June 2014


Lawyer seeks better image for insurance law

Anthony Hillary with his wife, Eve, and their daughter, Miriam.

AILA national board member Anthony Hillary wants universities to espouse the benefits of working in insurance.

“It’s a shame I didn’t learn more about the industry while I was at university,” he told Resolve. “We need to communicate to students and new graduates what it means to be in the industry and what it means to be an insurance lawyer.”

He said many law graduates interested in litigation were attracted to commercial litigation, overlooking insurance, “which is a big mistake”.

“They should [be told] it’s one of the best areas of litigation to work in, for both the variety and quality of the work. The perception of insurance for those leaving university needs to be recast.”

Anthony said he always wanted to work in litigation, but had not planned a career in insurance law. “In the beginning, like many people, I didn’t appreciate the depth and range of experience in civil and commercial disputes insurance law could offer me.”

He is passionate about insurance law and the industry, saying it offers “arguably unparalleled opportunities in litigation. Working in insurance allows me to deal with a significant volume of matters and work with an extraordinary range of people”.

Anthony said insurance law was “a tremendously interesting and rewarding field of litigation”.

“As an industry, its importance is even greater. Without insurance, a lot of businesses could not operate. Its influence and reference to society and the economy is vast and the opportunities impressive.” 

Anthony wants to encourage interest in the industry among young professionals.

The Adelaide-based Lawson Smith partner said he has enjoyed every minute of his decade-long involvement with AILA.

He is grateful for the knowledge he has gained, the opportunities presented, and the people he has met through the association.

Anthony joined in 2004, “after hearing about AILA’s reputation in insurance-based education”.

As a national board and SA committee member, he helps “maintain AILA’s industry presence”.

“AILA remains the premier insurance-law-focused education organisation. It has an important role in spreading knowledge throughout the industry, providing networking opportunities, and educating people about developments in the industry and insurance law.”

Anthony looks forward to attending the annual national conferences, having made many friends among regular attendees.

The 2010 national conference, hosted by SA, was a highlight, partly because Anthony was state chair at the time. He said it was a great challenge and “wonderful to show the national industry what SA could do”.

Anthony was SA chair from 2008 to 2012 and joined the national board at the 2012 AGM. He “enjoys the challenges and experiences of being on the board”.

“Being involved with AILA is a terrific opportunity to develop and maintain friendships and professional relationships over a broad section of the industry. The association offers a whole raft of things for people throughout their careers.”

Anthony’s wife, Eve, is a commercial litigator. They have a three-year-old daughter, Miriam. The family loves travelling, particularly to big cities.

Outside work, Anthony watches test cricket and is a Port Adelaide supporter in the Australian Football League. He no longer plays organised sport but enjoys "going for the odd run".

Asked who he admires most within the industry, Anthony said: “People who have been in the industry for many years and have indescribable knowledge about the profession.”

He wants to see AILA grow, “reassert itself as the premier provider of legal education and encourage new members, particularly young professionals in SA."

“I would like young people in the industry to feel the same sense of camaraderie I felt when I joined,” he told Resolve.