Each year on March 8, International Women’s Day is celebrated around the globe. It’s a day to help advance gender equality and celebrate the achievements and contributions women make to our society. Shine Lawyers are fortunate to have some stellar women in our ranks who each have a unique impact in their work teams and the lives of their clients. This year, we’d like to recognise a handful of the women at Shine Lawyers who truly do shine.
Lisa Flynn is National Practice Leader of the Shine Group, where she oversees each of Shine's hardworking legal teams across all of the compensation law services we offer. Lisa has been a part of the Shine Lawyers family ever since her humble days as a clerk 20 years ago, drawn in by our firm’s values.
“I wanted to do something where I could make a difference to people’s lives and I think a big part of my motivation is finding work that has a purpose connected to my values. I’m at my best when I fully believe the work I’m doing is making a difference and is channelled towards purpose and just outcomes for clients,” she says.
Lisa is passionate about social justice matters and the wellbeing of children, and has spent years lobbying for law reforms in this space, such as the abolishment of time limitation laws surrounding cases of child sexual abuse.
In recent years, Lisa was at the helm of Shine Lawyers’ Abuse Law department, where she led some of the firm’s most significant actions brought on behalf of abuse survivors. This included spending many, many grueling hours working to receive justice for her client in the high-profile George Pell case.
Lisa’s clients are at the heart and soul of everything she does – the courageous men and women who stand up and speak out, sharing harrowing stories of abuse so no other child has to go through the same trauma and injustice. It is their bravery that fuels Lisa’s fight every day.
“I am truly honoured to stand beside these people as they tell their stories,” she said of her clients.
Despite her years of experience in the abuse law space, meeting a new client for the first time and hearing their personal story never ceases to affect Lisa. Her work isn’t just about fighting for compensation for her clients though; she strives to provide a safe platform for them to share their stories of harrowing abuse, bringing the institutions responsible for such horrific behaviour to account and shining a light on institutional injustice.
Rebecca Jancauskas is Practice Leader of Shine Lawyers’ Class Actions department. For more than 13 years, Rebecca has been at the forefront of some of Shine Lawyers’ most high profile and complex cases, helping to obtain justice for thousands of people of who have suffered injury and loss as a result of environmental damage, defective products, financial mismanagement and human rights abuses.
Working in class action litigation is both exciting and challenging for Rebecca and having the opportunity to make a difference on a large scale is what excites her the most.
“The fact that no two cases are the same is one of the most appealing aspects, but is also the most challenging,” says Rebecca. “Each action requires our team to acquire entirely new knowledge, and to become experts in discreet and often obscure areas of science, medicine, legislation, corporate governance or history.
“No amount of money can ever undo or truly make up for the wrong or harm people have suffered,” says Rebecca, “but achieving compensation on their behalf is a way of helping to get them as close to the position they were in beforehand.”
Rebecca was vital to securing settlement in the Class Action against DePuy for defective hip replacements, and helped residents to recover damages for their homes that were impacted by contamination and subsidence from a landfill. Rebecca also spearheaded the Class Actions against Johnson & Johnson and American Medical Systems over their pelvic mesh implants while she was pregnant, and then helped persuade the courts to change their policies, allowing her to breastfeed in the court room while fighting for justice.
Working at Shine Lawyers since 2010, Nickelle has become a leader in brain injury litigation, with many other lawyers calling on her for advice and direction knowing the passion and tenacity she shows for her clients.
Since joining Shine Lawyers, Nickelle has proven herself to be an exceptional lawyer, always looking for ways to maximise the outcomes for her clients.
“Looking after clients holistically is extremely important and it involves being proactive in the space of rehabilitation, liaising with case managers as well as assisting with Government agencies such as NDIS and NIIS. We need to ensure that clients and their family are surrounded by the right support network, including rehabilitation specialists, care or nursing agencies and home help,” says Nickelle.
Away from her work at Shine Lawyers, Nickelle is a busy mother of two and volunteers her time on a number of committees. Incredibly, Nickelle also finds time to be a member of the Women Lawyers Association of Queensland (WLAQ) and guides other female lawyers in their mentorship program. Nickelle’s achievements were recently recognised when she was included in the Women Lawyers Association List of Inspiring Women for 2019 and nominated as a finalist in the Special Counsel of the Year Category for the 2019 Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Award.
Clare Eves is National Practice Leader of Shine Lawyers’ Medical Law practice, leading a national team of expert medical negligence lawyers. Working closely with clients and families, Clare ensures they receive the financial and emotional support required, as well as the highest standard of care and rehabilitation.
Clare was always fascinated with medicine. Growing up, she dreamt of becoming a physiotherapist. But when it came time to hit the books and chose an area of study, Clare found herself constantly gravitating towards the law. Her interest in medicine stayed alive and ultimately drew her to pursue a career in injury litigation.
For Clare, knowing that she can make a difference to someone’s life as part of an energetic, highly focused team that doesn’t shy away from the tough cases, is what keeps her fighting day in, day out.
It’s through listening carefully and compassionately to her clients’ stories that Clare is able to fully appreciate how their accident has impacted their lives and what help and support is needed.
“The most important thing is to listen and to fully understand why they have turned to a lawyer,” she says. “Only then can we give our clients tailored advice about their options.”
However, for Clare, it’s about more than just making a difference in her client’s life. Cases of medical negligence place an enormous burden on family, friends and loved ones. By spending time with the families of her clients, Clare builds strong, meaningful relationships and is better placed to understand their situation, connecting them with additional help and support services wherever possible to assist with their quality of life.
Leanne McDonald is National Practice Leader of Shine Lawyers' Abuse, Dust Diseases and Federal Compensation legal services. Joining Shine Lawyers 25 years ago, Leanne has been able to make a difference in her clients’ lives by standing up for them in their time of need, while also guiding them through the legal process.
Leanne says that she wanted to help people and knew that career in law and at Shine Lawyers would afford her the opportunity to do just that. Leanne has worked in many areas of compensation law, most recently in Abuse Law, before being promoted to head up Abuse, Dust Diseases and Federal Compensation practices.
Knowing that she’s making a difference for child safety and holding institutions and perpetrators accountable, is what excites Leanne most about her job. “It is difficult to hear horrific stories of abuse day in, day out,” says Leanne. “But my clients deserve to tell their story and they give me strength.”
Despite having a demanding workload, Leanne also leads Shine Lawyers’ Social Justice area, lending her expertise free of charge in pro bono cases. Helping those who need it most and providing social justice for all.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: March 5, 2020.