While reflecting on 25 years in the profession, Ashurst Managing Partner Gabrielle Forbes says she was attracted to the law for several reasons.
Gabrielle was one of 22 silver pin recipients at the Queensland Law Society Celebrate, Recognise, Socialise event at Brisbane’s Blackbird Bar and Grill on Thursday night.
“Thinking back, and yes it’s a reasonably long way back now, I seem to recall being attracted to the law for a few different reasons,” she recalled.
“One was the idea of being in a profession and the ability to pursue and achieve a certain scholarly level of knowledge but then to be able to gain admission to that profession and have that for the entirety of my career. For me, I think it meant a dedicated pathway and some level of personal security once achieving admission.
“More importantly I think it was also the desire to be challenged in that career which would mean ongoing interest and a long career journey.
“Finally I think I felt that I was suited to the law. I didn’t have any lawyers in my family nor my family’s circle of friends but I imagined that skills in putting forward an argument or case on behalf of another and the use of both logic and persuasion would be key. I have to admit I was not wrong about that and that has to be one of the many things I have loved about pursuing the career in the law.”
Gabrielle completed her law degree at QUT, graduating in 1995 with honours. After graduating, she started articles with Corrs Chambers Westgarth in 1996 and in 1997 moved to Ashurst, which at the time was known as Blake Dawson Waldron.
Gabrielle remained with the firm after her admission as a solicitor in February 1998.
She has been a Partner in the Ashurst litigation and dispute resolution group since 2010, specialising in insurance litigation, and celebrated milestones along the way.
“I have some personal achievements of which I am proud and they are mostly career milestones which include partnership at Ashurst since 2010 and then my role as the Brisbane Office Managing Partner since 2018,” she said.
“With these roles I have found a real and genuine enjoyment in taking on a leadership role and I have relished the opportunity to foster engagement and mentor colleagues at all levels of their career.
“I have seen many changes to the culture within private law firms since I started out in 1996. To play a part in that change, no matter how small, is highly rewarding.
“I have enjoyed the company of my colleagues over the years and I see so many brilliant new lawyers starting out. It really is wonderful to imagine what a career in the law will look like in 10 years’ time and how different that will be.”
And while accepting the recognition for 25 years of QLS membership, Gabrielle is looking ahead.
“It is a recognition of a resilience and dedication in the practice of the law and an acknowledgement that the profession can and does retain people, despite what we were told when we started out,” she said.
“It is also a wonderful time to look back and pause and to think about what I can do over the next 25 years and how different things are now.”
Also celebrating at the event were:
Maria Parisi (pictured in main photo), who completed her law degree at QUT graduating in 1996.
After graduation Maria started as an articled clerk at Mallesons Stephen Jacques and was admitted as a solicitor in February 1998.
Post admission, Maria continued her career at Mallesons Stephen Jacques and over the years held several positions in the firm, initially working as a mergers and acquisitions solicitor, before progressing to the role of Senior Associate.
Maria also spent time as in-house legal counsel specialising in the human services sectors, including for major operators in the child care, aged care and disability services sectors.
Maria has been a Legal Practitioner Director for CareServ Legal since late 2021, and has been working as a KWM Connexion Secondee, which includes her current secondment to BHP.
Robert Brittan started his own practice Brittan & Associates in 1990 and practised there for 13 years.
In 2004, Robert joined the Legal Services Commission.
Over the 17 years that followed, he held several positions including Manager Complaints, Director of Investigations, Deputy Commissioner and Acting Legal Services Commissioner.
Robert has been Senior Solicitor – Professional Standards, Risk and Compliance at Shine Justice since early 2020.
Christopher Jones graduated from the University of Queensland in 1992 with dual degrees in Arts and Law. He completed his articles with Thompson King Connolly before embarking upon general practice experience on the Sunshine Coast (including family law).
Christopher has maintained a family law focus throughout his career and has worked with several firms including Schultz Toomey O’Brien and Griffiths Parry.
Following this, Christopher moved with his wife and daughter to Brisbane where in 2014, they established CK Family Lawyers where he continues today as Principal.
Alex Lam studied law at the England College of Law and completed five years articles before being admitted as a solicitor in the UK and Hong Kong in 1982.
He began his career in Hong Kong at a boutique property and commercial firm.
Alex was admitted as a solicitor in Queensland in December 1994 and relocated to Australia permanently in 1997.
He spent a year working at Nichol Robinson and Kidd / Hallett before joining Sciaccas Lawyers and Consultants in their property and commercial section, where he remained until 2016.
He joined Michael Byroms at Byroms Lawyers in 2016, which became Broadley Rees Hogan Lawyers in 2018. Alex is a Senior Associate in the Broadley Rees Hogan Property Services Team.
Keep an eye on Proctor this week for more 25-year celebrations.