Gillian specialises in general commercial insurance with deep expertise in liability claims. As a senior partner, Gillian leads Sparke Helmore’s national liability team of over 50 lawyers.
Regularly acknowledged in legal directories, Gillian was most recently recognised in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific edition 2022, where she was valued as "extremely experienced and [someone who] always gets to the crux of the matter".
Gillian is passionate about the contribution that policies related to Diversity and Inclusion make to the wellbeing of employees and clients. She is the Chair of the firm's Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee. Her commitment to the promotion and development of women is well known. She is the founding partner of the firms Six Degrees Network, which provides leadership, mentoring and networking opportunities highlighting the inclusion of women. She has also been a member of the firm’s Board.
Gillian is the current Chair of Global Insurance Law Connect (GILC). GILC is a diverse global network of boutique law firms with insurance expertise. Each member firm is embedded into its own insurance market and has deep local knowledge, aimed at helping clients with complex cross-border legal challenges. Each of the member firms has a real passion for the industry; the network consists of 21 firms in 23 countries spread across five continents, and the footprint touches every area of insurance law.
What she does
Gillian advises on the full range of personal injury matters. In addition, her portfolio includes abuse and intentional tort claims, worker to worker or labour hire claims, property damage and subrogated recovery claims. She also advises on policy response and coverage disputes.
Gillian works closely with her clients helping them to identify and achieve their objectives, which often include reducing their organisational risk, claims and legal costs.
She advises across a range of industry groups, including hospitality, leisure, security, law enforcement, not for profit, faith-based organisations, retail, construction, infrastructure, telecommunications and energy.
Gillian is an active participant in many industry bodies, including the NSW Claims Discussion Group, Women in Insurance and the Australian Insurance Law Association.
Gillian is a sought-after speaker and regularly leads the debate on important issues in the insurance industry, combining this with her passionate advocacy for diversity and inclusion. Gillian was a panellist at the Women in Insurance Summit 2023 contributing her thoughts on the best strategies for fighting burnout and fatigue, and prioritising a culture that supports wellbeing. Gillian also moderated a panel session at this year's Dive In Festival about how organisations can support more girls and women into STEM careers.
In acknowledging her leadership in diversity and inclusion, Gillian was the recipient of a Highly Commended in the Diversity & Inclusion category in Chambers Asia Pacific 2021. Under her stewardship as Chair of the firm's Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee, Sparke Helmore has been recognised by Insurance Business as a 5* Employer of Choice and appointed as a WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (2018-2023) and a Diversity Council Australia Inclusive Employer (2019-2022).
Who she works with
Gillian advises many major Australian and international insurers, underwriters, brokers, third party claims handlers and statutory authorities while also working with government agencies and large corporates with retained deductibles. She maintains a large London practice representing London market syndicates operating in Australia.
Gillian has had significant involvement advising clients across several Royal Commissions and currently advises institutions and insurers concerning abuse claims.
What her clients say
“She’s very good to deal with. She listens. Her follow-up shows true commitment.”
“Easy to deal with. We have frank and open discussions.”
“Approachable. I like the way she operates. Training provided was fantastic.”
“She always comes back to me with a strategy if I have a problem or query. She is responsive to all our needs, not just legal but business needs too, such as resourcing.”
“Responsive, practical and straightforward.”
Gillian has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts degree from Macquarie University. She is also a Graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Life before Sparkes
Gillian is an insurance tragic having worked in the sector her whole career, including during her 20+ years with Sparke Helmore.
Life outside of Sparkes
Gillian finds any and every excuse to travel and also loves the arts in all forms. She’ll stop at nothing to track down a writers’, film or literary festival and relishes the joy that comes with immersing herself in diverse genres.
Gillian has spent decades sitting on not-for-profit, faith based, school and medical research boards and encourages women in particular to say “yes” to these opportunities.
|2023|||Hot List of influential people in the Insurance Industry | Insurance Business|
|2023|||Insurance Business Global 100 List | Insurance Business|
|2022|||Hot List of influential people in the Insurance Industry | Insurance Business|
|2022 - 2017|||Listed | Recommended for Commercial Insurance law | The Legal 500 Asia Pacific|
|2021|||Elite Women in Insurance | Insurance Business|
|2021|||Highly Commended | Diversity and Inclusion | Chambers Asia Pacific|
|2019|||Finalist | Best Partner | Australian Law Awards|
|2018 - 2017|||Finalist| Insurance Partner of the Year | Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards|
|2019|||Recommended | Doyle’s Guide|
|2018|||Listed | Chambers & Partners|
|2016 - 2017|||Finalist | Insurance Partner of the Year | Legal 500 Asia|