Jones Day partner named as Western Australia's first Aboriginal Supreme Court judge

Global firm praises Michael Lundberg's 'outstanding legal acumen and personal integrity' ahead of 'historic move'

Western Australia has appointed Jones Day partner Michael Lundberg as its first Aboriginal Supreme Court judge.

Lundberg – the son of Sue Gordon, the state’s first Aboriginal magistrate – will assume the role at the end of November.

He will bring more than two decades of commercial litigation and arbitration experience, having worked in private practice since 2000.

His global disputes practice includes acting in proceedings in Australia’s highest courts, as well as in international and domestic arbitral proceedings.

Lundberg has also acted for various Indigenous individuals and groups on a pro bono basis, including representing Aboriginal man Gene Gibson in overturning his wrongful conviction for manslaughter in 2017.

John Quigley, Western Australia’s attorney general, said: “This is a landmark appointment for the state’s justice system and another step towards closing the gap with First Nations people. He is recognised as one of Australia’s best lawyers in his areas of expertise, which include dispute resolution in the energy and resources sectors, intellectual property law, industrial relations and defamation matters.”

Lundberg started his career at Western Australia’s Crown Solicitor’s Office in 1994 before joining King & Wood Mallesons in Perth, where he worked his way up to partner, head of its Perth litigation group and partner in charge of the Perth office. 

After an almost 18-year career at King & Wood Mallesons, Lundberg joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in 2018 before leaving for his current firm Jones Day in May last year ahead of a larger team move in July 2021 when four lawyers including counsel Debra Osborn joined him at Jones Day from Quinn Emanuel.

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Adam Salter, partner-in-charge of Jones Day's Perth Office, said: “This is an incredible honour both professionally and personally for Mike, and is a reflection of his outstanding legal acumen and personal integrity.”

Disputes practice group leader Greg Shumaker added: “The entire firm congratulates Mike on this historic appointment. We know that as a jurist he will uphold the same commitment to the rule of law in Western Australia as he has as a valued partner at Jones Day. We will miss him.”

Lundberg’s mother, a Yamatji woman and member of the ‘Stolen Generation’ where Aboriginal children were removed from their families and communities, spent 20 years serving on the Children’s Court bench. Lundberg is also a council member at Curtin University and chair of its legislative committee.

In June last year, Justice Lincoln Crowley was sworn in as a judge of Australia's Supreme Court in Queensland, making the leading barrister the first Indigenous judge to preside over an Australian superior court


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