Profile image of Jenni Lightowlers

Prof Jenni Lightowlers



Executive Dean, Business and Law


Faculty of Business and Law


Office of the Exec Dean B&L


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Master of Laws, University of Melbourne, 1999
Bachelor of Laws (Hons), University of Melbourne, 1990

+61 3 924 46003


Jenni Lightowlers was appointed as the Dean of Deakin Law School in 2017. Jenni is considered one of Australia's leading advisors to universities (both in Australia and the South Pacific) and has a deep understanding of the university and higher education sectors, particularly in respect of compliance and research commercialisation opportunities. Prior to her appointment as Dean, Jenni was a Deputy Chancellor of Deakin University. She is a Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Fellow and a member of the Council's Legislation Committee. 

Jenni is a founding Partner of FAL Lawyers. As one of Australia's few practising law deans her experience in private practice serves to build a bridge between the profession and the opportunity to support student graduate outcomes.  Jenni is arguably Australia's leading authority on establishing research entities such as industry growth and innovation centres and Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs). She is also recognised as a leading lawyer in the life sciences (health, biosecurity, biotechnology and medical devices). On commercial IP issues, she is considered "an esteemed presence in the marketplace" (IAM Licensing 250). In 2022 she was recognised by IAM as one of Australia's leading intellectual property lawyers.

Jenni brings to the School her experience across a wide range of issues including research funding opportunities;  directors' duties; R&D agreement and taxation matters; IP protection; management, commercialisation and licensing; employment and workplace relations law; and general corporate and commercial matters. Jenni is particularly highly respected in the mining & resources sectors for her advice on technology innovation, collaborative research and defence export controls.

Her expertise also extends to Government, having drafted, evaluated and structured legislation for Australian governments, prepared Ministerial briefing and policy papers and provided advice on multilateral treaties in the Pacific Region. In 2020 she was appointed as Chief Commissioner to the University of the South Pacific to support its improved governance agenda.

As Dean, Jenni has oversighted the expansion of the Deakin Law Clinic, which, as a Community Legal Centre, offers free legal advice to clients across a range of practice areas with offices on campus in both the CBD and Geelong. She has also introduced electives in areas with high growth opprtunites such as cyber law and data and protection. Experiential learning has been expanded with support for mooting and negotiation opportunities for students as well a a program to ensure that all students have exposure to practical legal work  before completing their degrees. 

Read more on Jenni's profile


  • Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors.
  • Member, Licensing Executives Society of Australian and New Zealand (LESANZ).
  • Member, Intellectual Property Society of Australia Inc.
  • IAM Licensing 250, World’s leading patent & technology licensing lawyers.

Knowledge areas

Defence export controls; research commercialisation issues; start up companies; corporate governance; intellectual property.


  • Recognised for Excellence in Client Service for the Health & Life Sciences Sector in Australia, International Law Office (ILO) and Lexology Client Choice Awards,  2015, 2016 and 2017. Recognised in 2022 by IAM as one of Australia's leading intellectual propoerty lawyers


Chief Commissioner to the University of the South Pacific guiding the reform and implementation agenda for improved governance.


No publications found

Funded Projects at Deakin

Other Funding Sources

Fairly integrating Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) into the National Electricity Market.

Prof Joshua Newton, Dr Virginia Weber, Dr Jeffrey Rotman, Dr Jay Zenkic, Prof Jenni Lightowlers

iMove Australia Limited

  • 2024: $42,500
  • 2023: $85,600


No completed student supervisions to report