A lawyer dealing with complex issues including human rights and intercountry adoption is the winner of this year's CLANZ-Bell Gully Young Corporate Lawyer of the Year Award.
Claire Achmad is a solicitor with the Ministry of Social Development, based in Wellington, and is part of a team that advises across a range of legal areas including privacy, human rights, social security litigation management, intercountry adoptions, child law issues, and media and broadcasting law.
She was presented with the Young Corporate Lawyer of the Year Award at the Corporate Lawyers Association of New Zealand (CLANZ) annual conference in Rotorua on Friday. She receives a trophy and $5000 to go towards professional development, from Bell Gully.
Claire began her career with the Ministry in 2007, as the first member of its Legal Services graduate programme and was quickly promoted to solicitor after demonstrating abilities well beyond those of a graduate.
Her nomination for the award outlines a wide range of Claire's achievements. She has led some significant pieces of work and has proven adept at managing complex situations. In her current role she has responsibility for several high profile human rights cases and leads the Ministry's intercountry adoption and international surrogacy legal work areas.
Last year she was recognised as an 'emerging leader' graduating from the Ministry's Emerging Leaders Programme and also as an international young human rights leader after having applied independently for and being selected to attend the 5th Annual International Leadership Training Programme: A Global Intergenerational Forum Celebrating 60 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, hosted by the UNESCO Chair and Institute of Comparative Human Rights in the United States.
Claire is also active in the community. She has been a volunteer at the Wellington Community Law Centre in the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service for the last two years, building on her commitment when as a Student Director and founding member of the Equal Justice Project while at Auckland University. Since 2007 she has been the Co-Convenor of the Institute of Public Administration New Zealand (IPANZ) New Professionals Leadership Team, responsible for leading a small team, hosting professional development and networking events for young public sector professionals. She convened the 2008 IPANZ New Professionals Conference and is currently organising the 2010 event: Making a Difference.