associate from Johnson Winter Slattery, in conversation regarding how government lawyers play a part in contributing to accountability in Australia, to help maintain public trust in our institutions. Their talk will cover the current whistleblower landscape in Australia, how government lawyers can be empowered to address disclosures in a trauma-informed way and the Whistleblower Project’s path to reform. 


  • Regina Featherstone, Senior Lawyer, Human Rights Law Centre
  • Jade Tyrrell, Law Society Councillor and Senior Solicitor, Johnson Winter Slattery

1.30 - 2.30pm

Lunch Break incl networking

2.30 - 3.30pm

Key Government Cases: A Year in Review 

Attendees will examine landmark cases that have shaped government law and policy, analysing their implications and lessons learned. Through interactive discussions and expert analysis, participants will gain valuable insights into emerging legal trends and challenges that lie ahead. This session seeks to equip government lawyers with the knowledge and foresight necessary to navigate complex legal landscapes, shape effective strategies, and ensure sound legal representation for their respective government departments. 


  • Thomas Kwok, Partner, Holding Redlich

3.30 - 3.45pm

Afternoon Tea Break incl networking

3.45 - 4.45pm

Legal Spotlight: Exploring the Intersection of Armed Forces and International & Domestic Law through Case Studies

Examine case studies highlighting the intricate relationship between the Armed Forces and international/domestic law. Through in-depth analysis and discussions, attendees will gain valuable insights into the legal challenges faced by the military in adhering to legal frameworks, human rights obligations, and national security imperatives. By exploring real-world scenarios, participants will deepen their understanding of the complex legal landscape surrounding armed forces operations.    


  • Air Commodore Pat Keane AM CSC, Director General, Military Legal Service 
  • Captain Ian Campbell     

4.45 - 5.00pm

Closing Address

Program is subject to change.