NSW Young Lawyers President - Leah Serafim
Leah is an Associate in the disputes practice at Herbert Smith Freehills, specialising in large-scale taxation disputes with federal and state revenue authorities. Leah has been an active member of NSW Young Lawyers since 2015, when she moved to Sydney for work and decided she needed to meet some people who (1) weren't tax lawyers and (2) didn't think the consolidation rules were a topic of socially-acceptable conversation.
Admitted to practice in 2015, Leah was elected as the Vice-Chair of the NSW Young Lawyers Business Law Committee in 2016, then its Chair in 2017. During her time as Chair, the Business Law Committee was awarded the 2018 NSW Young Lawyers Patron's Award for Best Professional Project by The Hon. Justice Fabian Gleeson SC.
In 2019, following the completion of her term with the Business Law Committee, Leah was elected Chair of the NSW Young Lawyers Taxation Law Committee and currently holds this role.
Leah has been the Young Lawyers Representative on the NSW Law Society Business Law Committee since 2017 and is a member of its tax sub-committee. Leah also occasionally moonlighted as Secretary for the Law Council of Australia's Business Law Section (Tax Sub-Committee) during 2017 and 2018.
Leah was awarded the NSW Young Lawyers Patron's Award for NSW Young Lawyer of the Year by Jane Needham SC in 2019 for her contribution to the legal profession and, in particular, her work in improving the well-being of junior lawyers.
Leah holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) / Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Newcastle and is an Associate of the Tax Institute of Australia.
In her spare time, Leah likes to inform small children and aspiring taxpayers that, while vampires aren't real, they should be afraid of capital gains tax.
Vice President - Olivia Irvine
Olivia is a lawyer with Hazelbrook Legal, where she and her team enjoy complex corporate and commercial problem-solving, with a particular focus on financial services (she has a close, but complex friendship with RG97, and is on a first-name basis with the CCIV Framework and Other Measures Act).
Having been admitted to practice in September 2020, Olivia had a wonderful, and technology forward (ie. virtual) admission ceremony. Olivia received her professional work experience as a volunteer with Redfern Legal Centre, in the Health Justice Partnership and Police and Government Accountability practices, prior to which she worked for many years in the rare book trade.
Since joining in 2018, Olivia has been an enthusiastic member of NSWYL. In 2019 she became the Submission Co-Ordinator of the Communications, Entertainment and Technology Committee, completing a then-record number of submissions, and in November 2021, was appointed Chair of the Committee. Olivia won both the 2020 and 2021 NSWYL Golden Gavel competitions.
Olivia was honoured to be appointed as Vice President of NSWYL at the 2021 General Assembly and aims to continue NSWYL's culture of inclusivity and to grow resilience, engagement, and opportunities throughout the community.
Olivia is always interested in discussing AI and tech, financial services law and her favourite ASIC RGs, access to justice, and medieval literature.
Secretary - Alana Rafter
Alana is an Associate in the Workplace and Employment Team at Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors (ABLA).
Admitted to practice in 2017, Alana began her legal career at the Supreme Court of New South Wales as Associate to the Honourable Justice Michael Walton. There she gained broad exposure to matters within the Common Law Division, Court of Criminal Appeal and developed a passion for legal advocacy. After five years at Court, she took up a position at ABLA specialising in employment and industrial law.
Alana joined NSW Young Lawyers in 2020. She was elected Chair of the Public Law and Government Committee in 2021, immediately prior to that appointment she held the position of Vice Chair. She is also an avid member of the Civil Litigation Committee and Workplace and Safety Law Committee.
As Chair of the Public Law and Government Committee, Alana coordinated the Committee’s flagship event: The Sir Anthony Mason Constitutional Law Essay Competition and Constitutional Law Address, which was awarded the NSW Young Lawyers Patron Award for “Best Community Project by a Committee” in 2021.
Between 2020-2021, Alana was also a member of the Law Society’s Public Law Committee.
Alana holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) from the University of Notre Dame Australia. She maintains ties as an alumnus mentor; regularly participating in panels and presentations aimed at assisting prospective and current law students. She is currently studying a Master of Laws at the University of Sydney.
Prior to studying law, Alana obtained an Advanced Diploma in Theatre Performance at Sydney Theatre School. She has performed in various theatres around Sydney and remains passionate about musical theatre. She continues to enjoy singing and acting in her spare time.
NSW Young Lawyers Immediate Past President – Simon Bruck
Simon currently practices at knowmore Legal Service where he leads the national legal team in providing advice about the National Redress Scheme and other compensation options. Simon previously practiced at the Refugee Advice and Casework Service and before that at Legal Aid NSW.
At NSW Young Lawyers, Simon became Chair of the Human Rights Committee in 2019 after previously holding the position of Vice-Chair since 2017. He is sits on the Law Society's Human Rights Committee.
Simon co-coordinated the NSW Young Lawyers Refugee Assistance Project which assisted a proportion of people seeking asylum in New South Wales to meet their protection visa lodgement deadlines. This project won the 2016 and 2017 NSW Young Lawyers Patron Awards for Best Community Project and the 2017 Australian Young Lawyer Organisation Award from the Law Council of Australia.
Simon was involved in leading the development of the NSW Young Lawyers Climate Change and the Law Policy Statement which was launched at the 2019 Annual Assembly, and was involved in the Addressing Sexual Harassment in Australian Legal Workplaces Project for which the Human Rights Committee jointly won the 2020 Australian Young Lawyer Organisation Award.
Simon became an Executive Councillor in 2017 for NSW Young Lawyers, and was elected Vice President in November 2019. Simon aims to improve the facilitation of committee led events, and promote access to justice and law reform.
With the NSW Young Lawyers Charity of the Year being Minds Count in 2021 Simon is raising awareness of new lawyers' wellbeing in the law. Simon is pleased to be working with Professor Megan Davis as the NSW Young Lawyers Patron for 2021.