NSW Young Lawyers 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.
Secretary - Deena Palethorpe
Deena is a Senior Associate at Holmes Donnelly & Co Solicitors, a specialist family law firm. Deena attended her first committee meeting as a student and not even a temporary move to Melbourne deterred her from being an active member of NSW Young Lawyers.
Deena was elected as the Vice-Chair of the NSW Young Lawyers Family Law Committee in 2019, then its Chair in 2020.
Deena has been the Young Lawyers Representative on the Greater Sydney Family Law Pathways Network since 2019 and in 2021, will sit on the Law Society’s Family Law Committee as the Young Lawyers Representative.
Deena holds a Bachelor of Social Science from Macquarie University and Juris Doctor from the University of Technology Sydney. Deena has completed a Masters in Family Law and is now an Accredited Specialist.
Deena believes in fostering a sense of collegiality and collaboration amongst young lawyers who will go on to be the future leaders of our profession.
Treasurer - 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.
NSW Young Lawyers Immediate Past President – David Edney
David is a junior barrister at 6 St James Hall Chambers, practising principally in the areas of commercial litigation and insolvency law, having been called to the bar after 11 years of practice as a solicitor.
David has been an active member of NSW Young Lawyers since joining its Civil Litigation Committee in 2008 – he was a General Delegate from the committee in 2014, elected its Secretary in 2015, and then its Chair in 2017. David was elected as an Executive Councillor of NSW Young Lawyers in 2017, and then Vice-President in 2018. David has also been a mentor in the NSW Young Lawyers Mentoring Program.
Admitted to practice in 2007, David began his legal career in the commercial litigation and debt collection practice of a firm in Sydney's Sutherland Shire. While he had a supportive boss and loved his job, he sought out and joined the Civil Litigation Committee in 2008 as a way to be in contact with other young lawyers at a similar stage in their careers. After spending a number of years posting in just about every discussion that occurred on the committee's email list, he managed to convince his boss to let him take the two-hour round trip into the city to attend the committee's monthly meeting - he hasn't looked back since. While David now works in CBD, he hasn't forgotten his smaller-firm suburban roots, and how his involvement with NSW Young Lawyers helped him build confidence and connections so that he could become the lawyer he is today. He especially supports NSW Young Lawyers' work in helping today's graduates and junior practitioners to become tomorrow's leaders of the profession - not only through direct support such as mentoring programs, but also indirectly through its committees that assist members to build networks, stay engaged, and have a voice within the profession. David intends to use his time as an office-bearer of NSW Young Lawyer to continue supporting NSW Young Lawyers' work in that respect, especially in suburban and regional areas, so that others can have the opportunities he had.
When David isn't in the office his passion is cooking, especially in the backyard. He is known for his smoked brisket and bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers and insists people ask him about his recipe for haggis-stuffed chicken.