Herbert Smith Freehills Executive Counsel, Leone Costigan, has been announced the 2020 winner of the firm’s Keith Steele Pro Bono Leadership Medal. The Medal, which recognises individuals from within the firm who have made an outstanding contribution to the pro bono sector, was established in 2011 to honour the memory and vision of Keith Steele, a lauded former Freehills partner and founding member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.
Keith was a senior litigator and also held executive positions within the firm. Keith was also a passionate leader in the pro bono practice, and among many of his fine achievements, he co-founded the firm’s Pro Bono Committee in Sydney and The Shopfront Youth Legal Centre.
Leone, who joined the firm’s real estate team in 2003, received the medal in recognition of her longstanding pro bono contribution dedicated to improving access to justice for disadvantaged members of the Brisbane community. This leadership is reflected in the work she has done for many years to assist charitable institutions such as the Saint Vincent de Paul Society Queensland, Youngcare and Ronald McDonald House.
Leone’s impact in the Brisbane community extends beyond her pro bono work – she has been a longstanding member of the Brisbane Community Committee and responsible for the firm's relationship with Ronald McDonald House.
In announcing the Keith Steele Pro Bono Leadership Medal winner for 2020, Herbert Smith Freehills partner and Chair of the Global Pro Bono and Citizenship Council, Sue Gilchrist, said Leone’s leadership shines through the impact and quality of work delivered on all of her pro bono matters.
“Not only has Leone achieved positive outcomes for our pro bono clients, she also sees the value in exposing junior colleagues to pro bono work, allowing them to develop their skills as lawyers and give back to the community from the outset of their careers. Previous graduates under Leone’s supervision and guidance have communicated their appreciation of the autonomy Leone affords them in running pro bono matters, allowing them to gain valuable experience.”
Sue continued, “I want to thank Leone for her leadership and ongoing efforts.”
Herbert Smith Freehills Australian Pro Bono Senior Associate, Stephen Somerville, said “Although her contributions are significant, Leone is humble in her endeavours and the majority of people may be unaware of just how significant her contributions have been over the years.”
“This award provides Leone with the recognition she deserves and raises further awareness of her leadership.”