EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE
Lauren has a background in statutory insurance lines including ACT workers compensation and ACT / NSW compulsory third party claims. She has a particular interest and focus in the areas of public liability, professional indemnity, and health law, working for health professionals in relation to personal injury negligence claims, complaints to disciplinary bodies, and coronial inquests.
In addition to her main practice areas, Lauren has experience with human rights claims involving discrimination, and employment matters ranging from disciplinary issues to contractual disputes.
Lauren brings a sense of maturity and depth to her practice, having previously achieved qualifications in marketing and management, and applying these skills in the real estate industry for over 8 years prior to making the change to law and commencing her career at Moray & Agnew.
Lauren has a high aptitude for solving complex legal problems and managing files with reference to client expectations of timely commercial resolutions. She is a trusted advisor, regularly consulted by clients and brokers for ad-hoc advice, and with jurisdictional and procedural queries.
A forensically diligent litigator, Lauren is dedicated to her work and is invested in resolving each matter as quickly and efficiently as possible, achieving the best possible outcome for her clients. Her legal and negotiation skills are well respected within the legal community by colleagues, barristers and clients alike. Lauren was recently nominated (and was a finalist) for best deal maker of the year at the ACT Insurance Awards.
Lauren has a reputation for working hard to resolve matters regardless of the various barriers that might arise. On the occasions that matters proceed to a contested hearing, Lauren is adept at undertaking comprehensive evidential and general preparation to ensure that her clients are represented to the best of her ability, always keeping in mind that opportunities to resolve remain available.
Of the matters that have proceeded to hearing, Lauren has been able to successfully negotiate a resolution in over 60% of her matters prior to completion of the hearing. This included a multi-party catastrophic claim early in her career, where Lauren’s thorough preparation and aptitude in instructing senior counsel assisted in achieving settlement of five separate claims.
One of Lauren’s primary objectives when representing her clients in medical negligence claims is to protect the reputation of the practitioner, whilst balancing the interests of the insurer. During the course of one particular claim, the co-defendant to proceedings took an unrealistic position during negotiations, resulting in the matter proceeding to hearing. As a result of her proficient matter preparation, the other defendant capitulated at hearing, providing an opportunity to resolve the claim on favourable terms for her client, as well as avoid the need for her practitioner client to give evidence in court.
More recently, Lauren represented an insurer in a claim involving interesting and complex arguments about the scope of an ACT workers compensation policy and whether it extended to cover independent contractual liabilities. Despite the other defendant making such a novel claim, Lauren was able to negotiate an outstanding result for her client, avoiding a protracted contested hearing.
Nominated and named as a finalist for best deal maker of the year at the 2020 ACT Insurance Awards.
Lauren Smith and Suzanne Sharwood, ‘Show Me the Money: Navigating Compensation Delays’ (2017) 141 Precedent – Australian Lawyers Alliance.