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NEW CROWN SOLICITOR FOR NSW 

Published date: Monday, 15 April 2019

[PDF version of this media release]

Attorney General Mark Speakman today announced the appointment of Ms Karen Smith as NSW Crown Solicitor. 

"Ms Smith commenced her appointment today and is the second woman to be named Crown Solicitor in NSW. She succeeds Ms Lea Armstrong who was appointed as a Supreme Court judge and President of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal in October last year,” Mr Speakman said. 

“Ms Smith is a highly experienced solicitor with 25 years in government, including more than eight years at the Department of Premier and Cabinet, most recently as General Counsel and Deputy Secretary of Governance, with responsibility for 200 staff. 

“She’s given expert and strategic legal advice to the Premier, Ministers and senior government officials on critical legal and legislative issues, including integrity and electoral law reform, the caretaker conventions prior to the election and the changes to government agencies that will come into place on 1 July.” 

Ms Smith has also worked in senior legal positions at Energy, Industry and Investment NSW, the Department of Water and Energy and the Cabinet Office between 2001 and 2010. 

In addition, Ms Smith worked at Legal Aid NSW, gaining specialist accreditation in criminal law, and joined the crime unit at the Attorney General’s Department, where she worked on reforms relating to bail, sentencing and domestic violence. 

Ms Smith worked alongside Bruce McClintock SC providing legal support for the Inquiry into the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act in 2004-05 and was appointed as a director of the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund in 2016. 

Ms Smith said she is deeply honoured to be appointed as NSW Crown Solicitor. 

“I’m particularly pleased to be following in the footsteps of the inspirational Lea Armstrong, and I’m looking forward to running an organisation that’s at the heart of good government,”. 

“Almost all major government initiatives are implemented with the benefit of legal advice or assistance from the Crown Solicitor’s Office. I look forward to identifying more opportunities to strengthen our collaboration across government.” 

The Crown Solicitor’s Office is the largest provider of legal services to the NSW Government, employing over 350 legal and support staff.