UNSW Law made it three wins in a row for Academic of the Year at the annual Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards with Associate Professor Justine Nolan receiving the award at a gala in Sydney on Friday night. Associate Professor Nolan joins the list of most recent UNSW winners, which includes Professor Michael Legg and Professor Rosalind Dixon who took home the same prize in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Now in its 19th year, the Australian Law Awards celebrate the year’s best work across 30 categories including outstanding programs from in-house, corporate, innovation and education areas. UNSW Law is a partner for the Awards.  

The Academic of the Year Award “recognises the academic who is most effectively shaping legal undergraduate and JD students, instilling a passion for the law, professional excellence and expertise.”

“This award is an acknowledgement of the team approach we have to teaching in the faculty, and the amazing colleagues and students we have,” said Associate Professor Nolan, who joined the UNSW Law faculty in 2004. “It is also validation of the importance of teaching, in particular, to what universities do.”

Associate Professor Nolan’s research focuses on the intersection of business and human rights, particularly, corporate responsibility for human rights and modern slavery. Her book, co-authored with Martjin Boersma from UTS, Addressing Modern Slavery examines how consumers, business and government are both part of the problem and the solution in curbing modern slavery in global supply chains.

The 2018 recipient of the UNSW Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, Associate Professor Nolan has pioneered new technologies in the classroom and introduced one of the faculty’s most popular courses, a special overseas human rights elective taught in New York.

She has worked in both public interest and private legal practices. She has held various expert advisory roles including as a member of the Australian Government's Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group on Business and Human Rights (2017) and an adviser to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade & Ausaid's Human Rights Grants Scheme Expert Panel (2009-2013) which provided practical financial support for small community-based projects to promote and protect human rights in developing countries.

Associate Professor Nolan was an advisory member of NSW Legal Aid's Human Rights Panel from 2012-2017 and has given guest lectures at a number of universities including Yale, NYU, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Columbia and the University of Hong Kong. From 2005-2017, Nolan was the Deputy Director of the Australian Human Rights Centre and is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the Business and Human Rights Journal.

UNSW Law Dean Professor George Williams said the award is recognition of Associate Professor Nolan’s dedication to teaching and the UNSW Law community.

“This is a richly deserved acknowledgement of Justine’s influence and impact in her 15 years of teaching at UNSW,” said Williams. “Her expertise in the areas of business and human rights are recognised around the globe. Her contributions to the sector through thought leadership, research and enquiry have continued to improve learning and teaching for the benefit of today’s students.

“Her courses are life changing for many of our students, and indeed years later they still say to me that a course taken with her helped set them on their career path,” continued Williams.

UNSW Law alumni were also successful at the awards event held Friday 9 August at the Star in Sydney. Tomoyuki Hachigo, who graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of Arts/Law in 2013 is co-founder of the online law firm, Sprintlaw. The legal startup, which aims to provide quality legal services faster, simpler and more affordable for small business owners and entrepreneurs, took out the award for Innovator of the Year.

The following alumni and current students were also nominated:

Academic of the Year: Mark Humphery-Jenner, UNSW Business

Dealmaker of the Year: Rachael Bassil, Gibert + Tobin Adam D’Andreti, Gibert + Tobin Garry Winter, WRP Legal & Advisory

Managing Partner of the Year: Andrew Lacey, McCabe Curwood Andrew Pike, Herbert Smith Freehills

Partner of the Year: Rachael Bassil, Gilbert + Tobin Michelle Segaert, EY

Regional/Suburban Lawyer of the Year Michael Hung, ClearSky Legal Marial Lewis, Teleo Lawyers Susan Moran, SWS Lawyers

Rising Star of the Year: Gabriella Arvanitis, The Norton Law Group Marial Lewis, Teleo Lawyers Amy Zhang, Harmers Workplace Lawyers

Senior Associate of the Year: Paula Nassif, King & Wood Mallesons Amy Zhang, Harmers Workplace Lawyers

Sole Practitioner of the Year: Katherine Hawes, Digital Age Lawyers Michael Hung, ClearSky Legal

Law Student of the Year: Nikita Harlalka Sachin Kinger

A full list of winners for the Australian Law Awards is available at Lawyers Weekly.

Larissa Mavros