Lead Counsel
LLB, BCom, BA (Monash University)

Current practice

Sara manages, and provides strategic guidance to, teams responsible for a range of litigation matters involving the State of Victoria.  Reporting to the Assistant Victorian Government Solicitor in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution branch, Sara ensures the provision of high quality legal services to our clients, provides leadership to members of the Branch and looks for new and improved ways of delivering outcomes to government.

Experience

Sara is an experienced litigator who worked in private practice for 20 years prior to joining the VGSO - initially at Middletons lawyers (now K&L Gates) and subsequently in the internationally recognised class actions and product safety team at Clayton Utz.    

Her legal experience includes:

  • the defence of a number of class actions (representative proceedings) relating to the use of allegedly defective products including the Vioxx litigation (which involved allegations of cardiovascular injuries arising from the use of a pharmaceutical). Sara's roles in these matters included leading teams of lawyers undertaking discovery of documents, the preparation of evidence (including drafting the witness statements) and working with counsel to prepare for trial;
  • the defence of a shareholder class action involving allegations of breaches of continuous disclosure obligations and misleading & deceptive conduct;
  • litigation involving allegations of negligence and the breach of product safety provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and Australian Consumer Law;
  • coronial inquests including a death occurring in immigration detention;
  • providing advice relating to product safety and product recalls and issues relating to Food Standards; 
  • defending WorkCover claims on behalf of the Victorian WorkCover Authority; 
  • representing the Victorian Department of Housing in public liability claims; and
  • representing the Victorian Manages Insurance Agency in the defence of medical negligence cases brought against Victorian public hospitals.

Sara also has experience in Legal Project Management (LPM) and completed a LPM certification workshop in 2018.  She assisted a team involved in Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

Sara enjoys mentoring junior lawyers and identifying ways for them to develop and reach their potential. She has been involved in various diversity initiatives, was on Clayton Utz's Diversity Council and co-led its Melbourne office's gender equality initiative for a number of years.  Sara also participated in the Committee for Melbourne's Future Focus Group (civic leadership) program in 2014-2015 and is a member of Swinburne University's External Law Advisory Committee.

Memberships and professional associations

  • Law Institute of Victoria
  • Victorian Women Lawyers