Women Lawyers Association ACT hosts inaugural awards night
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Women Lawyers Association ACT hosts inaugural awards night

The ACT's inaugural Woman Lawyer of the Year is Nooraini Blumer, who finished school at 16, had her first child a year later and then studied law by distance education from the NSW town of Griffith.

When choosing Ms Blumer, from Blumers Lawyers, for the top award, presented at a gala dinner on Thursday night, the selection committee cited her "tireless" advocacy for the interests of women lawyers everywhere.

Nooraini Blumer, the ACT's first Woman Lawyer of the Year.

Nooraini Blumer, the ACT's first Woman Lawyer of the Year.Credit:Elesa Kurtz

"Noor reflects the law as a profession in the truest sense of the word and demonstrates the spirit of public service in everything she does," the committee said. "She is a leader and inspiration to her peers and to the women lawyers who come after her."

The inaugural ACT Women Lawyers Awards were launched this year by the Women Lawyers Association ACT, in the name of promoting local women's achievements.

Sarah Avery, from Ken Cush & Associates, and who is the youngest lawyer to be president of the ACT Law Society, was recognised in the private practice category for her dedication to going above and beyond to benefit others in the profession.

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Refugee Liz Huang Hughes-Brown, who started her own practice Welcome Legal, a firm that specialises in immigration and anti-discrimination law, took out the cultural category, and Margie Rowe, one of the founders of the Women's Legal Centre ACT, won in the community and academic category.

Helen Curtis won the government category, the committee acknowledging: "In a town full of government lawyers, it can be difficult to stand out. Helen has done so."

Legal Aid ACT's Angela Lauman and Clayton Utz's Lauren Haywood were the ACT's early career women lawyers of the year.

Women Lawyers Association ACT president Prue Bindon said the awards were about helping women build their profiles and to be acknowledged for their achievements.

She said women generally don't tend to ask for pay rises or promote their work, and instead "they kind of beaver away, and do all these amazing things and don't seek the accolades for it."

"WLA ACT also hopes that the awards will build upon our commitment to encourage women lawyers to network with each other and to establish a supportive network across the profession which extends beyond their own organisations," she said.

The judging committee was made up of ACT Supreme Court judge Hilary Penfold, ACT Human Rights Commissioner Helen Watchirs OAM, Petra Gartmann, an assistant secretary in the Attorney-General's Department and Michael Miller, director at MLC Advice.

The awards were presented at a gala dinner at Old Parliament House on Thursday night, hosted by political journalist and commentator Annabel Crabb.

Full list of winners

Firm of the Year: Clayton Utz and DDCS Lawyers (Joint Winners)

Woman Lawyer of the Year - Nooraini Blumer (Blumers Personal Injury Lawyers)

Woman Lawyer of the Year - Private: Sarah Avery (Ken Cush & Associates)

Woman Lawyer of the Year – Culturally & Linguistically Diverse or Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander: Liz Huang Hughes-Brown (Welcome Legal)

Woman Lawyer of the Year – Government: Helen Curtis (Australian Government Solicitor)

Woman Lawyer of the Year – Community and Academic: Margie Rowe (ANU College of Law)

Woman Lawyer of the Year – Early Career: Angela Lauman (Legal Aid ACT) and Lauren Haywood (Clayton Utz) (Joint Winners)

Alexandra Back is a reporter with The Canberra Times