Advisory Council | UNSW Law

Advisory Council

George WilliamsDeanUNSW Law
Richard Alcock (Chair)Managing Director, SydneyMerrill Lynch International (Australia)
John BastenJudge of AppealSupreme Court of New South Wales
Elizabeth BroderickPrincipalElizabeth Broderick & Co
Peter ButlerPartnerHerbert Smith Freehills
Tom CalmaChancellorUniversity of Canberra
Nicholas CarneySenior AssociateHerbert Smith Freehills
Chris ChapmanChairman & CEOAustralian Communications & Media Authority
Christopher CraigieJudgeNSW District Court
Ross DrinnanPartnerAllens
Rebecca GilsenanPrincipalMaurice Blackburn
Tim GordonPartnerGilbert + Tobin
Kate HarrisonPartnerGilbert + Tobin
Philip HarveyPartnerKing & Wood Mallesons
Alistair McKeoughManaging DirectorWhittens & McKeough
James NguyenLegal CounselRabobank
Jane SandersPrincipal SolicitorShopfront Youth Legal Centre
Nicola Wakefield-EvansNon-Executive DirectorLend Lease, Macquarie Group, Toll Holdings Limited
Shemara WikramanayakeHead of Macquarie FundsMacquarie Group

Richard Alcock

Managing Director, Sydney
Merrill Lynch International (Australia)

Advisory Council

Richard Alcock is the Managing Director of Investment Banking at Merrill Lynch International (Australia) Limited. He holds a number of corporate positions as an Advisor and Non-Executive Director. He is a former Senior Corporate Partner, Head of Governance, and Chairman of the Ethics Committee at Allens Arthur Robinson, lawyers. Richard is also a Director of  the University of New South Wales Foundation Limited, a Member of the Governing Council of Sydney Children's Hospital Network ( Westmead and Randwick ) and  a Director of Art Exhibitions Australia Limited. He is a member of the Council of Knox Grammar School, a former Director of Sony Music Entertainment (Australia) Limited and the Australia Indonesia Institute.

Richard holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws, both from UNSW.

The Honourable Justice John Basten QC

Judge of Appeal
Supreme Court of New South Wales

Justice Basten was a NSW barrister from 1982 to 2005, practising in administrative and constitutional law, native title and Aboriginal land rights, discrimination and human rights, general appellate, immigration and professional discipline. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1992.

Justice Basten was instrumental in setting up Australia’s community legal centre movement and was a member of the management committee of the Redfern Legal Centre from 1977 to 1983.

He has also been extremely active in the area of native title and land rights. He provided representation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups regarding every major or significant native title or land rights case during his career at the Bar, including the High Court cases of Ward, Yanner, Yorta Yorta, Hayes, Risk, and the Federal Court claims of Yulara, Lardil, Goomana and Director of Fisheries. His contribution to the development of native title law and the construction of the Native Title Act is unsurpassed.

Justice Basten’s academic writing is well published in various law journals including the Australian Law Journal, the Federal Law Review and the Legal Services Bulletin. Topics covered have included judicial accountability, prisoners’ rights, legal aid, community legal centres, disputes involving the Commonwealth Government, judicial review and ouster clauses.

He has acted as a Commissioner of both the NSW Law Reform Commission and the Australian Law Reform Commission and as Assistant Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Justice Basten was also Chair of the NSW Legal Aid Commission’s Prisoners’ Legal Service Advisory Committee for 16 years.

Justice Basten holds a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of Adelaide and a Bachelor of Civil Laws from the University of Oxford. He was a Senior Lecturer at UNSW Faculty of Law from 1974 to 1982.

Elizabeth Broderick

Elizabeth Broderick & Co

Advisory Council

Elizabeth has brought together captains of industry, governments and Defence Force chiefs to address gender inequality in Australia and beyond.

As Australia’s longest serving Sex Discrimination Commissioner (2007-2015), Elizabeth worked tirelessly to break down structural and social barriers faced by women and men, and to promote gender equality.

A key advocate for Australia’s paid parental leave scheme, Elizabeth influenced changes to regulations to increase the numbers of women at decision-making level, and to elevate the voices of women in marginalised communities.

She also established and convenes the globally recognised ‘Male Champions of Change’ strategy, enlisting a ‘who’s who’ of powerful male leaders to tackle workplace gender inequality. Her review into the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force led to sweeping cultural reforms. She is a powerful and influential voice in the struggle for gender equality, enlisting both women and men as agents of change.

Elizabeth is Special Adviser to the Executive Director of UN Women on Private Sector Engagement, and Co-Chair of UN Global Compact’s Women’s Empowerment Principles Leadership Group. She is a member of the Australian Defence Force Gender Equality Board, the Australian Rugby Union Board, and formerly a member of the World Bank Gender Advisory Council. She is Senior Advisor to the Australian Federal Police Commissioner on cultural change.

In 2016, Elizabeth was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia and was named 2016 NSW Australian of the Year. She holds Honorary Doctorates of Law from the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, and the University of Technology Sydney. 

Peter Butler OAM RFD

Herbert Smith Freehills

Advisory Council

Peter was Managing Partner of Freehills from 2005 to 2010, and was head of litigation, 2000-2005.  He combines his management responsibilities with an ongoing commercial litigation practice. Previously he was special counsel to the board and global head of compliance of Reuters, based in London, 1997-2000.

He is the inaugural chair of the Freehills Foundation, established 2006, and looks after Freehills’ pro bono and community programs. He is chairman of the national board of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, and has been president of a number of charities.

He was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 1998 for service to the community.  He is a major in the Australian Army Reserves and was awarded the Reserve Force Decoration for long service.

Freehills is one of the biggest hirers of high-achieving law graduates, and also regularly provides solicitors as pro-bono staff for Kingsford Legal Centre.  Freehills operates its own community legal centre, Shopfront Youth Legal Centre, in partnership with Mission Australia and the Salvation Army, and its director is a UNSW Law alumnus, Jane Sanders (also an Advisory Council member).

Freehills have donated $1.25m to UNSW Faculty of Law in pledges and gifts, including $600k to the Law Endowment Fund, $500k to the Freehills Law Library Partnership Fund and $132k to the Freehills Visiting Fellowship program.

Tom Calma

University of Canberra

Advisory Council

Mr Calma is an Aboriginal elder from the Kungarakan tribal group and a member of the Iwaidja tribal group whose traditional lands are south west of Darwin and on the Coburg Peninsula in Northern Territory, respectively. He has been involved in Indigenous affairs at a local, community, state, national and international level for over 35 years.

Mr Calma has broad experience in public administration, particularly in Indigenous education programs and in developing employment and training programs for Indigenous people from both a national policy and program perspective.

He was Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Social Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2004 to 2010.  Since January 2014, Mr Calma has held the post of Chancellor of the University of Canberra.

Previously, Mr Calma managed the Community Development and Education Branch at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services (ATSIS) where he worked with remote Indigenous communities to implement community-based and driven empowerment and participation programs. In 2003, he was Senior Adviser Indigenous Affairs to the Minister of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs.

From 1995-2002, he worked as a senior Australian diplomat in India and Vietnam representing Australia's interests in education and training. During his time in India, he also oversaw the management of the Australian international education offices in Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Mr Calma was awarded the prestigious number one position in the Indigenous category for the Bulletin magazine's Power 100 for 2007. The Power 100 selects the 100 most powerful people in Australia. It is judged by a group of 10 who select people they consider share one common trait - the ability and desire to drive change.

Nicholas Carney

Senior Associate
Herbert Smith Freehills

Nicholas Carney

Nicholas is a Senior Associate at Herbert Smith Freehills specialising in banking and finance, and corporate restructuring. Nicholas has significant experience acting for banks, offshore funds, sponsors and borrowers in complex financing transactions, turnarounds and restructures. Nicholas has also worked on several major loan portfolio sale transactions.

Nicholas has undertaken secondments in the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, and Westpac Banking Corporation (Asset Structuring).

Prior to commencing at Herbert Smith Freehills, Nicholas was Executive Officer of the Human Rights Act for Australia campaign (2005-2006). Nicholas served on the UNSW Council as the undergraduate student member between 2004-2006 and on the UNSW Union as President and Treasurer.

Nicholas is currently the presiding member of the Risk Committee of UNSW and Vice President of the UNSW Law Alumni Network (after being its President from 2009-2011).

In 2012, Nicholas was the driving force behind the raising of over $50,000 for the Louise Brown Memorial Award, a fund enabling law students to undertake internships overseas.

Nicholas was awarded a Finance/Law degree from UNSW in 2004.

Christopher Chapman

Chairman and CEO
Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA)

Advisory Council

Chris Chapman commenced as the inaugural Chairman and CEO of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in February 2006 and as an Associate member of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in September 2007.

Chris is a seasoned executive with experience in the media, broadcasting and film, internet, telecommunications, sports rights, infrastructure and finance development worlds. Trained in law, Chris initially worked as an associate to Chief Justice Garfield Barwick, later moving to Mallesons Stephen Jaques. In 1984 he made the jump into commercial life as Seven Network's internal legal director, and gained promotions to head its Brisbane station, then its 1988 Olympics coverage, its Sydney unit and then eventually became COO. In 1996, he moved across to Stadium Australia as CEO where he oversaw the construction of Sydney's Olympic Stadium. He then spent two years at the helm of Excite@Home Australia, the ill-fated Optus-Excite joint venture. He then became managing director of Prime Infrastructure Management, which became Babcock & Brown Infrastructure. He later took charge of Babcock & Brown's global specialist fund operations as COO. Now, he head of ACMA.

Chris has also been Chairman of Film Australia and SportsVision Australia, and a previous member of the national Film and Sound Archives Advisory Council.

Chris has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce (1978) from the University of New South Wales and has completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. Chris won the University Blue Award in 1977 – UNSW’s highest award for sporting achievement, awarded to athletes who not only compete and perform at the highest level in their chosen sport, but also contribute to the development of sport at UNSW from an administrative perspective. Chris is also a former President of the UNSW Cricket Club.

His Honour Judge Christopher Craigie SC

District Court of New South Wales

Advisory Council

Chris has been a practising lawyer, specialising in Criminal Law throughout a 35 year career. After a short period in private practice as a solicitor and three years in the criminal indictable section of the NSW Public Solicitor’s Office (the predecessor to the Legal Aid Commission) he was called to the Bar in 1980.

He developed a strong general criminal and jury trial practice, including some prosecutions for the NSW DPP in the late 1980s. In later years the practice included murder trials and a considerable appellate practice, most particularly in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.

He was appointed a Public Defender in 1994 and has been active in the life of the Bar, both when in private chambers or those of the Public Defenders. He was significantly involved in Bar education programmes, delivering papers and lectures in that capacity and serving on Bar Association Committees, including five years on one of its disciplinary committees.

He took silk in 2001 and in the same year was appointed the Deputy Senior Public Defender a position in which he carried a significant portion of the Defender’s appellate practice. He was Acting Senior Public Defender in 2006 and 2007 and in October 2007 was appointed Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).

In this role, he headed the agency that prosecutes on behalf of the Commonwealth from 12 offices across the country. The CDPP takes referrals from over forty Commonwealth investigative and regulatory entities in areas as diverse as cyber-crime, counter-terrorism, customs, tax, competition law, corporate crime and welfare fraud , to name but a few.

After serving as CDPP from 2007 to 2012, Chris was apoointed to the District Court of NSW in October 2012.

Chris holds a BA and LLB from UNSW (1976).

Ross Drinnan


Advisory Council

Ross is a partner of Allens.  He was made a partner in 2000 and has a commercial litigation practice.

Ross acts for Westpac, KPMG, Vodafone, Du Pont and Aristocrat.   Ross has done a considerable amount of work in relation to class actions.  He led a team of lawyers defending the shareholder class action brought against Aristocrat. This was the first matter of its type to proceed to trial in Australia. He is currently acting for defendants in other class actions.

Allens has made a significant contribution to the UNSW Law Endowment Fund.  Allens is also a major sponsor of the UNSW Law Journal and has actively supported UNSW's participation in the Jessup International Moot Competition for a number of years.  Several Allens Arthur Robinson partners also contribute to teaching within the faculty as occasional guest lecturers.

Ross has a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws from UNSW (1989). 

He is also a member of the International Association of Defence Council, International Bar Association, Defence Research Institute, Inc. and various other professional bodies.

Rebecca Gilsenan

Maurice Blackburn

Rebecca Gilsenan

Rebecca is Principal of law firm Maurice Blackburn. Her practice focuses on class actions in the areas of price fixing, failed investment schemes and product liability.

Some of Rebecca's major cases include:

  • a class action against Amcor Ltd and Visy Board Pty Ltd resulting in $95m settlement
  • a series of class actions regarding failed heart devices
  • landmark litigation for a child immigration detainee against the Commonwealth and detention centre operators regarding the child's treatment in immigration detention
  • a constitutional challenge in the High Court
  • a class action regarding investments in a property trust, and
  • a group action for investors in a failed property investment scheme.
Rebecca also acts for Greenpeace Australia Pacific Limited; carries out work for the firm’s Social Justice Practice; is the Director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre; and Director of Guthrie House, supported accommodation for people entering and exiting the criminal justice system. 

Until recently, Rebecca was a weekly contributor and blogger with the Daily Telegraph and Ten Breakfast television show, providing advice on day-to-day legal issues.

Rebecca was awarded a Bachelor of Social Work and Law in 1999.

Tim Gordon

Gilbert + Tobin

Advisory Council

Tim is a partner at Gilbert + Tobin, working in the Corporate Advisory group.

Tim’s experience in corporate advisory and corporate transactions includes advising listed and unlisted companies and Australian and offshore private equity fund managers in relation to mergers and acquisitions, capital raisings, corporate restructurings and recapitalisations and business and share sale processes.

Best Lawyers recognise Tim as a leading lawyer in Equity Capital Markets. Tim has completed a Master of Laws in Corporate and Commercial Law at the University of New South Wales and also received undergraduate qualifications in Law and Commerce (Finance) from the University of New South Wales. Tim co-authored the Australian chapter in the 2011 to 2015 Corporate Governance Review and the 2014 and 2015 Shareholders’ Rights Global Guide. Tim was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2005.

Tim is also on the management committee of the Refugee Advisory & Casework Service (RACS).

Dr Kate Harrison

Gilbert + Tobin

Advisory Council

Kate has been a member of Gilbert + Tobin’s Intellectual Property and Litigation group since 1996. She is recognised by Chambers Global as a leading intellectual property lawyer.

Kate's legal experience spans intellectual property, media and communications law, civil and commercial law. She provided advice on copyright, patents, trademarks and designs, licensing for record companies, the internet, broadcasting and pay TV, technology and supply for manufacturers and industry associations.

Kate holds a Master of Laws from Columbia University and a Doctorate from Sydney University. She was admitted as an attorney and practised law in New York and, immediately prior to joining Gilbert + Tobin, worked as an adviser to the Commonwealth Attorney General. Kate was a Founding Director of the Communications Law Centre at the University of New South Wales.

From 2007 to 2011 Kate took a secondment from Gilbert + Tobin to act as Chief of Staff for Senator John Faulkner, Special Minister of State, Cabinet Secretary and Vice-President of the Executive Council and later as a senior advisor in the office of Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Kate holds an LLB from UNSW (1986).

Philip Harvey

King & Wood Mallesons

Philip Harvey

Philip Harvey is a partner in the Sydney office of King & Wood Mallesons where he specialises in capital markets, banking and finance and bank supervision and regulation.

Issues on which Philip regularly advises involve transaction structuring (particularly in connection with capital raisings), all aspects of the Australian and international debt capital markets, including interest withholding tax, the issue of hybrid and convertible instruments and bank supervision and regulation. Philip is generally involved in the broader King & Wood Mallesons Banking & Finance practice.

Philip is ranked in Chambers Global 2014 in the area of Capital Markets: Debt, with clients stating that he is “very commercial and really on top of the markets, and very knowledgeable," adding “I would recommend him".  

He regularly lectures for the University of NSW, the University of Sydney and Monash University on debt capital markets and hybrid securities.

Philip holds an LLB from UNSW (1999).

Alistair McKeough

Managing Director
Whittens & McKeough

Alistair McKeough

Alistair McKeough is the Managing Director of Whittens & McKeough, a Sydney based boutique law firm specialising in corporate and commercial law, mining and resources law, litigation and property, with a particular focus on small-cap ASX listed companies. Before founding Whittens & McKeough, Alistair was an Associate to a Federal Court Judge and worked at Freehills.

Alistair specialises in complex commercial matters and disputes requiring careful strategic planning and he has extensive experience in contract, commercial equity and corporate law. He represents some of Australia’s highest profile business people and has acted on some of Australia’s highest profile commercial litigation. As well as commercial work, Alistair’s practice encompasses appearing before Royal Commissions and ICAC and he has defended clients against actions by all of ASIC, ACCC, ATO, Workcover and the EPA.

Alistair also sits on several company boards, and is Company Secretary to several public companies.

Alistair holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Laws from UNSW. 

James Nguyen

Legal Counsel

Advisory Council

James graduated from UNSW in 2004 with a BCom(Finance)/LLB.

Presently, James is a legal counsel at Rabobank. Specialising in banking and finance law, James also has relevant experience in marketing, corporate/commercial, regulatory compliance and employment law. Previously, he worked at NAB, K&L Gates, Gilbert + Tobin and DLA Piper.

James served as vice-president, deputy chairman of the UNSW Law Alumni Network Committee from 2013 to 2015 during which time he originated the idea of the annual Ngoc Tram Nguyen Scholarship Dinner. A highlight of the Law School calendar year, the annual dinner has helped raise over $200,000 allowing the Ngoc Tram Nguyen Scholarship to grow from one scholarship to the current four. James also works closely with Liverpool Hospital on a number of charity projects including the art project for the Chemotherapy Centre.

James was a joint-recipient of the UNSW Young Alumni of the Year Award 2014.

Jane Sanders

Principal Solicitor
Shopfront Youth Legal Centre

Advisory Council

Jane Sanders is the principal solicitor of the Shopfront Youth Legal Centre, a free legal service for homeless and disadvantaged young people, based in inner-city Sydney. The Shopfront is a joint project of Freehills, Mission Australia and the Salvation Army.

After graduating with a BCom from UWA and LLB from UNSW, Jane spent two years overseas, including a period working for Clifford Chance in the UK. She worked as a litigation solicitor at Freehills before being seconded to the Shopfront Shopfront Youth Legal Centre in late 1993.

Jane is an accredited specialist in criminal law and children’s law. She appears almost daily for children and young adults in the Children’s, Local, District and Supreme Courts. She also assists clients with victims compensation claims, unpaid fines, family law advice and minor civil matters.

Jane's role also includes providing training for young people, youth workers and lawyers. She is also active in lobbying for law reform on issues that affect young and disadvantaged people. She has been an active member of various committees and networks including the NSW Law Society Criminal Law Committee, the Youth Justice Coalition and the former Juvenile Justice Advisory Council.

In 2008 Jane was awarded the NSW Law and Justice Foundation’s Justice Medal, for “outstanding individual achievement in improving access to justice, especially for socially and economically disadvantaged people”.

Nicola Wakefield-Evans

Non-Executive Director
Lend Lease, Macquarie Group, Toll Holdings Limited

Advisory Council

Nicola Wakefield Evans is a non-executive director at a number of corporations, including Lend Lease, Macquarie Group and Toll Holdings Limited, Australia's largest transport and logistics company.

Previously, Nicola was a Partner of King & Wood Mallesons in the Sydney office. She specialised in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, projects, infrastructure and corporate governance.  Nicola also spent 4 years in the firm's Hong Kong office where she was Managing Partner International.  She acted for major Australian, Chinese, Asian and international corporations and investment banks in Hong Kong including UC Rusal, BHP Billiton, Macquarie Bank, AMP, GE, Morgan Stanley, Fushan, APAC and a number of Chinese companies.  Nicola was involved in significant transactions in the energy and resources, financial services, airports, private equity, media, technology and communications sectors.

While she was practising, Nicola was rated by a number of publications as one of the Asian region's leading M&A, corporate governance, media and resources & energy lawyers. She was named a leading lawyer in Corporate Governance in the 2009 edition of Legal Media Group 's Guide to the World's Leading Lawyers, the International Financial Law Review's Guide to the World's Leading Corporate Governance Lawyers 2009  and Chambers 2012.

Nicola was also praised by Australasian Legal Business (ALB) as "among the best of the best from Australia". In 2009, she was recognised in ALB's Hot 100 for the Asia Region: "In an industry where glass ceilings are conspicuous, Wakefield Evans can be widely commended for being among a rare few to have broken through it. Wakefield Evans has also built the profile of the Australian-based firm to a level where it is rivalling US and UK firms, for a share of the most lucrative Chinese-related work". In February 2011, Nicola was selected as one of the Advance Global 50, which is a group of leading Australian women who work outside Australia.

In October 2012 Nicola was included in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac Group's inaugural list of 'Australia's 100 Women of Influence'.

Nicola completed a Bachelor of Jurisprudence and Bachelor of Laws at UNSW in 1984.

Shemara Wikramanayake

Head of Macquarie Funds Group

Advisory Council

  • Prior to becoming the Head of Macquarie Funds Group, Shemara spent 20 years in Macquarie’s investment banking business (“Macquarie Capital”).
  • Previously, Shemara was the global head of Macquarie Capital’s Private Placement Group. Prior to this Shemara was the head of Macquarie’s Capital Funds division in North America for approximately four years, based in New York. This included infrastructure and private equity funds in the US and Canada.
  • Prior to heading up the Macquarie Capital Funds division in North America, Shemara led the prudential team within Macquarie Capital, where she was responsible for commercial review of all transactions in which Macquarie Capital took a principal position.
  • In addition to her investment selection experience, Shemara established and headed Macquarie’s corporate advisory offices in Hong Kong, Malaysia and New Zealand and has significant advisory experience in mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, valuations and privatisations in these markets and in Australia.

Shemara has a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws (1985) from UNSW and has also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard.