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Former Law Society of NSW President Pauline Wright and Human Rights Commission President Rosalind Croucher AM were among the award recipients at the 2019 NSW Women Lawyers’ Achievement Awards, hosted by the Women Lawyers’ Association of NSW (WLANSW) in Sydney last night.

A total of 17 winners were chosen from more than 100 entries at the annual Gala Presentation Dinner, which was attended by more than 500 people and was co-sponsored by the Law Society of NSW.

Former President Wright claimed the prestigious title of “Woman Lawyer of the Year” and was recognised for her commitment to legal aid, access to justice and the rule of law over a long career – 20 years of which she has dedicated to the Central Coast firm of which she is now a principal, PJ Donnellan & Co. Wright served as the President of the Law Society in 2017, and is current Treasurer for the Law Council of Australia as well as 2019 President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties. She is only the second woman hold the position.

Rosalind Croucher, who gave the keynote speech on the night, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her significant service to the law and women over many years. Croucher is an Emeritus Professor, the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, former Dean of Macquarie Law School, a Member of the Order of Australia and an Honorary Life Member of the Women Lawyers’ Association of NSW (WLANSW).

“Rosalind has made an enormous contribution to WLANSW with her active presence and involvement and as an organisation we are so much richer for it,” said Sydney barrister and President of WLANSW Larissa Andelman.

“She has always been generous in the time she has dedicated to WLANSW and has presented on many interesting and complex legal topics over the years including on legal history, family violence and disability.”

This year’s awards also introduced a new category of Regional Woman Lawyer of the Year, which was awarded to Shoalhaven lawyer and Accredited Specialist in Commercial Litigation Lorri Field. Andelman said the judges received a “large number of nominations from outstanding candidates” in the new category.

“For women practising in rural and regional areas there are often additional hurdles of being without a supportive network of women,” Andelman said.

“However, we have been blown away by the stories of women supporting other women and supporting members of their communities by participating with community organisations, schools and local councils over and above their role as solicitors.”

The full list of finalists and winners can be viewed on the WLANSW website.