Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award

IBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

Sponsored by  

The IBA Young Lawyers’ Committee, in recognition of William Reece JR, annually present an award to a young lawyer who has shown not only excellence in their work and achievements in their career to date, but also a commitment to professional and ethical standards.

Application details


Each year, the IBA’s Young Lawyers’ Committee present an award to a young lawyer who has shown not only excellence in their work and achievements in their career to date, but also a commitment to professional and ethical standards as well as a commitment to the larger community.

The award created in partnership with the IBA and LexisNexis is in recognition of William Reece Smith Jr. A former IBA President, William Reece Smith Jr, who passed away in 2013, distinguished himself as one the finest and most respected legal experts. In a career spanning more than 50 years, he demonstrated leadership in the legal profession as an accomplished lawyer, an extensively published legal scholar and lecturer, a mentor and an outstanding community servant. In addition, Mr Smith exemplified a commitment to advancing many charitable and civic causes, most notably in his support for legal services to the poor. LexisNexis is delighted to sponsor an award in his name to recognise a young lawyer who has demonstrated outstanding professionalism.

LexisNexis was honoured to establish this award in collaboration with the IBA Young Lawyers’ Committee in 2018 and hopes the winner will accept the Award in person during the IBA’s Annual Conference. LexisNexis sponsorship provides a contribution of $5,500 USD to their attendance.

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The nominations for this award are now closed. The winner of the award will be announced at the IBA Annual Conference in Rome, 07-12 October 2018, and any shortlisted candidates will be published below. The next opportunity to apply for the IBA Annual Outstanding Young Lawyer Award will be in 2019, please click here if you would like to be informed when the award will be open for nominations.

Shortlisted Candidates 2018


Claudine Adeyemi

Apart from the recognition Claudine attracts in her real estate practice, her extra-curricular activities are testament to her strong commitment to giving back to society. These activities include several inspiring initiatives with a clear social justice objective. For example, she founded The Students Development Co., a non-profit organization which provides career-related support to young people from less privileged backgrounds; she launched the mobile app Career Ear, which allows young people to obtain career advice from professionals; and she actively pressured the legal industry to tackle racism—e.g. by writing an open letter to the Law Society. The impressive catalog of motivating projects in which Claudine is actively involved makes her deserving of a place in this shortlist.


Kay K. W. Chan

Kay, a barrister from Hong Kong, has made a commendable effort in supporting NGOs on a pro bono basis including Liberty Asia, an NGO whose mission is to combat Human Trafficking and end “Modern Slavery”. He has given up his own time to assist as counsel for vulnerable persons (particularly foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong) in cases of wage deduction, suspected debt bondage and human trafficking schemes. More specifically, together with Liberty Asia, he organised the first counter-trafficking training in Hong Kong for lawyers, judges, law enforcements officers, and health practitioners, and has done so over the last few years. Kay was appointed by the Hong Kong Judiciary as a Deputy Special Magistrate at the early age of 30 and later as a Deputy Magistrate on two other occasions. Being one of the prime movers of Collaborative Practice/Collaborative Law in Asia, Kay is the youngest Collaborative Professional and the first from Asia ever appointed to the Board of Directors of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Kay is also the Chair of the Law Alumni Association of the School of Law of the City University of Hong Kong. Among other outstanding contributions, he reinstated the Alumni Mentoring Scheme in 2011 and has been in charge of the running and the reform of the scheme since. His notable achievements are more than enough to choose him as one of the finalists for the award.


Alfonso Lamadrid de Pablo

As a competition and antitrust lawyer, Alfonso has transformed the profile and perception of his firm Garrigues’ office in Belgium, which is emerging as a leading boutique involved in complex cases before the European Commission. He co-founded and currently runs a very popular blog on EU competition law that is a tool widely consulted by experts in the field. Also, he annually organises a non-profit conference that contributes to various civil causes, such as raising funds for “We Exist”, an NGO created and managed by Syrian refugees. Alfonso is nominated as one of the finalists this year because of his leadership in his area of practice and his contribution to social causes.


Niusha Ghasemi

Due to Iranian regulations and as a consequence of his humanitarian and pro bono activates, Niusha was not able to pursue his passion in life and therefore moved out of Iran—his country of origin. After starting a new life in the Netherlands, he was able to finish his law studies with specialisations in Public International Law, International Humanitarian Law, and Human Rights Law. His work in Iran included initiating and coordinating a group to stop the application of the death penalty to under-aged detainees. He held an internship position at the Trial Chambers of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he assisted the Judges and the legal team with the Ntaganda case concerning alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His ability to cope with very difficult circumstances without losing sight of his goal to assist persons affected by human rights violations ensures his place as one of the award´s finalists.


Mahesh Rai

Mahesh’s commitment to improving the lives of others dates back to 2004 when he led a team of students to raise funds to construct a primary school building in Cambodia. He continued to serve the community by representing more than 60 indigent accused persons in criminal proceedings and those facing the death penalty on a pro bono basis and assisting Khmer Rouge victims in Cambodia in seeking reparation. He also mentors younger lawyers as part of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators’ mentorship scheme. His inspiring contributions to society have in turn inspired the judging panel to include him in the candidates´ shortlist.


Nabeel Rehman

In addition to co-founding his own law firm three years ago and acting as the head of its Corporate Department, Nabeel dedicates his talent to support his community. Nabeel´s work in pro bono cases related to family matters and his solid knowledge of the laws of Pakistan motivated his appointment as Pro Bono UNHCR counsel under the Advice & Legal Aid Center (ALAC Project) in Pakistan. Through the ALAC Project, he provides legal services to Afghan refugees. He has also been engaged by the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum, an organization that works with NGOs delivering humanitarian assistance and development projects in Pakistan. Heacts as legal adviser for many NGOs in Pakistan, such as Save the Children, Islamic Relief, Muslim Hands, among others. He has been included in the shortlist of candidates because of his dedication to pro bono work and the assistance he provides to under-privileged population groups.


Previous Winners


Congratulations to Malene Alleyne, winner of the 2017 Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award!

Congratulations to Remy Choo, winner of the 2016 Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award!

Congratulations to Federica D'Alessandra, winner of the 2015 Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award!

Congratulations to Maria Belen Espineira, winner of the 2014 Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award!

Congratulations to Alberto Mata, winner of the 2013 Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award!