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  • 12 Jul 2021 8:04 AM | Anonymous


    The AALA is pleased to announce Ms Katrina Rathie as our new NSW Patron. 

    Ms Rathie is an Australian with a Chinese cultural background, her family originating from Guangzhou Province in Southern China.  Katrina brings to this role distinguished service to the Australian legal profession, extensive cross-border leadership and cultural skills honed through an esteemed 36-year career spanning Australia, Asia and the USA. She was admitted to practice in NSW in 1985, the High Court in 1986 and appointed as an Attorney & Counsellor of the New York Bar in 1988. 

    Katrina is a pre-eminent lawyer, well-known business leader and non-executive director who is proud to be a role model and champion for Asian Australians. She was named the overall winner in the prestigious Board & Management category in the 2019 AFR 100 Women of Influence list, recognised for her outstanding contributions to leadership in the law, advancement of gender and cultural diversity across Australia and Asia.

    Katrina was Partner in Charge, Sydney at top tier global elite law firm King & Wood Mallesons from 2014 – March 2021, where she was the first Asian Australian to lead the Sydney office.  She was involved in the implementation of the historic combination between China’s King & Wood and Australia’s Mallesons Stephen Jaques in 2012 and for almost a decade worked closely with her colleagues across 12 cities in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo to help build an international Asian powerhouse law firm with more than 2,700 lawyers in 29 locations across the world.

    Katrina was the first Australian with a Chinese cultural background to be employed by Stephen Jaques in 1985 and the first Asian Australian equity partner appointed at Mallesons Stephen Jaques in 1994, a role she held for 26 years.  She recently retired as the most senior female partner at the firm after a distinguished career where she practised as a solicitor in the fields of advertising, marketing, media, intellectual property and Australian Consumer Law litigation winning many high-profile cases for her blue chip ASX listed and Fortune 500 clients.  In June 2021, Katrina’s significant contribution to the legal profession was recognised in the Commonwealth House of Representatives, Parliament House and recorded in Hansard.

    Katrina was named NSW Woman Private Practice Lawyer of the Year by the Women Lawyers’ Association of NSW (2017), Intellectual Property Partner of the Year by Lawyers Weekly (2019) and is ranked as a leading lawyer by Chambers Asia Pacific 2021 in seven categories.  She has been named in the IP Hall of Fame and IP Stars 2021 recognising her renowned expertise in brands, trademarks and copyright law.

    Katrina is passionate about diversity, inclusion and belonging: she has been a trailblazer who has led the way by shattering the glass and bamboo ceilings.  As a former member of the Law Society of NSW’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Managing Partner’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, she worked with the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Race Discrimination Commissioners and was involved in arranging for several of Australia’s leading law firms to sign a Cultural Diversity Pledge

    in 2017 to measure the level of cultural diversity in law firms and embed policies to track and advance cultural diversity in the profession. Katrina has been an active member of AALA since it was founded and is pleased to continue as a member of the Data and Policy Sub-Committee.

    Katrina has spoken extensively about the desirability of greater gender and cultural diversity in the professions, business and ASX boards; and the need to curb racism in our communities.  Katrina is one of the judges of the 40 under 40 Most Influential Asian Australia Awards, the winners of which will be announced at the Asian Australian Leadership Summit in September 2021.   

    She has a long history in philanthropy helping found the multi-award winning KWM in the Community Program, which comprises pro-bono, workplace giving and volunteering.  She is a Non-Executive Director of Starlight Children's Foundation Australia and NSW Rugby Union/Waratah’s Rugby. She is Chair of the Cranbrook Foundation and Vice President of Cranbrook School where she has championed the importance of a well-rounded education.  She is an Alumni Leader of UNSW Business School, serves on UNSW’s Law Advisory Council, the Culture Strategy Committee of Sydney University and the Advisory Board of Media Diversity Australia, which has a mission to champion cultural diversity in Australian journalism and news media.

    Katrina is a Member of Chief Executive Women and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  She holds a Commerce (Accounting & Financial Management)/Law degree from UNSW Sydney. She is the mother of three boys – her eldest, Jack Rathie has followed in her footsteps, studied law at UNSW Sydney and is a Solicitor/Innovation Manager at King & Wood Mallesons.

    Katrina is excited to be named as NSW Patron of AALA and looks forward to continuing to advocate for greater diversity and inclusion in business, boards and throughout the legal profession.  Her wisdom and lived experience will be valued by AALA members.

    AALA is delighted to have her join us as NSW Patron.

    Download this Press Release here.







  • 01 Jul 2021 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    The AALA is very pleased to announce that Professor the Hon. Gareth Evans AC QC is our new Victorian Patron. Professor Evans brings to this role not only esteemed service to the Australian legal profession and Asia‐Australia international relations, but passionate commitment to the cause of greater Asian‐Australian representation in leadership positions in both the public and private sectors.

    Professor Evans is Distinguished Honorary Professor at the Australian National University, where he was Chancellor from 2010 to 2019, and President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group, the Brussels‐based independent global conflict prevention and resolution organisation which he led as President and CEO from 2000 to 2009. 

    During his 21 yearsin Australian politics, from 1978 to 1999, he was a Cabinet Minister in the Hawke and Keating Labor Governments in the posts of Attorney General, Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Transport and Communications and Foreign Minister, and both Leader of the Government in the Senate and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives.

    He has written or edited thirteen books and published around 150 journal articles, chapters, and reports, and many more opinion articles, on foreign relations, human rights and legal and constitutional reform; has honorary doctorates from Melbourne, Sydney, Carleton and Queen’s Universities; and has lectured at many universities around the world.

    He has co‐chaired two major International Commissions, on Intervention and State Sovereignty, and Nuclear Non‐Proliferation and Disarmament, and has been a member of a number of others. He currently chairs the International Advisory Board of the New‐York based Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, the Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non‐Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN) and the Advisory Board of the ANU Centre for Asian‐Australian Leadership.

    Gareth Evans was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2012 for his "eminent service to international relations, particularly in the Asia‐Pacific region, as an adviser to governments on global policy matters, to conflict prevention and resolution, and to arms control and disarmament", and in the same year was elected an honorary Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia (FASSA). In 2016 he was awarded by the Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop Asialink Medal "for long‐term commitment to improving Australia‐Asia relations". In December 2015 he was made a Companion of the Order of O.R. Tambo by South African for his contributionsto the anti‐apartheid movement. Foreign Policy magazine cited him as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers for 2011 "for making 'the responsibility to protect' more than academic". In 2010 he was awarded the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Four Freedoms Award for Freedom from Fear, for his pioneering work on the Responsibility to Protect concept and his contributions to conflict prevention and resolution, arms control and disarmament.

    Professor Evans’s credentials and abilities will significantly assist AALA in promoting cultural diversity through advocating for greater Asian‐Australian representation in the senior echelons of the Australian legal profession and AALA is delighted to have his support.

    AALA Press Release - 1 July 2021.pdf

  • 14 Jun 2021 6:57 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)




    THURSDAY 24 JUNE 2021 at 6:00 - 7:00 PM (ARRIVE BY 5:45PM) to be held at



    Nathan is an AALA member and the founder of Black Box Accounting. Before starting his own firm he spent 12 years at a national accounting practice, including as head of its South Australian office. Nathan’s areas of expertise include personal and corporate insolvency and forensic accounting (e.g. litigation support). In addition to being a Registered Liquidator, he is an admitted legal practitioner and is a Certified Fraud Examiner. Nathan is a member of the Australian Reconstruction Insolvency and Turnaround Association’s technical working group as well as the Divisional Advisory Committee of the Institute of Public Accountants.

    For any questions, email the SA Branch: SA@AALA.COM.AU

    SA AALA - Insolvency - An Insider's Guide.pdf

  • 23 May 2021 10:07 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    The SA Branch officially launched the 2021 AALA Mentoring Program on 29 April 2021. As a newly established branch, this was also the launch for the SA Branch's first mentoring program.

    The level of participation was fantastic. Almost 30 mentees and almost 20 mentors participated in the program. The breadth of experience and diversity of practice areas amongst the mentors and mentees has been fantastic - from final year law students to QCs with almost 40 years' experience.

    The launch event was a great opportunity for mentees to meet their mentors over some drinks and grazing platters in the relaxed ambience of The Sparkke at Whitmore.

    Former SA District Court Judge, His Honour Steven Millsteed QC was a guest speaker to officially launch the SA mentoring program (and is also a mentor!). He spoke about the importance of mentoring in the legal profession, noting how it has traditionally been each practitioner's duty to his or her fellow colleague, and hopes that this continues.

    We hope with the SA Branch's launch of the 2021 AALA mentoring program, that this important tradition of mentorship within the legal profession continues.

  • 14 May 2021 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    The National Mentoring Program

    On Wednesday 5 May, the Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth branches of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association simultaneously launched the 2021 National Mentoring Program. The Adelaide and ACT branches hosted their launch events earlier on 30 April 2021. 

    The National Mentoring Program is an annual Program, coordinated by the National Executive Team and works with each State Branch and local firms to run the state-based program. This year's National Executive Convenors were Jessica Teoh and Brian Vuong, State President and State Secretary of the South Australian Branch. The Program connects those within the same state and encourages relationship building between all participants and the wider legal profession, fostering a creative and meaningful connection with AALA.

    The energy at each launch was positive and each branch thanks their local sponsor and all attendees. 

    The Sydney Launch

    Particular thanks goes to Herbert Smith Freehills, Sydney, for their unwavering support of the Sydney Committee and the Mentoring Program. Each year AALA is thankful for the support we receive from Herbert Smith Freehills. The level of commitment demonstrated by your practitioners and Diversity and Inclusion team always shows a proven and genuine commitment to supporting cultural diversity in the legal profession. We particularly thank Madeleine Motion and Sunny Li, and Christine Tran who coordinated and opened the Sydney Launch on behalf of Herbert Smith Freehills.

    The Sydney Launch was conducted to current COVID-restrictions and accordingly, we welcomed 50 of our Mentor and Mentees. Our guests heard from Christine Tran and the NSW President, Marija Gurlica.

    Some words shared by Marija Gurlica:

    "...The Asian Australian Lawyers Association brings people together who share a story about coming to and growing up in Australia, whether you are foreign qualified and have recently moved as an adult, or like me, you are a second/third generation Australian who has found your way somehow. As much as we can discuss our experiences as impediments or as intergenerational baggage, our experiences, our skills, our wisdom is a privilege and this is what I want everyone to take home with them tonight.

     Your bilingual, trilingual tongue is the privilege to communicate through communities. Your front door syndrome experienced as a child is your ability to adapt and thrive. Your in-depth, cultural understanding of your heritage and your history, has armed you with a level of compassion and empathy that cannot be taught in a class room.

    The greater diversity we can welcome and most importantly, retain in the legal profession today means we will have universities, workplaces, judiciaries and legislatures that reflect the community they serve.

    An old line, but a good line is this: you cannot be, what you cannot see. The legal profession is undergoing a shift, albeit slow, we are progressing and the progress cannot continue unless we have an internal shift towards embracing all that we are and all who we serve...

    AALA believes that this Mentoring Program is one small way we can contribute to this internal shift, connecting like-minded professionals to pass on wisdom, provide support and most importantly share stories."

    Special thanks to all the Committee Members for their commitment to the Program, particularly Stefanie Cheong, Vijhai Utheyan, Maria Xu, William Zhou, Gillian Woon and Wai Kaey Soon

  • 10 May 2021 3:07 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    AALA, the Asian Law Centre and the Melbourne China Law Society at the University of Melbourne - ‘Law in Asia – A Comparative Approach’

    The AALA is proud to be collaborating with the Asian Law Centre and the Melbourne China Law Society at the University of Melbourne to present ‘Law in Asia – A Comparative Approach’ – a panel discussion featuring Dr Hop Dang and Professor Andrew Godwin of the University of Melbourne and Stephanie Cameron, a Senior Associate at Ashurst,

    The panel will compare and contrast laws and ways of doing business in Australia and other Asian jurisdictions, providing students with an opportunity to learn about cultures and practices of those markets, which are becoming increasingly important to and interconnected with the Australian legal market.

    This event will be conducted us via Zoom at 6:30 pm on Thursday 13 May 2021. The dial-in details are as follows:

    Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android

    Password: 5iEpu3

    Or join by phone:

    Dial (Australia): +61 3 7018 2005 or +61 2 8015 6011

    Dial (US): +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 876 9923

    Dial (Hong Kong, China): +852 5808 6088 or +852 5803 3730

    Dial (UK): +44 203 481 5240 or +44 131 460 1196

    Meeting ID: 827 876 9174

    International numbers available 

    Or join from a H.323/SIP room system:


    or SIP:8278769174@zmau.us


    Meeting ID: 8278769174

    Password: 478517

    If you have any queries, please email us at vic@aala.org.au

    We look forward to seeing you at the event.

    Kind regards,

    Asian Australian Lawyers Association

  • 25 Apr 2021 4:17 AM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    AALA Anzac Day Reflection - 25 April, 2021

    The ANZAC spirit is a diverse and inclusive one. Observed annually on 25 April, Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces (in Gallipoli) during World War I. It now commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations”.

    World War I, coming shortly after Federation, helped to forge Australia’s sense of national identity as a new nation, which came to be defined by courage and mateship and to be seen as the land of the ‘fair go’. People of all races banded together wearing the same uniform, fighting side by side at the front lines and behind enemy lines to protect the place they called home.

    Despite the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 and the Commonwealth Defence Act 1909, two pieces of Commonwealth legislation that sought to protect Australia's European heritage, there was considerable diversity amongst the diggers, including Chinese, Russians, Greeks, Romanians, Finns, Brazilians, Filipinos and Indians. Further, 1,000 Indigenous Australians served in World War I and around 70 fought at Gallipoli.

    It should be acknowledged that Asian Australians played an important part in the ANZAC story and were awarded five Distinguished Conduct Medals (DCM), fourteen Military Medals (MM), two Belgian Croix de Guerre and three Mentions in Dispatches. In proportion to their numbers, this represents a much higher ratio of gallantry awards per head than the rest of the Australian Imperial Force.

    There are many stories of distinction; five of which are below.

    • Caleb James Shang was the most decorated Australian of Chinese descent in World War I. Born in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, he was first awarded the DCM for bravery and then a Bar to his DCM (in effect, a second DCM) as well as the MM. He was cited for ‘conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on numerous occasions’;
    • William “Billy” Sing, born in Clermont, Queensland, was awarded the DCM for his actions as a sniper at Gallipoli, Mentioned in Dispatches for gallantry and awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre;
    • Corporal William Loo Long was born in Marsden, New South Wales. He was first awarded the MM with the recommendation for the award stating that he ‘has always shown considerable dash and courage’ and, later on, a Bar to his MM (in effect, a second MM);• Sergeant Leslie Kew-Ming, born in St Arnaud, Victoria, served in Belgium, was wounded in action and awarded the MM. He later volunteered to serve for Australia during World War II by becoming a machine-gun instructor;
    • Leslie Oliver Langtip (originally, “Lang Tip”), born in Tarraville, Victoria, served with three of his brothers in World War I. He was awarded the DCM for bravery, with the citation for his award reading: ‘… this non-commissioned officer gave valuable assistance in the capture of a field gun, and showed great initiative and courage.

    We remember in times of peace that our cultural diversity has become a significant element within Australian community. We are proud to remember the long-standing contribution that Asian Australians have made in every area of Australian life, including during times of war, conflict and peacekeeping operations.

    Asian Australian Lawyers Association

  • 21 Apr 2021 3:46 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)


    We are delighted to announce that we are now recruiting for the following volunteer position(s):

    AALA National Finance Officer - Download Position Description

    If you are interested in applying, please submit a CV and 1-page cover letter addressing your suitability in line with the position description to treasurer@aala.org.au by 6pm AWST Sunday 9 May 2021.

    We look forward to receiving your application!


    The AALA Members’ Blackboard is an interactive online discussion forum where members can post anything they would like to share with other members, such as:

    Job advertisements

    Expressions of interest for career opportunities

    Expressions of interest to assist with any particular areas of legal work

    Expressions of interest to collaborate with other practitioners

    Legal industry news

    Health and wellbeing issues

    Cultural diversity issues

    The AALA Members’ Blackboard can be accessed via the following link:


  • 07 Apr 2021 9:11 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    AALA is very pleased to announce that the Hon Diana Bryant AO QC is our new National Patron. Ms Bryant brings to this role an esteemed service to the Australian judiciary and Australian public life.

    From 2000 to 2004, Ms Bryant was the inaugural Chief Federal Magistrate of Australia, the head of the Federal Magistrates’ Court. From 2004 to 2017, she then served as the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, while also acting as Patron of the Women Lawyers Association from 2009 until her retirement as Chief Justice. She has supported and contributed to the development of family law systems in Singapore and Indonesia. She is the current President of the Graduate Union of the University of Melbourne. In 2012, she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for “distinguished service to the judiciary and to the law, particularly to family law policy reform and practice, through the establishment of the Federal Magistrates Court, and to the advancement of women in the legal profession”.

    Diana Bryant’s credentials and abilities will significantly assist AALA as it continues to broaden its benefits to members, build its legal policy and advocacy capabilities and contribute to advancing cultural diversity in the law.

    We are also very pleased to announce that the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, who served as AALA’s National Patron from 2013 to 2021, is now our Emeritus Patron. Michael Kirby is an international jurist, educator and former judge. He was a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1996 to 2009.

    Mr Kirby’s presence at many of our formal events and member gatherings, and as our inaugural National Patron has inspired and energised our activities since AALA was founded in Victoria in 2013. AALA now has seven State and Territory Branches across Australia and plans to open a branch in the Northern Territory in 2021. Mr Kirby will continue to support AALA in his capacity of Emeritus Patron.

    AALA is delighted to have both the powerful presence of Diana Bryant and continuing support of Michael Kirby. Their joint wisdom and experience will be invaluable for AALA.

    AALA Press release 7 April, 2021

  • 07 Apr 2021 8:37 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    Inaugural AALA ACT Branch Networking Breakfast event

    On Friday, 26 March 2021, the ACT Branch held its inaugural Networking Breakfast event at East Row Speciality Coffee, Canberra. The cold Canberra morning soon turned warm as friendly faces, acquaintances, and peers were greeted by our hosts with a smile and a hot cup of coffee. Before we knew it, more than 30 people had come through the doors and the once quiet cafe was not so quiet anymore.

    Discussions ranged around everyone's work day ahead, the problems facing the legal sector and the importance of diversity in the legal profession. The event was attended by lawyers, members of parliament, and political leaders. As discussions grew, so did everyone's networks. Our President, Veer Dhaliwal took a moment to thank everyone who attended and contributed to what can be best described as a great event and a great turnout. The need for having a community such as this in the ACT was clearly demonstrated by the attendees and as the AALA ACT Branch continues to grow, we endeavor to host more events such as this which will stand for the ideals of diversity. (Author: Andrew Chakrabarty, ACT publicity officer)





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