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Continuing its annual tradition, the 2024 Golden Gavel was held at the Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. More than 300 solicitors and spectators packed the Grand Ballroom to watch five talented lawyers take the stage to entertain the audience with their legal knowledge and humour.

The event was hosted by the 2023 National Golden Gavel winner Nicholas Garbas, who warmed up the crowd with his humorous banter.

The first finalist to grab the mic was Chanchal Kaur from Hicksons, who provided her lawyerly take on “Who nicked my lunch and other important issues bringing top tier firms to their knees”. Kaur shared her advice on what to do when someone steals your lunch at work. One of the options offered was to issue a letter of demand with a schedule of damages listing each of the ingredients as a head of damage.

Kaur was followed by Jonathan Mo from Gilbert + Tobin who provided his unique perspective on how you can transition “From couch potato to courtroom hero: How binge watching legal dramas prepares you for law school success.” Self-described as more of a “How I met your mother” kind of guy, Mo dug deep into the vault to recount his own law school experience, despite burying his “unremarkable academic transcript” behind layers of encryption and suppressing all memories of the experience. The audience, consisting mostly of solicitors, sympathised with Mo’s experience as an “office chair potato”, whose main role is to generate timesheets and shareholder value.

Alana Rafter from Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors, who is a previous runner-up in Golden Gavel, explained the three-tier hierarchy that exists when it comes to drinking coffee in her funny response to “The barista to barrister pipeline: How coffee culture prepared me for the legal grind.” Rafter pointed out that getting your coffee from a café reaches “God-tier” in the coffee hierarchy and it’s always obtained from a café at least a block away. Even though this may impact on your billable hours for the day, as any coffee drinking solicitor will tell you, it’s worth it.

Samuel Chu, a solicitor working in the Carroll & O’Dea charities and not-for-profit team, entertained the audience with his take on “Lawyerly love: Because nothing says romance like a prenup agreement.”

Winner of the 2020 Golden Gavel People’s Choice Award Sophia Urlich was the last finalist. Urlich used her legal skills to convincingly argue the (in)appropriateness of budgie smugglers beyond the beach in her response to the question “Illegal briefs & budgie smugglers: How far from the beach is too far”?

2024 President of the NSW Young Lawyers, Taylah Spirovski, 2024 Senior Vice President of the Law Society of NSW, Jennifer Ball, and partner at Sparke Helmore, Bill Kritharas were judges at the event.

It was a difficult choice, but Mo was ultimately crowned the 2024 Golden Gavel winner. Rafter was awarded runner-up, and she also took home the People’s Choice award.

Mo will take part in the National Golden Gavel and compete against the winners of all State and Territory Golden Gavel competitions.

2024 Golden Gavel was proudly supported by Sparke Helmore.