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About the Committee - National Executive Committee

National Executive Committee Members 2019-2020

Kingsley Liu National President  
Molina Asthana
National Vice-President
Matt Floro
National Secretary
Nai Yan Yeap
National Treasurer
Wai Kaey Soon
NSW Branch President

Marija Yelavich
NSW Branch Secretary
 
Anand ShahQueensland Branch President
Catherine ChiangQueensland Branch Secretary 
Daniel Nguyen
Victoria Branch President

Kerry Truong Victoria Branch Secretary  
Belinda Wong WA Branch President
Stephanie Tan WA Branch Secretary  
John K Arthur Executive Committee Member  
Aruna Colombathantri Executive Committee Member  
Zubair Mian Executive Committee Member  
Sining Wang Executive Committee Member  
Barton Wu
Executive Committee Member  
Tuanh Nguyen
Ex-Officio, Immediate Past President  


Kingsley Liu, National President

He is the managing principal of Peoples Solicitors Pty Ltd, that was founded in 2006 in partnership with late Jeff Shaw QC, former NSW Attorney General & Supreme Court Judge. His firm specializes in litigation across all sectors including human rights. Its business model contains a social enterprise element, and acts for both corporate clients as well as the more disadvantaged.

Kingsley’s former career was in engineering and then trading conglomerates and investment banking in Asia, North America and UK with senior management and directorship positions. When he returned to Australia, he setup and managed ASX’s first Asian stock-broking firm by syndicated purchase. 

Kingsley has been involved as community spokesperson and political figure in areas of racial discrimination, equality and cultural diversity for the past 5 years.  He upholds diversity objectives through public advocacy, professional development, mentoring, fostering of empowerment and bringing career and business opportunities to members. 


Molina Asthana, National Vice-President

Molina is the Principal of Swarup Asthana Lawyers, practicing in commercial law. She was a Principal Solicitor with the Victorian Government Solicitor's Office (VGSO) for over 10 years and had been primarily working on Major Projects for the State of Victoria. She has broad-based commercial and litigation experience and localised expertise in mergers and acquisitions. Her previous experience includes working in Mergers & Acquisitions at Minter Ellison and in Banking & Finance at Clayton Utz. Prior to this, Molina practiced law in India for seven years. She is also a director on the board of three Australian NGOs working on significant community issues.

Molina is on the board of four NGOs working mostly on issues affecting the South Asian Communities in Australia. Molina also speaks on SBS Hindi radio regularly on legal issues of interest to Indians living in Australia and also writes in Indian newspapers on these issues. Further she has contributing to the development of laws in India. She has been consulted on the drafting of the privacy laws in India and has been acknowledged as an expert in the report accompanying the draft Indian Financial Consumer Protection Code, for her assistance in the drafting of the legislation.

She is also the President of the Victorian Chapter of the International Law Association and the Deputy Chair of the International Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria. She received the Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence - Service Delivery for Community Services 2014. She also received the Young Executive of the Year Award Female and the Person of the Year Award which was given to her by Hon. John Howard at the Indian Executive Awards 2013. Molina has profiled in the Top 50 of the Indian community in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013. She is also an AFL Multicultural Ambassador.


Matt Floro, National Secretary

Matt is a Senior Solicitor advising on environmental, planning, climate change and administrative law at the Environmental Defenders Office, Australia's largest public interest environmental community legal centre. He has practised environmental and planning law in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales and has worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, Clayton Utz and Corrs Chambers Westgarth. Passionate about community, he has led Out for Australia Victoria, the Australian Law Students' Association and his university law society. He currently serves as a Board Director of the National Environmental Law Association.

Matt holds undergraduate degrees in Law and Economics and a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Queensland. He also has a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University. He is currently undertaking a Master of Public Administration at Griffith University, a Global Master of Business Administration at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management and a specialist LLM in Environmental, Natural Resources and Energy Law at the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College in Portland USA.  He teaches at various law schools in Sydney.


Nai Yan Yeap, National Treasurer

Nai Yan is passionate about what the Asian Australian Lawyers Association stands for - promoting cultural diversity in the law. For it is not simply about having more Asian and Asian Australian lawyers, as the perception may be. It is about creating a community of support, about pushing the discussion and the hard conversations, about challenging the unconscious bias we all have and the lack of awareness of its existence and effects. It's about role models so young students, lawyers and other professionals have someone to look up to that looks like them, so that they believe that they can be successful in spite of, but also because of, their differences.

Nai Yan's involvement with the AALA began in 2017, when she assisted the then National Treasurer with finance and membership matters, before stepping up as Interim Treasurer in August 2019, and then elected as National Treasurer at the 2019 AGM. Nai Yan was admitted as a lawyer in Victoria in December 2019, and works full-time as a management consultant in Canberra. 


Wai Kaey Soon, NSW Branch President

Wai Kaey Soon is a barrister at Frederick Jordan Chambers. Prior to his admission to the Bar in 2014, Wai Kaey spent 4 years as a litigation solicitor with a particular expertise in insurance and insolvency law and litigation. His practice spans matters in Courts and Tribunals across Australia and he has expertise in commercial, equity, corporations, and intellectual property law.

Wai Kaey believes that the legal profession in Australia has open before it the vast markets and opportunities of the entire Asian region, and wants all practitioners to find and take advantage of those opportunities, at whatever level. Wai Kaey is also a passionate believer in providing support networks for legal practitioners, and ensuring that all practitioners feel welcome and accepted by others in the profession, no matter their background.


Marija Yelavich, NSW Branch Secretary

Marija Yelavich graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Law (Honours) / Bachelor of International Studies (Asian Studies and Mandarin) and a Bachelor of Critical Thinking and Leadership from Western Sydney University. Collaborating with Western Sydney University in research and publishing, Marija's academic work explores the intersection between climate change and aviation. 

Admitted in early 2020, Marija is a Solicitor at Lexia Wilson Lawyers, focusing on commercial real estate. This follows her time at Piper Alderman where she completed her graduate rotation in commercial litigation, property and insolvency.

Marija has now been an AALA Member for four years, active on the NSW State Committee and supporting various National Executive projects. Harnessing her skills and networks as the Founding Chief Editor of the Western Sydney University law student magazine, 'Sapere Aude,' Marija enjoys connecting on a creative and provocative level. As an activist, mentor and community advocate, Marija is passionate in contributing to the growth of the legal profession and broader community. Marija's work and leadership have been recognised by a number of industry awards and she looks forward to expanding the outreach of AALA.


Anand Shah, Queensland Branch President

Anand joined the Bar over 18 years ago (Carbolic Group Chambers) after practising as a solicitor for 11 years.  Anand’s practice areas include commercial litigation, administrative law, succession, defamation, personal injuries and human rights.  He has appeared in the High Court, Queensland Court of Appeal, Federal Court and as trial counsel in all State Courts, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, QCAT and the Queensland Coroners Court.

Anand is a Nationally Accredited Mediator and has acted as a mediator in commercial, professional negligence, succession and personal injuries disputes.  Anand is also an accredited Family Law Property Specialist (Bar Association of Queensland).

Anand has been elected by the Queensland Bar, on many occasions, to serve on its Bar Council (the Bar’s peak executive body).  In 2012 and 2013, Anand chaired the QUT Learning Potential Fund (LPF) committee.  LPF supports socio-economically disadvantaged QUT students and is the largest fund of its type in Australia.  Through LawRight, Anand has undertaken much pro-bono work.  He has mentored students and junior practitioners throughout his career.  He has presented at and designed legal conferences for over 20 years and written for LexisNexis over a similar period.

In his spare time, Anand reads broadly outside the law, listens to the radio and vinyl records, enjoys Australian and international cinema, visits many art galleries and hangs out and travels with his wife (Kris) and their pooch, Jasper. 


Catherine Chiang, Queensland Branch Secretary

Catherine is a barrister at Wilberforce Chambers.  She has a broad commercial and civil practice, with a focus on real property disputes, equity, insolvency and administrative law.   As a native Mandarin-speaker with Chinese and Taiwanese heritage, Catherine also specialises in cross-cultural disputes and cross-jurisdictional matters involving Mandarin-speaking litigants and assets in Asia.

Prior to her call to the Bar, Catherine practised as a solicitor in commercial litigation, building and construction, and property law at national mid-sized and boutique commercial firms.  She has also practised as an employed barrister in the Litigation and Administrative Law team of the Department of Housing and Public Works where she represented the State of Queensland in litigation.

A founding member of the AALA Queensland Branch in 2016, Catherine hopes that AALA can provide the mentoring and networks for early career lawyers and law students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who might otherwise not have extensive contacts in the legal industry.  She also hopes to encourage AALA members to pursue careers at the Bar.


Daniel Nguyen, Victoria Branch President

Daniel Nguyen is the President of the Victorian Branch and a founding committee member of the AALA. He is also a member of the Victorian Bar Council. Daniel has a broad practice in personal injury, commercial and property matters.

He was previously the Class Actions Coordinator at the Supreme Court of Victoria. He worked with the Hon. Jack Forrest QC in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfire proceedings and other judges in a number of class actions.

Daniel began his legal career as Associate to the Hon. Tony Pagone QC, who was then head of the Commercial Court at the Supreme Court. He completed his legal internship at criminal defence firm Galbally Rolfe.

Daniel read with his Honour Coroner Simon McGregor and his senior mentor is Justice Andrew Keogh.

Memberships:

  • Australian Advocacy Institute Advocacy Instructor - he has taught advocacy at the Legal Institute in Papau New Guinea and the Victorian Bar Readers Course.
  • Secretary General - International Commission of Jurists (Vic) (Past)
  • Board Member - Flemington-Kensington CLC (Past)


Kerry Truong, Victoria Branch Secretary

Kerry is a lawyer at McManus & Co and has been with the firm since 2007, initially supporting the practice in all types of matters, most notably in property law/conveyancing and family law.  In 2013, she completed her Juris Doctor (JD) degree.


Kerry practises in property law/conveyancing, family law and commercial/business law.  She particularly enjoys the challenge of resolving complex administrative disputes in which she can apply her research skills and eye for detail. Kerry comes from a family of restaurateurs and uses her understanding of business to ensure no important aspect of a commercial transaction is overlooked.


Belinda Wong, WA Branch President

Belinda Wong is a Senior Associate practising in the areas of construction and major projects disputes in the Perth office. She has had many years' experience acting for multinational and national entities (including major mining, engineering, construction and property development companies) in a range of disputes, including complex international and local arbitrations, large-scale litigation, adjudications under Security for Payment legislation and mediations. In regard to litigation, she has acted in both federal and state jurisdictions including the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Federal Court and the High Court. She has also provided front-end contract and risk advice to multinational clients.


Stephanie Tan, WA Branch Secretary

Stephanie practises predominantly in the areas of corporate/commercial litigation and dispute resolution. She has extensive experience in Federal, Supreme, District and Magistrates Court matters in a range of disputes under the Corporations Act, insolvency, construction, and general contractual and partnership disputes, and including mediations and arbitrations.  Stephanie holds qualifications in Law and Commerce with a double major in Accounting and Corporate Finance from The University of Western Australia.  In addition to the AALA, Stephanie is a member of the Law Society of Western Australia and the Restructuring & Insolvency Network Western Australia. 


John K Arthur, Executive Committee Member

John is a barrister at the Victorian Bar of 30 years standing. An experienced advocate, his principal area of practice is general commercial litigation, including contract, sale of land, property, equity, professional negligence, corporations, insolvency, and succession. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and National Councillor of CIArb (Australia) and an ACICA fellow.  John is on the National Executive Committee of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association (and previously on the Victorian State Committee of AALA).

John is keen to promote cultural, ethnic and gender diversity in the legal profession and in Australian society as a whole, and to strengthen Australia’s engagement with Asia and the region, in business, in the law, culturally and societally and to build a deeper awareness of the region, its people, languages, and cultures.

He has published and presented many papers in Australia and internationally on topics in varied areas of law and practice, including contract, equity, practice and procedure, ADR and international arbitration. He is a co-author of Lexis publication, Civil Procedure Victoria, Lexis Nexis and Australian Uniform Evidence. He also contributes to other publications.  John is also member of the IBA, the Law Institute of Victoria, Asialink’s Chairman's Club and Legal Friends of Melbourne Recital Centre.


Aruna Colombathantri, Executive Committee Member

Aruna is Managing Partner, Australian Public Accountants.  He is a CPA/ IPA Accountant and a Lawyer in Australia having overseas experience as a Chartered Accountant and a Lawyer. Due to his multidisciplinary background, he understands accounting and legal dynamics very well and is able to apply his own experience to identify the best solutions for Lawyers. 

Aruna has previously worked as an Investigator at the Law Institute of Victoria together with the Legal Services Board + Commissioner for over nine years. During this period,  he has investigated over 600 law practices throughout Victoria, ranging from small practitioners to top tier law firms. Aruna has worked at KPMG and  Ernst & Young overseas.

He is a passionate and accomplished Accountant as well as a Lawyer, with a strong reputation for delivering personalised, practical solutions for Lawyers.  Aruna is highly regarded for his hands-on approach and his willingness to provide independent advice on trust account compliance issues to Lawyers. Aruna possesses extensive experience in providing advice on trust account compliance, investigations and trust account audits.


Zubair Mian, Executive Committee Member

Admitted in 1986 after graduating from Melbourne University in 1985, Zubair Mian is the Principal and owner of Mian Phillips & Co, a boutique suburban practice established in 1988, currently in Surrey Hills and practicing in commercial litigation, Property, Wills, Probate and estate Planning. Zubair is the President of the Eastern Suburbs Law Association (ESLA) which represents solicitors working or living East of Melbourne CBD. The northern boundaries are the Eastern Freeway, Thompson's Road, Warrandyte Road and Kangaroo Ground – St Andrews Road. It has over (1700) one thousand seven hundred members. 

Zubair previously served on the ESLA committee for a number of years as committee member, assistant treasurer and Vice President. Zubair is registered mentor with the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) and AALA mentoring programs and has been informally mentoring young lawyers in private practice since 1995. Zubair is a Councillor and Board member of Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) having been re-elected in 2015 for a further term of three (3) years, commencing 1 January 2016.


Sining Wang, Executive Committee Member

Sining Wang is a solicitor with Hall & Wilcox, practising primarily in commercial litigation and commercial dispute resolution. Sining handles a broad range of litigious matters including insolvency matters, shareholder disputes, employment disputes, and general commercial disputes.

Sining is one of the youngest people to have been admitted to practice law in Victoria, having commenced his law degree at the University of Melbourne at the age of fifteen. Sining speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.


Barton Wu, Executive Committee Member

Barton is a Legal Counsel at the Country Fire Authority (CFA) focused on delivering a wide range of procurement projects, and advising on general commercial and governance matters.

Previously, Barton was an in-house Corporate Lawyer at the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) and, before that, a Policy Lawyer in its Public Affairs and Legal Policy team..  


Tuanh Nguyen, Immediate Past President

Tuanh is immediate past president of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association. Tuanh is also a Director in PwC Legal's Melbourne office. She specialises in advising Australian and international clients on initial and secondary equity capital raisings (acting as counsel for issuers and underwriters/lead managers), ASX listings, securities regulation (including ASX listing rule and corporate governance matters).

She also has over a decade of experience advising and assisting Australian and off-shore clients on private and public mergers and acquisitions, including public company takeovers, schemes and defences, private equity transactions, joint ventures and corporate restructuring.

Copyright 2015 Asian Australian Lawyers Association Inc.

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