About Ashurst Alumni

Alumni news

Catch up on the latest news about Ashurst and Blake Dawson alumni.

The PDF server is offline. Please try after sometime.


Huge congratulations to former London lawyer Jules Widdowson (née Johnston) who completed the Half Marathon des Sables in October (HMdS), a punishing 3-stage ultramarathon in one of the world's most inhospitable environments – the Moroccan Sahara. Jules came in 24th overall and was the 5th female (and 1st Brit!) to cross the finish line.

Jules is now preparing for the infamous full Marathon des Sables this month, a race which comprises six back-to-back marathons across the Sahara. Readers of our alumni yearbook may remember that Jules had planned to compete in the 2020 race, which was postponed due to the pandemic. Jules is once again ready to take on the challenge of "the toughest footrace on earth" and will be raising funds for Walking With The Wounded, a charity set up to help vulnerable military veterans reintegrate into society and become independent again.

"It’s a long haul and lots of winter training miles to get to the start line of the MdS. It won’t be easy covering 250 km in the heat, carrying and living out of my rucksack either. A big motivation is to raise funds for this charity and help the veterans it supports – your support will be very much appreciated.”

You can support Jules's fundraising efforts by donating here.


Michael Rice (Brisbane Lawyer / Melbourne Senior Associate until 2015) has recently taken on the role of Value Chains, Trade & Investment Lead at ClientEarth, a global environmental law charity headquartered in London. Michael has enjoyed a varied career since leaving Ashurst, including working for the United Nations in New York, the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Both ENDS in Amsterdam, and now ClientEarth in Brussels.

Michael, what excites you most about your new position at ClientEarth?

Having a tangible impact on the fight for the future of life on Earth. I really believe the law is one of the best tools available to the environmental movement, and ClientEarth is full of brilliant, ambitious and hard-working lawyers exploring every opportunity to use – and change – the law in the fight for our future. It's exciting to be part of that.

And what is the most challenging aspect of your role?

Deciding where and how to invest our time and energy. In the NGO world there is never a shortage of work. There are so many things about our global economic system that must change in significant ways if we are to avoid climate and ecological collapse. That can be overwhelming. It can be hard to push aside the cacophony of bad news to figure out where ClientEarth needs to focus and what we should do to have the biggest impact. But once we make those choices, there's no stopping us.

You decided to leave the world of corporate law for the pro bono sector. Do you have any words of wisdom for other lawyers looking to do the same?

Don't wait! Life is too short to spend your working life helping big companies make bigger profits. There is so much more you could be contributing. We need all hands on deck in the fight for the future. It may feel like a leap of faith but, trust me, you don't need to see the whole path ahead, just take that first step.



Harvey Kaye (London Projects Solicitor until 2018) has recently taken on the role of Senior Counsel, Product Development, at global workspace provider WeWork. Harvey joined the company in 2019 after completing a secondment as Legal Counsel at China General Nuclear Power Engineering Company Ltd.

Harvey, tell us a bit about your latest role at WeWork?

My new role is focused on launching, scaling and developing our global product range as we continue to provide flexible solutions for all the ways in which our members want to work. Some of the products I cover are WeWork All Access (monthly subscription to coworking spaces around the world), WeWork On Demand (pay-as-you-go workspaces) and WeWork Business Address (a professional business address service with post and package handling).

Do you have any advice for lawyers looking to move in-house?

Be prepared to translate legal expertise and requirements into real, practical day-to-day advice. It's essential to have a can-do, solutions-focused approach to everything especially when faced with complex issues.


Adrian Wong (Melbourne Senior Associate until 2006) was recently appointed as Chief Legal Officer and Company Secretary at OFX, a global foreign exchange and payments company based in Australia. Adrian has enjoyed an illustrious career since leaving Ashurst, including senior roles at General Electric and TRUenergy (now EnergyAustralia). He joins OFX from Latitude Financial Services where he was General Counsel and Company Secretary for the last seven years.

Adrian, what excites you most about your new role?

I’m very excited to join an organisation that is well established (it was started by a couple of guys in a Sydney Northern Beaches garage over 20 years ago) but is relatively small in size, so the work I do will (hopefully!) have a meaningful impact. It’s also a global business, with eight offices around the world – so getting back to multi-jurisdictional work will be a good challenge for me (as will managing the various timezones). The culture of an organisation is more important to me than it probably was earlier on in my career – and OFX seems to have that sorted.

What are the biggest challenges in 2023?

I think the economic environment will be a challenge for many organisations – we’ve never before seen the rapid rise in interest rates worldwide – and, for a financial services business, this is a huge consideration in terms of corporate and consumer confidence. Cybersecurity and data risk is also something we haven’t seen until recent years – with increasing regulation, and the risk of massive reputational damage if you get this wrong.

Do you have any advice for those looking to be appointed to a Board position?

I think the most important thing is to be clear about your role as a director and the distinction between management and the Board. Especially with today's greater focus on director liability and class actions, it’s very important to know and understand the risks of a business, and also take a proportionate approach to being conservative or risk-taking while not overly constraining the growth ambitions of an organisation. The best directors I’ve worked with are clear on how they can help a business: it requires a strong management team and an awareness that the Board sets the tone and guidance for the organisation.



Congratulations to former partner Joanna Jenkins (Brisbane 2006–19) on the release of her debut novel How to Kill a Client.

Joanna's first novel is a twisting tale about murder set in a backstabbing legal firm, and was described by Goodreads as "a gripping thriller from a bold new voice about misogyny, corruption and the legal industry".

Joanna, we're almost afraid to ask, what inspired your book?

I wanted to write a book about corporate culture, but I knew that the target audience (you people) are so busy you need a cracking plot to get you turning the pages. So I thought I’d invent a character – a client – who was so awful everybody wished him, if not dead, at least not there. (That’s not a spoiler. He’s dead on the first page.)

How long did it take you to complete, and what did it feel like to finish your first novel?

It took about a year to write the book and then about three and a half years to sell it. The elation came when I finally got an agent, because once that happened I had a publishing contract with Allen & Unwin fairly quickly.

All the stories you hear about the slush pile and rejections are true. I finally cracked it when two journalists I know taught me how to write a good pitch email.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

When I was five. My parents thought I was a prodigy, until they realised the novels I was apparently reading out loud to them were upside down. I was making it up.

Do you have any other writing projects in the pipeline at the moment?

Yes. While waiting to get an agent (and losing all hope I would ever get one), I started work on other books – and finished a draft in the 18 months between signing the publishing contract and the book's release. Hopefully my second novel will be released next year.

Where can our alumni purchase a copy of your book?

In Australia, it's available in all bookstores. People keep sending me photos of it in airports. In other countries, I’m not sure. Perhaps you could lure an Australian friend into sending one over. Or, if you know a publisher, get them to publish it in your country. That's what in mediation parlance would be called a win/win outcome.


 Check out our jobs board>>

Alumni referral reward

Do you know someone who is looking for new opportunities that you would like to recommend to the Firm? The Ashurst referral scheme, (which includes our Ashurst Advance Reach consultant referral scheme), is extended to our alumni based in the UK & Australia. You could receive a reward of retail vouchers for referring successful candidates for career opportunities.

For more information about the scheme and how to qualify for the Alumni Referral Reward email the alumni team (conditions apply).

Our alumni news page keeps you up to date with the achievements and successes of our global alumni community. NIKKI SPENCE, ALUMNI MANAGER


Alumni contact

If you have any questions or you need to update your contact details, please email or get in touch with Nikki.



        Forgot password? Please contact your relationship manager to find out more about our client portal.

        Forgot Password - Ashurst Account

        If you have forgotten your password, you can request a new one here.
        Ashurst Loader