The ACT Golden Gavel

Each year, young lawyers test their public speaking skills and comedic genius at Golden Gavel competitions across the country. The winners of each State and Territory competition then face off at the National Golden Gavel.

The competition is an opportunity for new lawyers to showcase their advocacy and comedy skills, with each given five minutes to argue their case on a usually far-fetched topic — revealed only 24 hours beforehand.

Call for nominations: 2023 ACT Golden Gavel competition

Do you have the gift of the gab? Do you reduce your court opponents to helpless chuckles? Is there somebody in your firm who does? We are looking for brave, smart, articulate and witty new lawyers!

The ACT Golden Gavel competition will be held at a cocktail function on Monday 8 May 2023 as part of the launch of Law Week. The winner will go on to represent the ACT at the National Golden Gavel.

Nominees must have less than five years post-admission experience. To nominate, email by COB Monday 24 April 2023.

The ACT Golden Gavel Speaking Competition

  • Golden Gavel winner: Peter Woulfe (Sparke Helmore), with It's my corporate collapse and I'll plunder it if I want to.
  • Golden Gavel winner: Andrew Jory (KJB Law), with If you were a fruit, would you be a mango or a grape?
  • Golden Gavel winner: Andrew Jory (KJB Law), with Election Idol — who should win and why
  • People’s Choice: Scoby MacKay (DEWR), with If Solicitors Solicited…
  • Golden Gavel winner: Emma Herde (Phillips Fox), with Fuel for thought? Petrol, sugar and the coalition of the willing
  • People’s Choice: Andrew Allen (Phillips Fox), with Visiting Bali for Dummies — hanging with da Hotman
  • Golden Gavel winner: Brooke Horne (Minter Ellison), with Welfare Survivor — what challenges await the tribe on Dole Bludger Island?
  • People’s Choice: Amber Beck (Dibbs Abbott Stillman), with Press Release — ACT budget problems solved! Madonna is coming to town. Bring out your young!
  • Golden Gavel winner: Brooke Horne (Minter Ellison), with Legal Heroes — five super powers to save your client's bacon
  • People’s Choice: Fred Lester (Pamela Coward & Associates), with Legal Idol — How you can become an overnight success
  • Golden Gavel winner: Theresa Miskle (John Nicholl & Co), with Etiquette 101 — five things we can't say in court
  • Golden Gavel winner: Rouslun Churches (Australian Government Solicitor), with The ACT Supreme Court v Canberra Stadium — The many similarities between litigation and sport
  • People’s Choice: Shelley Mulherin (Colquhoun Murphy), with Pay freeze — Is Public Service Legal practice more attractive?
  • Golden Gavel winner: Sarah Avery (Ben Aulich & Associates), with Reinventing the wheel of divorce — Bob Jane style
  • Golden Gavel winner: Max Petro (Minter Ellison), with Things you’d like to bill your clients for
  • People’s Choice: Andrew Joseph (ACT Director of Public Prosecutions), with “At least I’m not a parking inspector” — explaining your legal career choice to others
  • Golden Gavel winner: Hamish McNair (Norton Rose), with “I’m Batman”: the Bruce Wayne guide to successful ADR
  • People’s Choice: Robert Guest (Maurice Blackburn), with Four weddings and a funeral, or, five reasons business is good
  • Golden Gavel winner: Emilija Beljic (ACT Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions), with How to succeed in the law with minimum effort
  • People’s Choice: John Salinas (Trinity Law), with Alternative dispute resolution, e.g. trial by combat
  • Golden Gavel winner: Soraya Saikal (ACT Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions), with My Fair Lawyer — etiquette for lawyers
  • People’s Choice: Brendan Jones (Moray & Agnew), with Snow White and the Seven Justices of the High Court
  • Golden Gavel winner: Hassan Ehsan (Maliganis Edwards Johnson), with The Magna Carta — A defence lawyer's guide
  • People’s Choice: Laura Hinwood (Sparke Helmore), with Sliding doors: A world without the Magna Carta
  • Golden Gavel winner: Josie Dempster (Sparke Helmore) with The incredible superpower of ADR… how to kick it like a Kung Fu Panda.
  • People’s Choice: Rebecca Wheeler (Dept of Immigration and Border Protection) with Closing deals, kicking goals, suiting up like Harvey Spector... it’s just like on TV, right?
  • Golden Gavel winner: Adam Moynihan (Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet) with I feel the need – the need for speed: why lawyers should take performance enhancing drugs.
  • People’s Choice: Adrian Hearne (Comcare) with Electric Election: why judges should be voted in by the people.
  • Golden Gavel winner: Liv Ronan (Australian Government Solicitor) with Swipe right, I am a lawyer.
  • People’s Choice: Callum MacLeod (Department of Environment and Energy) with Finding Dory: The story of forgetful witnesses.
  • Golden Gavel winner: Maclaren Wall (ACT Director of Public Prosecutions) with Who said being a lawyer was stressful? They said 'Burnout Profession' and I bought a Pontiac.
  • People’s Choice: Erin-Louise Hagerty (Adero Law) with The Canberra Conundrum: Rights (and Lefts) in the city of roundabouts.
  • Golden Gavel winner: Daniel Magnussen (Farrar Gesini Dunn) with I am the hero Canberra law deserves, just not the one it needs right now.
  • People’s Choice: Holly Johnson (Mills Oakley) with Why I like subpoena coladas and getting caught and arraigned: The trials of dating a lawyer.
  • Golden Gavel winner: Daniella Fiocco (Colquhoun Murphy) with What ‘separation of powers’? Why the High Court should choose the next Federal Government.
  • People’s Choice: Ashwin Chandekar (Griffin Legal) with “Keep my client’s name out your [expletive] mouth!” The importance of good advocacy.