​NSW appoints first female Crown Solicitor

Issued: Wednesday, 10 June 2015

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Attorney General Gabrielle Upton today announced the appointment of Lea Armstrong as NSW Crown Solicitor.

"Ms Armstrong is an outstanding solicitor with 23 years' experience in government and commercial law, including 18 years at the NSW Crown Solicitor's Office," Ms Upton said.

"Last year she became NSW Treasury's first General Counsel and today she has achieved another milestone – becoming the first woman in the state to be appointed as a Crown Solicitor."

Ms Armstrong has provided the NSW Government with advice on the development of the electricity network 'poles and wires' legislation passed by NSW Parliament last week.  She has also advised on other major government projects including the long term leasing of the state's three largest ports: Newcastle, Botany and Port Kembla.

During her previous period at the Crown Solicitor's Office, she worked as General Counsel with a focus on major commercial transactions and reform projects for a range of clients including Treasury.  She also served as an Assistant Crown Solicitor in commercial law and in administrative law.

Prior to joining the Crown Solicitor's Office in 1995, Ms Armstrong worked for a major commercial law firm for three years and spent a year as an associate for the now retired High Court judge Michael McHugh.

Ms Armstrong holds a Masters of Law from the University of NSW, a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours, First Class) from the Australian National University.

Ms Armstrong will begin serving as Crown Solicitor on 13 July 2015.

"I am extremely honoured to be the first female Crown Solicitor in NSW, particularly as I am following in the footsteps of the state's first female Attorney General and Treasurer," Ms Armstrong said.

"I think it is incredibly important for female lawyers and women in government to have positive role models who hold senior positions in the public service. 

"There is no doubt it will be a huge challenge, but an exciting and rewarding one and I look forward to working broadly across the legal and government sectors over the coming months."

The Crown Solicitor is the largest provider of legal services to the NSW Government and plays a vital role in the functioning of the state.  It employs over 350 legal and support staff.

The previous Crown Solicitor, Ian Knight, retired in February 2015 after 20 years in the role.