Qualifications: Solicitor BEc LLB
Professional Memberships: Law Society of NSW, Law Institute of Victoria, Albury and District Law Society
What is your area of expertise?
I work in three main areas – Commercial Law, Employment Law and Estate Planning. In commercial law I act for quite a lot of substantial property developers and clients who have large property portfolios. In employment law, I undertake a lot of unfair dismissal work. I also help many people with their estate planning.
How do you make a difference for your clients?
In Commercial Law, what my clients generally want is for me to work to a short time frame and get the right result in that time frame. One of my jobs is to help them manage their risk – some risk which can have an immediate impact upon them if not managed correctly, such as the transaction not being completed on time or taking on a cost they don’t intend, and some risk which is long term – something which may not be apparent now, but which may become obvious later on. My clients expect us to get the job done and that’s what we do.
In the employment area I undertake quite a lot of unfair dismissal work. I act for employees as well as for employers. It’s the most contentious work I do. For employees, it is a tough time. They have just lost their job, they are short on money and often low in confidence. If you can get a good result for your employee client which makes life easier for them, that’s rewarding. By the same token, there is often just as much stress for our employer clients and the sooner we can get them back to their business, the better.
With the wills and estate work my job is to guide people to a good outcome where they’re comfortable that their families will be properly looked after when they are gone. Sometimes there are difficult situations to navigate where you might have split families, fractured relationships, complex business structures and so on. It’s about trying to get the best result where the client walks out the door thinking “I did the best I could”.
There is a long list of organisations that you are, or have been, a board member on, what are some that stand out?
I really enjoy the football roles – especially being a member of the Commission for AFL North East Border. It is a high-level proposition where the focus is on participation rates in the region, infrastructure needs and competition balances. I’m really enjoying that.
I enjoyed the Chamber of Commerce, where I was on the board for four years and Chairman for two. During that time we initiated Women in Chamber and Young Business Edge and now Albury Central have come under Chamber’s banner.
I was on the board at Flying Fruit Fly Circus when the new building was funded and erected. We initially thought about asking for a grant of $1 million dollars for a basic replacement building, but our passionate manager Fiona Barber encouraged us to push for $4 million. We thought that was crazy, but six or 12 months later, we got the grant for $4 million and a wonderful purpose-built building which will be an asset for Albury Wodonga for generations. Sometimes it’s a case of being prepared to dream big enough.
Being on those boards and seeing great outcomes has been an eye-opener. It gets you thinking about raising your own horizons, undertaking strategic planning, studying new trends and trying to imagine different ways of working. It’s been of great value to our business and the way we do the job for our clients. Being on boards isn’t just one-way traffic, I’ve learned a lot from my involvement.
What do you enjoy about living and working in Albury Wodonga?
I’m a country boy from Brocklesby, just north of Albury. My family is here and my brothers are farmers at Brock. One thing I like about Albury Wodonga, is that there’s a general desire to get better, to grow. With new infrastructure like the art gallery, library museum and Gardens Medical Centre, anyone coming to this area would be thinking ‘this place is going somewhere’. There’s an energy about this part of the world and I like that.