Victoria Legal Aid

Our newly accredited specialists in criminal law and children's law for 2022

The Law Institute of Victoria has awarded 11 of our lawyers accredited specialisation in 2022.

Tuesday 13 December 2022 9:07pm

Eleven of our lawyers are newly accredited specialists in criminal law and children's law. They were among 78 Victorian lawyers awarded specialist accreditation by the Law Institute of Victoria on 1 December 2022.

Specialist accreditation is granted to lawyers with substantial practice experience who pass rigorous written and practical examination tasks. Lawyers must demonstrate superior knowledge and skills in their specialist area.

Newly accredited criminal law specialists

  • Bec Samuels – Senior Lawyer, Appeals and Strategy
  • Ellen Murphy – Deputy Managing Lawyer, Indictable Crime
  • Sean De Ville – Senior Lawyer, Summary Crime
  • Libby Penman – Deputy Managing Lawyer, Therapeutic Courts
  • Clare Moss – Professional Support Lawyer Crime, Ballarat
  • Erin Churchill – Deputy Managing Lawyer, Ballarat
  • Josh Hickey – Senior Lawyer, Broadmeadows
  • James Dalrymple – Senior Lawyer, Civil Justice

Newly accredited children's law specialists

  • Andrew Rankin – Senior Lawyer, Youth Crime
  • Libby O'Dea – Deputy Managing Lawyer, Youth Crime
  • Tia Snoek – Senior Lawyer, Broadmeadows office

Sadly Sean De Ville has recently passed away after a serious illness. Sean was very proud to have achieved accreditation and he will be greatly missed by his colleagues.

Professional support lawyer Jennifer Schubert, who runs a study support program for lawyers undertaking criminal law specialisation, says specialisation is an important recognition of enhanced skill level and expertise.

‘Specialisation is a significant achievement distinguishing you in your area of practice. Obtaining accreditation involves hard work, commitment, and dedication. It is a demanding undertaking and not everyone succeeds first time around.'

Legal practice director Dianna Gleeson says gaining specialist accreditation is a commendable achievement.

'We are proud to support our staff and practice partners in their further professional development, through our extensive specialisation support program, and the benefit this brings to the justice system.'

Our specialisation study programs support private panel practitioners, community legal centre (CLC) lawyers and lawyers from other government agencies, such as the Office of Public Prosecution (OPP). This year, 34 of the 38 new accredited criminal law specialists participated in our study program. They included 16 private panel practitioners, three CLC and seven OPP lawyers.

Jennifer Schubert says practice partners bring different experiences, perspectives and knowledge to the study program.

'These enrich the learning experiences and the collaboration also builds relationships which endure well beyond the specialisation year.'

Youth law Professional Support Lawyer Suzanne Bettink provided similar support to children's law candidates, including five private practitioners.

Jennifer, Suzanne and the many practice lawyers who helped deliver the specialist accreditation program play an integral role, providing a detailed study program as well invaluable guidance, support and assistance to candidates in the lead-up to their exams.

VLA Chambers advocates also give tremendous support to criminal law candidates through a program of lectures and study intensives. And collaboration with the OPP this year meant crown prosecutors also delivered training. 'The candidates really appreciated and valued the involvement of the chambers advocates and crown prosecutors,' said Jennifer.

We currently have 67 accredited specialists, including 39 in criminal law, 17 in children's law, 8 in family law, 2 in immigration law and 1 accredited specialist in administrative law.

More information

Read the Law Institute of Victoria's media release LIV congratulates 78 new Accredited Specialists.External Link

Reviewed 13 December 2022