President's Medal winner 2021


The Law Society of NSW congratulates Children’s Court registrar and former Legal Aid NSW solicitor, Mary Gleeson, the recipient of the Law Society of NSW President’s Medal for 2021.

The President’s Medal is awarded each year to a NSW solicitor and member of the Law Society of NSWwho has made a significant personal and professional contribution to the betterment of law and justice in the community.

Mary Gleeson was awarded the 2021 President’s Medal at the Law Society’s Annual Members Dinner in Sydney last night.

Mary Gleeson’s career began in private practice before she joined Legal Aid in 1998. In her most recent Legal Aid role, Mary provided early intervention services to Indigenous families and was one of the Legal Aid duty solicitors servicing the Federal Circuit Court Indigenous Families List (which Mary was instrumental in setting up). Mary recently left Legal Aid to take up a position as a Registrar in the NSW Children’s Court. Outside her day to day work, Mary provides services to The Shed, a male suicide prevention service in Mt Druitt; conducts a Health Justice Partnership clinic attached to Blacktown Hospital; is Chair of DV West, a crisis accommodation service; and is a member of the Aboriginal Family Law Pathways committee. She is also a member of the Law Society’s Indigenous Issues Committee.

President of the Law Society of NSW, Juliana Warner, said the President’s Medal is a fitting acknowledgement of Mary’s 28-year contribution to family law working with some of the state’s most vulnerable families.

“Mary’s passion and commitment to early intervention services in the family law setting has created significant improvements in access to justice for so many Indigenous children and families over the past three decades,” Ms Warner said.

“Her innovative and pragmatic approach to legal assistance is underpinned by her deep understanding of the sometimes complex non-legal needs of her clients.

“And her solution-focused approach means that she often goes above and beyond what might ordinarily be required of a family law solicitor.

“Additionally, her work with The Shed, a male suicide prevention service in Mt Druitt, and as duty solicitor at the Federal Circuit Court’s Indigenous Families list, has provided access to the family law system for Indigenous children who would otherwise have been at risk of removal from their families through the care and protection system.

“The Law Society has also benefited from her practical expertise as a result of her sustained and valued contribution to the work of the Law Society’s Indigenous Issues Committee over the last eight years.”

In accepting the President’s Medal, Mary Gleeson, said she was deeply humbled to be recognised for her work in family law, particularly with Indigenous families.