A young Riverina lawyer has been recognised as one of the country’s leading legal professionals for the second year running.
Patrick Dawson, principal of Patrick Dawson Law in Narrandera, was named as a finalist in the category of Regional/Suburban Lawyer of the Year at the nationwide Australian Law Awards.
Mr Dawson was born and bred in Narrandera before moving to Wollongong to complete his studies. He practised in Wollongong and on the South Coast for several years before deciding to return to his roots in 2019, a decision that is already paying dividends.
“I chose to return to the Riverina because it just has so many more opportunities, and it was familiar territory,” he said.
“It’s a lot more hands-on here … and there is a strong sense of collegiality and working towards a common goal.”
His office, which also assists clients in Griffith, Leeton, Temora, Lockhart and throughout the Riverina, offers family, property and commercial law services as well as dispute resolution and estate planning.
Julia Puntoriero, a family law solicitor who works with Mr Dawson, says the Riverina has been enriched by his return.
“Patrick Dawson practises law in many legal areas and he primarily practises in kindness and understanding,” she said.
“His cult following is due to his accessibility and proficiency in assisting his clients in both an efficient and effective way, whilst demystifying difficult concepts and legal processes for them.
“Patrick has filled a gap in the country legal practices that has raised the bar on how matters are dealt with and he is a credit to his community and the Riverina.
“His nomination is exciting and I hope he gets the recognition he deserves.”
Mr Dawson is the only Riverina finalist in his category in 2023, as he was last year.
“To be named again as a finalist for the same category is incredibly humbling,” he said. “This year’s finalist list is as impressive as last year’s, so I have some tough competition again.
“We practise with the intention of creating long-lasting social impact for our community. So the past 12 months has really been about how we can best support people, staff and clients, as they navigate a world of uncertainty in so many areas of their lives post-COVID.”
It’s not surprising to hear the key piece of advice he’d offer to young legal students.
“Explore regional areas, because there are a lot of hidden opportunities,” he said.
In the past, graduates tended to gravitate towards big cities, where there were more opportunities for upskilling and professional development. But the young lawyer said this had changed.
“Online learning makes staying in regional areas a lot more achievable.”
Mr Dawson will now join legal peers at the Australian Law Awards finals ceremony in Sydney on 11 August.
The Australian Law Awards, presented by the media outlet Lawyers Weekly, assess nominees on criteria such as growth, business development, diversity, leadership, innovation, business excellence and contribution to Australia’s legal sector. The awards are open to all individuals and organisations operating in Australia supporting the business of law.