LEADING litigation lawyer and former Wodonga man Bernard Murphy has been appointed a judge of the Federal Court.
Mr Murphy, 55, is a son of Wodonga resident Heather Lauritzen and her first husband, the late Joe Murphy.
He is the former chairman of the board of Australia’s largest class-action legal practice, Maurice Blackburn, and head of its major projects department.
He starts in his new role on June 14.
Before joining Maurice Blackman in Melbourne, he was a partner in Slater & Gordon and recruited the young Julia Gillard to that practice in 1987.
Mrs Lauritzen said the family had moved to Wodonga when her son was 18 before he studied law at Monash University.
Joe Murphy was a Wodonga solicitor in the 1970s and 1980s and a one-time Labor Party parliamentary candidate.
“Joe would be very proud of him now,’’ Mrs Lauritzen said yesterday.
“Bernard’s two children are also lawyers and I have six grandchildren who are in law.’’
Mr Murphy has made his name as a class-action lawyer, acting in, supervising or advising on 24 actions, including 11 shareholder actions and four cartel actions.
The Aristocrat shareholder action was settled in 2008 for $144.5 million, the largest class-action settlement in Australia.
He was also part of the GIO shareholder action, settled in 2003 for $112 million and the Vitamins cartel action of 2006 ($41 million).
Mr Murphy is the vice-president of the Children’s Protection Society and a part-time lecturer at Melbourne University.
One brother, Pat, is an Albury-Wodonga real estate agent and another, Danny, is a lecturer in accounting at Charles Sturt University in Albury.
“I’m humbled by the opportunity given to me and I look forward to serving the court,” Mr Murphy said on his appointment.