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my legal experience














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I graduated from the New Enterprise Investment Scheme at the Sydney Business Enterprise Centre, Chatswood Sydney under the supervision of the federal Dept of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), in August 2013, as per the attached documents and images here:

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I explain my legal and business experience below:
 

Admission Date as a NSW Solicitor: 19 October 1990, Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Practising certificate: Current for 2012-2013, as unrestricted principal.

Highlights

  • commercial litigation experience with specialist litigator Stephen Blanks;
  • stakeholder management skills:

    - identify who to talk to;

    - consult with and absorb ideas to feed into policy development;

    - brief stakeholders on current issues, govt policy and decisions;

    - synthesise large volumes of information;

    - build common understanding and consensus;

    - provide leadership in reaching conclusion(s).

  • media skills:

    - experience developing communication strategies;

    - knowledge of the process of media management e.g. engagement, oral and written presentation, selection of content;

  • Diverse skills and experience (e.g. local councillor, advocate, administrator, researcher) as well as specialist civil law skills;
  • Web master skills (e.g. content, layout, images, interactivity).

Qualifications and education

  • NSW Practicing Certificate, unrestricted principal, 2012-2013;
  • Small Business Certificate IV, Sydney Business Enterprise Centre, 2012;
  • Sole Practitioner Practice Course, College of Law, NSW 2012;
  • Bachelor of Laws with Honours, Australian National University, Canberra, 1989;
  • Legal Workshop, Australian National University, 1990;
  • Bachelor of Science, Australian National University, Canberra, 1986.

     

Detailed work experience

Note: Several jobs itemised below were undertaken concurrently: [No.s 2 and 3]; [no.s 4, 5, 6 and 7]; [no.s 9 and 10]. Also please refer to Appendix A for details of other legal experience.

1. Solicitor full time with SBA Lawyers (principal Stephen Blanks - accredited commercial litigation specialist) - April 2010 to February 2012.

Key achievements

* ability to work in a high demand environment e.g. an estimated 15 matters at any one time including unfair mortgage case (SC NSW) oversighting 25 large folders of documents, unfair dismissal case for employer client (FWA) on jurisdictional independent contractor basis, conduct of successful appeals for 5 refugee matters (before FMCA and FCA);

* conduct of general commercial legal files including conveyancing through to settlement, trade mark applications through to registration, sale and purchase of small business, advice on commercial lease terms, statutory demands and winding up applications.

Provision of legal advice and/or documentation regarding:

a) unfair mortgage trial in NSW SC (possession list) in Nobilo ats Permanent Custodians Pty Ltd (2009) re fraud, proportionate liability, cross claim(s) re Torrens Assurance Fund and negligence/breach of duty by solicitor, unfair contract; coordination of 25 case folders; attend 4 day trial; admin of interpreter and transcripts; interlocutory motions on pleading; complex liaison with 4 cross defendants including Law Cover and Registrar General; evidence to Forensic Document Services; drafting of client primary affidavits, documentation for mediation/settlement;

b) Jurisdictional appeal re independent contractor status of payee acting for employer in French Accent ats Do Rozario (2010) in Fair Work Australia;

c) Appeal books and liaison with counsel, for refugee cases to the Federal Court of Australia and FMCA e.g. SZQHJ v MIAC (2011), SZQGU, SZQGI, SZQKC, SZQDS, SZQER, SZQGV. Assessment of DIAC green books and transcripts re RRT and IMR hearings for grounds of appeal;

d) Multiple Sydney residential sale and purchase of land contracts on Torrens Title from letters of advice through to settlement;

e) Several applications/registration of trade marks in Australia and European Community e.g. RAM Education, Elevate, Boost, including co-existence agreement with rival mark owner, and submissions to examiners;

f) Coordinate evidence rebutting sex discrimination (re male dress code) complaint against NT cinema;

g) Purchase and sale of business regionally based cinema including registration of existing long term lease, small communications tech company, hairdresser;

h) Pro bono traffic matters for new Australians.

Skills - Ability to discern weight of authority in conflicting primary sources (case law, legislation, court practice); online legal research; able to work well in a team; personal diplomacy; strong focus on priority tasks and issues in an environment of competing demands; work independently with little supervision; liaison with, and preparing briefs for, counsel; briefing forensic document experts; interviewing clients; extensive drafting of affidavit evidence; preparing originating and interlocutory process, and appeal books; representation at hearings and callovers; supervision of legal interns; word processing at 60 words per minute, timeslips accounting database entry.

Reason for leaving: Successfully completed retraining required by the NSW Law Society for unrestricted certificate, and to travel with partner.

2. Secretary, Bondi Beach Community Market Inc from March 2008 until March 2010 (part time).

Key achievement

* chaired and facilitated monthly management committee meetings of 15 traders;

* Incorporated BBCNM Inc and acted as public officer;

* Provided strategic advice on maintaining trading site subject to licence from Waverley Council.

Skills - note taking, word processing; chairing meetings; facilitation; knowledge of Associations Incorporation Act 2009 (NSW); reliability and responsibility as a public officer

Reason for leaving: New job.

3. Paralegal with Allen Arthur Robinson full time, June to July 2008

Key achievement - documentation database for virtual data room for mergers & acquisitions.Skills - application of higher functions of Microsoft Excel programme.

Reason for leaving: Successfully completed 2 month temporary contract.

4. Solicitor, AAT Legal from June 2005- February 2008. (part time)

Key achievement

* negotiated approval with CEO of Channel 31 (community tv) for broadcast of client current affairs programme;

* weekly legal vetting of client tv programme content;

* briefing programme producers on legal issues.

Skills - legal analysis of defences to defamation; compliance with broadcasting standards; communication of complex legal issues in plain English.

Reason for leaving - Principal closed his practice.

5. Webmaster and Manager of grounds and environmental projects, Addison Road Community Centre, part time, from July 2003 to December 2007.Key achievements:

* developed centre website reporting directly to GM, including consultation with 40 separate tenancies regarding text, images, architecture, navigation, accessibility, useability;

* managed private contractor use of weekly market site, and related waste management and public liability issues;

* project managed environmental projects e.g. native plantings, returf of grounds, composting, mulching, art gallery refit;

* regular briefings to centre GM and senior tenants on key issues/activities.

Skills - web design and build skills, good writing and communication skills, good consultation skills, project management skills, organisational and planning skills, work unsupervised.

Reason for leaving: To pursue re-entry into a legal career.

6. Distribution manager for Alternative Media Group from January 2002 to March 2007.

Key achievements

* managed all aspects of the distribution of 3 Sydney newspapers;

* maintained distribution list of 600 inner city retail outlets for weekly and monthly titles - City Hub, Sydney City News, Bondi View;

* Coordinated delivery of 50,000 copies per month;

* Supervised and audited delivery team of 4 drivers.

Skills - knowledge of inner Sydney retail; communication with staff and contractors; management skills; organisational skills; capacity to meet deadlines.

Reason for leaving - To pursue re-entry into a legal career.

7. Building manager, Turrella Media/Arts Centre, full time, September 2001-July 2002.

Key achievements

* negotiated head lease and sub leases for 15 tenants;

* project managed adaptive re-use of abandoned factory space of 1,500 sqm former Streets Ice Cream Factory;

* managed separation of private, public, work and residential spaces including fire safety and public liability while undertaking significant alterations including re-establishment of all utilities to abandoned site;

* project managed establishment of computer lab for independent media publishing, no dig display organic vegetable garden, art/sound/ tv studio.

Skills - networking in the non profit sector; building and renovation project management skills; legal, budgeting and negotiation skills.

Reason for leaving: Successfully completed set up, fit out and consolidation phase and handed over to business partner to pursue other projects.

8. Reader analyst at Media Monitors Pty Ltd, full time December 1999 to August 2001.Key achievements

* categorise and copy all newspaper articles (1,000+) published overnight in Australia, for distribution same morning to 200+ government, business and NGO clients before 9.00am.

Skills - teamwork in a high demand environment; capacity to meet critical daily deadlines; logistical skills; keyword database interrogation skills; knowledge of social/economic/political institutions and newsprint media sector.

Reason for leaving: Resigned after 2 years night shift work impacting on sleep pattern and fitness.

9. Local Councillor, Bondi Beach Ward, Waverley Council, 1995 to 1999

Key achievements* Successfully lobbied the NSW Environment Protection Agency to close the Waterloo Incinerator in Zetland to facilitate massive Green Square urban redevelopment project;

* Delivered a casting vote for revenue from sale of surplus land at Dover Heights for hypothecation to a $13M Bondi Junction Library complex completed in 1999;

* Protection of Bondi Beach Park from a private heavy rail station (and high rise) proposal in 1997;

*Protection of threatened Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub ecological community, Bondi Junction;

* Member of councils Bondi Safety Committee which resolved rioting trend that arose in the summer of 1995, resulting in an annual structured New Years Eve beach concert and festival.

* Chair of councils Environment Committee;

* Member of councils Finance Committee;

* Member of joint board of directors of Waterloo Incinerator with Woollahra Council;

* Consultation on a monthly basis for 4 years with stakeholders in the development approval and control procedures of council including monthly inspection visits to peoples homes in the company of other councillors and senior staff, and monthly precinct meetings.

Skills - knowledge of local government procedures and regulatory functions; highly developed media skills; consultative approach with stakeholders; strategic political analysis; legal skills (re development approval, planning and land use).

Reasons for leaving: Successfully completed 4 year term and achieved electoral platform.

10. Office manager / project officer - Friends of the Earth, Sydney - part time 1995-2002

Key achievements * represented group at Commission of Inquiry into Visy Pulp mill proposal at Tumut;

* authored submission on Shell oil spill in Sydney Harbour to NSW Parliament;

* lobbied federal treasurer to oppose foreign takeover of Australian owned Woodside Petroleum;

* prepared annual finance reports;

* conducted AGMs and chaired management committee;

* coordinated and supervised fundraising volunteers (cash a can recycling, market stalls, street collection programme);

* administered national meeting of FoE Australia groups at Myall Lakes conference centre;

* successfully lobbied NSW Government to close Waterloo Incinerator;

* organised two public meetings at Sydney Town Hall (2,500 and 2000 people attendance respectively) including liaison with council staff, publicity to ngo community, liaison with politician and celebrity speakers.

Skills - office management; strategic analysis of govt policy relating to natural areas; administration of incorporated association; fundraising; liaison with ngo sector and government; chairing and facilitation skills, publicity skills, budgeting and financial reporting skills.

Reason for leaving: New job.

11. Candidate for state seat of Vaucluse, NSW - December 1994 to March 1995.Key achievement - 10% of the vote as a minor party candidate.

12. NSW Projects and advocacy co-ordinator for The Wilderness Society (NSW) full time January 1993 to December 1994.Key achievements -

* lobbied the NSW Govt and Opposition for protection of NSW wilderness areas under the Wilderness Act (1987) covering an area of 750,000 hectares across 13 areas (implemented by Govt in 1995);

* co-ordinated public submissions (about 40,000) to NSW Government as mandated under the Wilderness Act ;

* supervised publicity stunts in marginal metropolitan seats;

* authored media releases, and newsletter articles for 7,000 TWS members;

* representation of TWS at meetings with the NSW Environment and Forest Ministers, NSW Premier Fahey and Deputy Premier Armstrong, and Directors of the Environment Protection Agency and National Parks & Wildlife Service;

* represented TWS at regional public meetings relating to land use conflicts;

* co-ordinated TWS response to 700+ bushfires in the summer of 1994 including representation to the Parliamentary Inquiry and Coronial Inquiry resulting in no adverse finding against TWS, and publication of related outreach letters in 75% of all newspapers in NSW;

* co-ordinated TWS supporters in logging stoppages in forest heritage in southern NSW e.g. Nalbaugh, Croobyer, Tantawangalo, Badja, Deua, Monga;

* co-ordinating TWS media including drafting of press releases, radio/tv/newsprint interviews, and constant monitoring of electronic media;

* liaison with national and other state branches of TWS and coordinating information and support to 7 regional branches in NSW;

* liaison on a daily basis with peak conservation groups in NSW and Australia.

* member of branch management committee including oversight of commercial retail lease in Pitt St Mall;

* member of EPA State of the Environment Report biodiversity working group 1994.

Skills - strategic analysis of govt policy relating to natural areas, media engagement and presentation, grassroots membership communication and outreach; liaison with green ngo sector and government; consultation skills; publicity skills.

Reason for leaving: New job as candidate in state election.

13. Parliamentary research officer for Clover Moore MP, NSW Parliament, full time temporary, Spring session, September to October, 1992.

Key achievements * Contributed to the overall cohesion, stability and performance of cross bench MPs in a hung NSW Parliament;

* Successfully co-ordinated submissions to the Legislative Committee into Clover Moore MPs South East Forest Protection Bill resulting in a majority report in favour of the Bill;

* Advice to cross bench MPs on Electricity Corporations Bill 1992, National Parks Amendment Bill 1992 and many other Bills;

* Prepared succinct briefs synthesising diverse advice of lobbyists, govt and opposition MPs and staff, parliamentary counsel, Bills Digest Officer and community stakeholders;

* Worked as a team member managing constituent problems in an MP electorate office.

Skills - co-ordination of evidence of key stakeholders; drafting of correspondence; liaison with ngo stakeholder groups; research and analysis of socio-economics; consultation with lobbyists and media.

Reason for leaving: Successfully completed support for Legislative Committee into MP private members bill, and wanted to complete project commenced at The Wilderness Society.

14. Volunteer researcher for non profit groups in Sydney - January to August 1992

Key achievements:* Managed thousands of public submissions under the procedure in the Wilderness Act 1987 (enacted with bipartisan support);

* representation at the NSW Commission of Inquiry hearings on protection of Camden Haven River near Port Macquarie;

* Explanatory note on new Swimming Pool Act 1992;

* first conservation order by NSW Environment Minister under the Endangered Fauna Interim Protection Act 1991.

15. Solicitor with Baker & McKenzie, Sydney, Sept 1990 to December 1991

Key achievements

* preparation of 500 page bill of costs and supporting affidavits in test case before the Federal Court on the efficacy of the billable hour for corporate law services;

* management of mass volumes of documentary evidence (240 boxes);

* analysis of conflicting trust deeds in team reading group;

* publication of legal note on construction law;

* briefing counsel.

Skills - experience of corporate litigation environment; dictaphone use, drafting and swearing of affidavits; interviewing clients; legal research; drafting correspondence, working in a team environment.

Reason for leaving: Firm cut 10 lawyer positions in the economic downturn of late 1991. I received a $10,000 gratuity.

Referees

Shane Prince, barrister, State Chambers tel. (02) 9223 1522; and

David Stewart, barrister Level Nine Wentworth Chambers tel. (02) 8815 9200.

Paul Bodisco, barrister, Ada Evans Chambers tel. (02) 9283 6230, 0426 825760

Appendix A - Details of other legal experience

a) 2007-2010 - Legal tutor/next friend for disabled person in Family Provision Act claim in Sekers v Sekers in the NSW Supreme Court, assisting Pam Suttor, of L Rundle & Co. Judgment for $2M on 14/2/2010 vis a vis 11 other claimants. Liaison with legal centre referral services, initiated contact with Guardianship Tribunal, gathered evidence, liaison with counsel;

b) 2008 - Court agent pro bono for applicant in Diamond v Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd & Hawkesbury City Council (2008) NSW LEC;

c) 2009 - Agent for intervener Diamond in David Kettle Consulting [agent for Coca Cola Amatil] v Gosford City Council 10429 of 2005. Includes application for joinder, affidavits, liaison with community groups, submissions re s.96AA of Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 ;

d) April-June 2008 - Civil rights wrongful arrest advice, appearance Local Court, submission withdraw charge pro bono ;

f) Jan Feb 2008: 20 and 40 page submissions to NSW Dept of Planning re sand mining proposals at Maroota 45 km north west of Sydney re expert evidence of intrusion into aquifer, application of Water Act 1912 and/or Water Act 2000, Rivers & Foreshores Improvement Act, Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 part 3A major development regime;

g) Sept Nov 2007, appearance for client on drink driving traffic offence Local Court;

h) In 2003, paralegal support industrial relations 5 day wrongful dismissal case Boers v South Sydney Council;

j) 2001- 2002 attend call over re commercial debt NSW District Court for relaunch of Alternative Media Group;

k) July 1998 attend amicus curiae individually for 120 conservationists (mass arrest, handful of contested bail); legal advice on protest charges based on land tenure (e.g. authorised by native title holder) at NT uranium mine; construct database for 300 + files in 3 week project including delegation to NT Legal Aid and local profession;

l) 1997 appear pro bono for unlicensed driving charge for film maker colleague, 2 of 4 charges dropped;

m) 1995 appear for indecent language charge of protester, no conviction recorded;

n) 1993-94 analyse innumerable Acts of NSW Parliament relating to land tenure including Endangered Fauna (Interim Protection) Act 1992, Timber Industry (Interim Protection) Act 1993, South East Forest Protection Bill 1991 (private members Bill) ;

o) As NSW Projects and Advocacy Coordinator for The Wilderness Society 1993-4: Analyse NSW Wilderness Act 1987, draw submissions on 13 areas (750K ha) for legal identification and conservation, coordinate mass public outreach electoral strategy contributing to change of state of government;

p) in house solicitor for Baker & McKenzie for debt recovery $600K in Federal Court 90-91 Burgundy Royale Case (1992) 37 FCR 492 before J Einfeld versus former client Datuk Tan Sri Wong (Darwin Casino developer). Preparation of bill of costs (2 vol, 4 inches thick) range of affidavits of legal service providers, swearing same, service of same on hostile major firm (Blake Dawson Waldron), junior instructing solicitor to barrister. Case validated billable hours concept in high end corporate law sector;

q) Trademarks examiner for 6 months in the Commonwealth public service 1987.

Thomas' sporting trophies from his younger years.
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Thomas strives for excellence in the law just as he has in competitive sport.
















 
















Telephone:   0410 558838
Email:            tmsolicitor@tpg.com.au
Web:              www.thomasmsolicitor.com
ABN:              50 634 794 495
Address:       Mosman NSW 2088 Australia