Dr Ada Lim
I first met Laina, substantively, at a dinner when she had just been awarded the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Barrister of the Year award. She was who I wanted to be – a successful woman from a diverse background similar to my own. We started chatting and I was asked if I could assist with some pro bono work that she was doing. In the ensuing years I have worked with Laina on multiple matters, including twice in the Court of Appeal. As her junior, I have watched her take to my work with the digital equivalent of red pen. Her superior advocacy experience and legal acumen is used to expunge the mistakes and frivolities from my draft submissions, the work not complete until the submissions are both “tight” and “right”.
This acumen is applied to both commercial matters and her work on pro bono matters referred by the Bar Association’s Legal Assistance Referral Scheme; I have had the privilege of working with Laina on both, and in the finest traditions of the Bar she gives every case her utmost.
Another of the finest traditions of the Bar is the “open door policy”, where senior barristers give advice to junior barristers. Laina’s subject matter expertise in construction and insurance law makes her my first port of call when I have questions about those areas of law. She is always generous with her time and happy to workshop issues with me.
Laina’s practical work is enough basis for her to be awarded Australian Barrister of the Year, but it is as a mentor that she truly comes to the fore. The Bar is traditionally very “male, pale and stale”, and Laina is nothing but. The typical migrant at the Bar is a white man from the UK; an immigrant woman from South-east Asia has very few role models to look up to. Although the mentoring relationship arose organically, and not formally through an established scheme, I could not have asked for a better mentor. Laina has been supportive, practical and pragmatic, and most important of all, always available.
I highly commend Laina Chan as a worthy future recipient of the Australian Barrister of the Year Award