Young Lawyers

Young Lawyers Committee

2016/17 Annual Report

The Young Lawyers Committee assists the Law Society in coordinating a significant number of events and initiatives including:

  • social events to promote collegiality such as the Welcome to the Profession breakfast, inter-firm sporting events (volleyball and netball) and Golden Gavel;
  • the Practical Advocacy Weekend, which includes a preparatory seminar as well as a weekend of coaching sessions by judges and other senior members of the profession;
  • raising awareness about social justice issues through panel events, including the Law Week panel discussion (on the topic of access to justice for refugees and asylum seekers in 2016/2017) and the Social Justice Opportunities Evening;
  • mental health and wellbeing initiatives including a Geoffrey Robertson QC-style mental health hypothetical panel discussion;
  • small firm networking evenings; and
  • the Law Student Mentoring Programme.

The 2017 Law Student Mentoring Programme expanded to include law students from Curtin University and the University of Western Australia, in addition to the University of Notre Dame Australia and Edith Cowan University, who were involved in previous years. This increased participation in the Programme to 50 students, compared to 25 in 2015/16.

In recognition of the changing legal landscape, the Committee increased its focus on giving young and emerging lawyers the opportunity to build their professional networks with young professional bodies from other industries, including accounting, consulting and engineering. The Law Society hosted two Inter Profession Networking events, both of which gave young professionals the opportunity to develop ‘soft’ skills and network with professionals from other industries. The first seminar was on business etiquette and corporate interpersonal communication and the second seminar was the panel discussion ‘Jump on Board’, on how young professionals can position themselves for board roles in not-for-profit, governmental and corporate organisations.

The Committee further considered the Law Council of Australia’s Australian Young Lawyers Committee 2013 Position Paper on Workplace Standards and submitted the Committee’s proposed amendments to the Position Paper for the Law Society’s Council to submit to the Law Council of Australia, with a view to obtaining endorsement of the Workplace Standards at a national level. The proposed amendments are currently being considered for endorsement by the Law Council of Australia’s constituent bodies.

For more information about this committee please email

Role of the Young Lawyers Committee

The Young Lawyers Committee works to deliver key support for new members of the profession, including:

  • Networking and collegiality opportunities through social and sporting events
  • Career support with a job register for graduates, mentoring scheme, specific CPD events, LawCare WA, Vacation Clerk Recruitment Dates
  • Keep informed with newsletters, Facebook, LinkedIn
  • Representation of Young Lawyers: your issues and concerns discussed at a state and national level

Please see our Young Lawyers legal circles page for more information, or read the YLC Strategic Plan 2015-18 for more information.


YLC Law Student Mentoring Programme

The YLC Law Student Mentoring Programme pairs emerging practitioners with current law students to provide guidance and support to the transition from student to law graduate and then to lawyer.

Applications to participate as a mentor are now open.

The programme will formally commence with a launch event on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 and run through November.

If you would like to learn more about the programme, please email

Advice for Students

Watch our video of our members sharing their insights and stories into the different areas of law and their advice on navigating life at university.

The Law Guide 2017-18 is published by GradAustralia in partnership with the Law Society of New South Wales. The guide is the first of its kind and is a comprehensive look at the different options people have with a law degree in Australia– including delving into the separate practice areas in private practice and into the other areas of law including criminal law, academia, family law, public policy, human rights and much more.


The Young Lawyers Committee, in conjunction with the Law Society, hosts a wide array of events throughout the year.

Focus Areas

The Young Lawyers Committee has a number of focus areas, which organise many of its initiatives. Each focus area is chaired by a member of the Committee.

Social & Sport – Co-Chairs Brooke Sojan and Alison Cooper

The group focuses on bringing events to young lawyers that encourage networking and socialising across the profession.

We ensure the young lawyers that work within small firms have the opportunity to participate in group social and sporting events. These activities also encourage young lawyers to build networks and friendships in order to work towards better mental health and a sense of belonging.

Education & Careers – Chair Alex Noonan

The group contributes to the development and co-ordination of the YLC Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.

Human Rights & Social Justice – Chair Nicola Ashford

This group raises awareness and instigates debate about important human rights and social justice issues relevant to the profession. Its work demonstrates to young lawyers why engaging in human rights and social justice issues is valuable to the profession.

Mental Health & Wellbeing – Chair Alyce Lynch

Join the Committee

Membership of the Young Lawyers Committee is limited to members of the Law Society. To express an interest in joining the Committee, please contact the Committee Secretary on (08) 9324 8600 or email

Committee Members

The Young Lawyers Committee is composed of 15 members, appointed by the Law Society. The Committee also includes representatives of the Law Society’s Council and is represented on the Australian Young Lawyers Committee of the Law Council of Australia. The current Young Lawyer Committee members are:

Sarah O'Brien-Smith

Sarah O’Brien-Smith
Hunt & Humphry

Alexander Noonan

Alexander Noonan
Deputy Convenor
Macdonald Rudder


Nicola Ashford
Deputy Convenor
Kim Wilson & Co


Alyce Lynch
Deputy Convenor
Federal Court of Australia

Jack Carroll
Park Legal Solutions


Alison Cooper
Murcia Pestell Hillard


Nic Coveney
Paterson & Dowding

Catherine Graville

Cathy Graville
King & Wood Mallesons

James Marzec

James Marzec
Wilson & Atkinson

Marc McCaughey

Sarah Ozanne

Sarah Ozanne
Butcher Paull & Calder

Fiona Poh
Tottle Partners

Hague Skinner
Bennett + Co

Brooke Sojan

Brooke Sojan
Legal Aid

Michelle Taylor

Michelle Taylor
Solomon Brothers