Kot Monoah has won the Law Institute of Victoria’s Rising Star award ahead of nine of the state’s brightest young lawyers, including three of his Slater and Gordon colleagues.
Mr Monoah, who is also the Chairman of the South Sudanese Community Association of Victoria, took out the award at a ceremony at Docklands on Friday 19 May.
He has been with the firm for almost seven years – working out of Slater and Gordon’s Sunshine office – specialising in workers compensation matters and exhibiting amazing leadership, knowledge and compassion for his clients.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers Anna Jennings-Edquist, Marko Eric and Tara Stark were also nominated for the award.
Criteria for the award included:
- Making outstanding contributions to the general community through involvement in voluntary and cause-related legal work.
- Demonstrating professional excellence in legal practice through quality legal services, client relations, innovative programs and use of technology/innovation to deliver legal services.
- Promoting, encouraging or influencing students, graduates of practitioners pursuing a legal career.
- Demonstrating outstanding leadership or innovation through development or involvement in initiatives and programs designed for emerging lawyers.
Mr Monoah gave a moving speech on the night paying tribute to his colleagues, highlighting his extraordinary achievements as well as his struggles fleeing a war-torn country before arriving in Australia with his family as a refugee 13 years ago.
“This truly is a wonderful honour, but above all else, my colleagues make it a worthwhile experience to contribute globally in law and outside the law,” Mr Monoah said.
“The difference we make every day can never be possible without working for a company with values that reflect your own as an individual.”
At the age of four, Mr Monoah’s family fled a civil war in South Sudan after his home town was attacked, regularly dodging bullets during his formative years.
By the age of seven the family sought refuge in Ethiopia before spending the following 12 years living in horrific conditions in a Kenyan refugee camp.
The family was eventually given humanitarian visas allowing them to move to Australia.
Slater and Gordon State Practice Group Leader Joanne Panagakis was also awarded a Certificate of Service at the ceremony to recognise her professional excellence and contribution to the legal profession, the Law Institute of Victoria and the community.