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Suzanne Wallace

Partner

Sydney

+61 2 9234 4536

A highly experienced professional indemnity insurance lawyer, specialising in claims against medical professionals and institutions. She is known for her strategic and sensitive handling of complex claims in order to achieve the best outcome.

EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE

Suzanne has extensive experience in acting for a range of professionals, particularly in the financial, property and medical areas. Following the GFC, Suzanne’s major focus was on the financial lines area involving financial institutions, accountants, financial advisers and planners and brokers.

Suzanne regularly advises on policy interpretation and coverage issues. Suzanne has been involved in policy drafting and liaising with a range of insurance stakeholders to ensure policies meet the needs of the insured.

Suzanne has developed strong capabilities in working with medical professionals, institutions and intermediaries across all lines of work from civil litigation, disciplinary, coronial inquiries and Medicare / Professional Services Review investigations, in addition to issues of practice and procedure. That depth of experience is invaluable in multi factorial claims.

Suzanne is regularly asked to act for doctors in multiple claims, disputes or enquiries over a number of years based on the level of trust and rapport developed, and the understanding gained over that individual’s practice, resulting in substantial savings to the insurer and a significant reduction in stress for the doctor. For a number of doctors, this has resulted in an ongoing professional relationship of several years through inquiries, disciplinary proceedings by the regulator and separately by the hospital and subsequent civil claims.

Suzanne has been called upon to represent hospitals and doctors at parliamentary inquiries where significant reputational issues have been at stake.

Suzanne is an excellent communicator and takes care to ensure that she ascertains the wishes of her insurer client and the professional at the earliest time, in order to best manage expectations.

Suzanne has an extensive knowledge of the law and how it will be applied in practice, which is critical to her pragmatic advice. Suzanne is able to apply the knowledge she has gathered over 20 years of practice to emerging areas, such as cyber crime, to best advise her clients.

Suzanne is sensitive to the difficulties faced by many professionals particularly where their registration to continue to practice is at stake.

Suzanne takes a robust approach to the defence of a matter where appropriate, but takes care to avoid a matter being ‘fought out’ as a matter of principle, where this will not achieve the desired outcome.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Suzanne successfully negotiated a challenge to a doctor’s ability to continue to practice and adverse publicity in the media, with subsequent Health Care Complaints Commission, Medical Council and a Hospital look back inquiry by having the doctor returned to practice on favourable terms.

Suzanne was able to successfully negotiate a doctor’s resignation from a hospital position to avoid termination for cause while achieving a substantial payment.

Suzanne was pivotal in achieving an early resolution of a multi-party litigation in the Supreme Court for an accountant, by collaborating with co-defendants and pursuing an application for security for costs on a heavily compromised basis, with a significant savings in costs with no adverse publicity.

Suzanne led the successful defence of a Supreme Court claim against a property manager, resulting in the proceeding against her client being dismissed at trial: Gladio Pty Ltd v Buckworth [2015] NSWSC 922.

RECOGNITION 

Suzanne is regularly asked to speak at industry functions, on topics within the insurance field. Most recently, she presented a discussion on disciplinary and regulatory issues in the medical sphere to medical practitioners.

Suzanne is also involved in workshops and training seminars on risk management and insurance issues.

Recognised by various independent global legal guides, including:

  • Legal 500 Asia Pacific – Suzanne Wallace, who wins plaudits for her ‘vast knowledge of insurance legislation’ – 2017 guide
  • Legal 500 Asia Pacific – Suzanne Wallace signed out by clients as ‘impressive’ and ‘outstanding’ – 2007/08 guide
  • Ranked in the peer-reviewed Best Lawyers® in Australia list each year from 2017 to date
  • Ranked as a Recommended Lawyer – Professional Indemnity (Defendant) in NSW by Doyle's Guide since 2017.

Convenor, annual fundraising to support Fitted for Work, to assist disadvantaged women – since 2013

Expertise

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Economics, 1985, University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Laws, 1987, University of Sydney
  • Masters of Laws, 1992, University of Sydney

Memberships

  • Australian Insurance Law Association
  • Australian Professional Indemnity Group 
  • Law Society of New South Wales
  • Medico Legal Society of NSW
  • Women in Insurance, NSW