Meet our Women in Law Awards finalist

Meet our Women in Law Awards finalist

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Congratulations to our Deputy Managing Lawyer of the Melbourne Child Protection team, Erica Contini, who was recently shortlisted as a finalist in the ‘Not-for-profit Lawyer of the Year’ category of the 2019 Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards.

Erica is dedicated to the rights of young people and has put her human rights passion into practice in children’s law. She has demonstrated strong advocacy in representing vulnerable children and their parents in child protection and criminal law proceedings.

Executive Director, Family, Youth and Children’s Law, Nicole Rich said Erica had made a valuable contribution to Victoria Legal Aid and the community with her extensive advocacy work in children’s law – ‘With more than 10 years of practice, Erica has represented countless numbers of our most vulnerable clients in critical moments, and often when they are in crisis mode when attending court.’

Deputy Managing Lawyer of the Melbourne Child Protection team, Erica Contini,
Deputy Managing Lawyer, Melbourne Child Protection team, Erica Contini

Nicole believes that Erica’s work is important as it enables children to have a voice and be heard in matters that are most important to them.

‘Erica’s strong advocacy work empowers children, young people, parents and carers to be more involved and have a greater voice in decisions that can have a serious and life-changing impact upon them.

‘She also uses her knowledge in the law and the Charter of Human Rights to make the hard but important arguments before magistrates to protect and serve the best interests of the child,’ said Nicole.

Apart from her daily advocacy, Erica continues to promote access to justice within the legal sector with her tireless work outside the court.

This includes membership of the Youthlaw Board, Chair of the Law Institute of Victoria’s (LIV) Children and Youth Issues Committee and member of the LIV Family Law Section Executive Committee, and lecturing at Monash University. In this capacity, Erica also designed a new law school subject on how to represent children in various legal proceedings.

A graduate of our New Lawyers Program herself, Erica is also well-known for her commitment to mentoring new lawyers and is always approachable for expert advice and support on tricky children’s law issues.

Erica considers children’s law one of the most challenging areas of law, but also the most satisfying.

‘I derive great joy from getting children back to their parents and ensuring the family unit is well supported.

‘It’s a great feeling when you are able to convince a magistrate to keep a family together, or are successful in an argument on your client’s behalf.

‘The look on a client’s face when they hear their children are coming home, or when they are told they are getting bail, is priceless,’ she said.

More information

Lawyers Weekly Women In Law Awards 2019 finalists

A voice for the young, disempowered and vulnerable

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