From an impressive young medical negligence solicitor, to an emerging leader in social media law and a nationally-recognised native title mediator, this state is home to some of the brightest young legal minds.
Today The Advertiser meets 21 working in the civil law space, identified through conversations with industry insiders, leading lawyers and professional training institutions and affiliations.
Aged in their 30s, most under 35 and one as young as 24, each are recognised as rising stars in their fields – ranging from insolvency and commercial dispute resolution, to family law, workers compensation and personal injury litigation – many already firmly established as industry experts.
In a nod to the state’s law schools, each has studied locally.
At 34, Pace Lawyers’ Shavin Silva is a special counsel whose area of expertise is civil litigation and commercial advisory.
“I had an interest in civil litigation even prior to studying law … the reason is rather prosaic – I watched far too many courtroom dramas when I was growing up,” he laughs.
While Fiona Campbell, from DBH Lawyers, has been voted by her peers as a recommended medical negligence solicitor.
“My role gives me the opportunity to investigate claims for good people who are injured through no fault of their own, helping give them a sense of closure and going some part of the way to ‘righting the wrong’, so they can try and move on with their life,” she said.
Here’s what inspired them, what continues to drive them — and what their career aspirations are:
The 34-year-old has this year been named the Rising Star for Corporate & Commercial Law for his “exceptional skills and accomplishments”, by independent industry reviewer Doyles Guide.
Stannard, a senior associate who specialises in commercial and property law, studied law at Flinders University, gaining a Master of Laws at University of Adelaide.
“During my studies I developed a keen interest in business law and contracts as I enjoyed finding solutions to complex legal issues,” he says.
“As I pursued my professional career, I naturally gravitated towards business deals, negotiations and transactions … these areas of practice resonated with my strengths.”
He describes “the opportunity to engage with a diverse range of transactions in a fast-paced environment” as the thing he loves most about his work.
Driven to help people through “traumatic times in their lives”, this 32-year-old is doing just that as she carves a name for herself as an expert in handling personal injury and medical negligence claims, particularly those involving victims of motor vehicle accidents.
In addition to studying law and commerce at Adelaide Uni, Brittany Duregon has Masters of Legal Practice from the Australian National University and also spent time on exchange at the University of Oxford.
“From very early on, I knew I wanted to find an area of law where I could use my skills to help people through traumatic times in their lives,” she says.
“Injury law, whether it arises from an accident or from medical negligence, requires an enormous amount of time ... every case is different; my clients have often had their world turned upside down having suffered an injury – it can affect their employment, social and sadly, family life.”
Described as “a natural leader with a calm and thoughtful demeanour”, this 31-year-old has already made his mark in property law in South Australia and aspires to “build a large practice in that space”.
A graduate of both Adelaide Uni and Sydney’s University of Technology, Charlie Parsons says he fell into the area of law he is now so passionate about.
“I still didn’t really know what my preferred area of law was when I finished studying … opportunities led me to property law which in hindsight was very lucky,” the senior associate says, adding the diversity of his work is what he loves most.
“No two days are ever the same … one day I might be working on a multimillion-dollar development or infrastructure matter, and the next helping someone buy their first home.”
He considers fighting for dispossessed landowners who have had their land compulsorily acquired by the government as some of his most rewarding work to date.
“I have helped various clients get better outcomes than they hoped for, including recently for one client over $350,000 in additional compensation from the first offer that they received,” he says.
Ben Smith, 34, has always known he wanted to help people and as a lawyer has specialised in employment and workplace law, including workers compensation, workplace investigations and work health and safety.
“I studied law because I have always wanted to help people … after graduating, I obtained a role as a solicitor (at another reputable Adelaide law firm) in the workers compensation team and moved into the broader employment law area over time,” he says.
“I derive a lot of personal satisfaction out of solving difficult problems in interesting ways and helping people make difficult, but often necessary, decisions.
“I am an extrovert, so I love meeting and getting to know the clients that I work with.”
In the future, the Flinders Uni graduate hopes to expand on assistance available to employers in regional and remote areas.