Qualifications: Solicitor BA LLB
Professional memberships: Law Institute of Victoria, Albury & District Law Society, Associate Member of NSW Law Society
What are your key roles?
I’m the solicitor in the commercial department in our Wodonga office. I have two very experienced law clerks working in this department as well. Conveyancing, Estate Planning and Probate are the main areas I work in. I also assist my clients with estate litigation, if someone challenges a will or wants to dispute a will. I am also involved in the purchase and sale of businesses and real estate and commercial leasing.
You’re also involved in working with farming families, how do you help in this area?
Often you have farming families wanting to transition their properties through the family. Some family farm transfers are straightforward and easy, but there are also some agreements that need to be documented that sit behind those transactions so all family members are protected. It’s always interesting because every family is different and unique and you need to be mindful of how it is going to work for each particular family. Sometimes there are issues people haven’t thought of which can be awkward to discuss, but usually, you can work through it and find a way to make it work.
What are some examples of how you’ve made a real difference for clients?
I like to think I can make a difference every time I am retained by a client. The most rewarding examples are when I have worked with clients who are feeling overwhelmed by the situation they find themselves in and I am able to take some of that pressure off them. We then work together to achieve an outcome that they are happy with.
I have had litigation matters where my client has felt completely under siege but we have been able to work through the issues and achieve successful results.
What are the most common types of problems referred to you by clients?
Often with estate planning, clients come in, particularly with second families, estranged children or children with special needs, and don’t know what to do. We work through their situation, the problems they envisage and we can find a solution for that.
When there are competing interests and a number of family members with different needs to be considered, you have to be able to offer options that the client can understand and that will satisfy their various needs.
This might include a life interest, a trust structure or looking at how their superannuation is structured. Every case is different.
What do you enjoy about living and working in the region?
The great thing about working in a regional centre is you are close to your community, part of your community, and have the ability to get involved.
We live at Barnawartha and have been involved with the tennis, football and netball clubs out there as the kids have been growing up. I’m currently the president of the Barnawartha Netball Club and the netball representative on the Barnawartha Recreation Reserve committee. I am also a member of the Tallangatta Health Service Board.
You make excuses when the kids are little, you say, ‘I can’t possibly be on boards – I just don’t have the time’, after a while you think, that’s looking a little lame, the youngest one is 17, so it was time to get more involved and I enjoy it!