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Joelle Blackburn

Apart from being in charge of People & Culture at Moores, Joelle is a member of the Board.

After spending the early part of her career in “HR” (a term we hate), Joelle moved into consultancy. Then some guru told her that “a people management role in professional services is a real challenge and people management in a law firm is the most difficult of all”. Joelle likes a challenge.

We are delighted that she chose Moores and more delighted that she stayed. To both of her roles, Joelle brings strategic thinking and sound judgement, qualities we value.

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Andrew Boer

Andrew takes your call because that is what a savvy, no-nonsense lawyer does.

Commercial property and leasing can throw up difficult issues but Andrew is creative in devising strategies and possibilities to help clients achieve their goals. Then he follows through.

When Andrew gets a matter over the line for a client, he shares a High Five with the other members of his team. Such is his focus on delighting clients with results and on celebrating success, he has been known to High Five clients as well.

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Catherine Brooks

Workplace relations specialist Catherine Brooks represents employers across diverse industries, including the not-for-profit sector, manufacturing, construction, mining, transport and information technology. She takes an educative approach to her practice, focusing on training, early intervention and problem-solving.

Catherine’s enthusiasm, energy and determination are legendary, as is her absolute commitment to her clients, whether she’s representing them at the Fair Work Commission, developing a new enterprise agreement, or handling a tough union negotiation. “I’ve always believed that we in the legal profession are service providers,” she says. “Client service is paramount – legal expertise is a given, a minimum expectation.”

The law is in Catherine’s blood – “My grandfather had a law firm in Geelong, my uncle has a law firm in Bendigo, my mother is a lawyer and so is one of my brothers” – but besides law she has many other strings to her bow. A talented musician, Catherine plays violin and viola, and she has been active on the boards of several not-for-profits, including the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation and Victorian Women with Disabilities.

Catherine was made a Principal at Moores at the age of 30, but she nominates the Moores partnership with Our Community (“where not-for-profits go for help”) and the launch of the Not-for-Profit Assist legal membership service as her proudest achievements to date. “Sharing our intellectual knowledge with organisations that are achieving such amazing things in our community makes being a lawyer awesome,” she says.

Catherine is accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria as a workplace relations specialist.

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Catherine Burkhalter

Workplace Relations lawyer Catherine Burkhalter represents employers across diverse industries, including the not-for-profit sector, schools, retail and information technology. She takes an educative approach to her practice, focusing on training, early intervention and problem-solving.

Catherine is loved by our clients because she is absolutely committed to client service and is like a dog with a bone when presented with a tricky legal problem.

Passionate about living a cultured life, Catherine regularly attends the latest NGV exhibitions and travels the world (when we let her!) to enjoy the best food and wine this world has to offer. One of our favourite players, Catherine is a joy to work with.

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Eric Choo

With a pragmatic and efficient approach, Eric and his team bring experience to a wide range of property transactions for both private and institutional clients. While meticulously attending to all the technical and regulatory requirements behind the scenes, Eric’s clients have confidence that their outcome will be achieved.

Eric’s knowledge and experience in matters of GST, duties and compliance are well regarded by clients and his peers. The Law Institute has also accredited Eric as a specialist in the field of property law.

Eric is a living example that the words “dependable”, “reliable” and “compliant” can be part of property law nomenclature.

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Jennifer Dixon

Apart from accreditations from the SMSF Professionals Association of Australia as a SMSF specialist advisor and from the Law Institute of Victoria as a specialist in Wills and Probate, Jennifer has a formidable reputation across Australia as an estate planning and structuring lawyer. She is in demand as a speaker. Clients and referrers value her wisdom and insight.

Jennifer has the ability to “cut to the chase” in strategy formulation. When Jennifer is around, everyone’s expectation about a little bit of magic is raised a notch.

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Kate Drummond

Many clients consider Kate to be on their team. Kate is regularly called to add her technical knowledge and experience to large scale projects and developments. With apparent effortlessness, Kate can navigate clients through complex GST, leasing and procedural issues that touch and concern many property transactions.

Private, institutional and government clients acknowledge Kate’s ability to provide clear and practical advice without compromising detail and compliance.

With an astute, focused and caring approach it is no wonder that Kate is a popular team member for clients and colleagues.

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Krista Fitzgerald

When it comes to estate planning, Krista’s contribution is in high demand.

Like an elegant tisane, Krista has the ability to put us at ease. This results from a combination of:

  • her legal and drafting skill;
  • her calm, measured approach in ascertaining what the client wants to achieve; and
  • the constructive way she helps clients to discover solutions.

Krista deftly combines two sought after qualities: “expert lawyer” and “non-anxious presence”

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Luke Haley

Luke enjoys putting minds at ease by ensuring that any legal matter which causes sleepless nights for a client is handled with the utmost care. This is particularly important when you are dealing with the death of a loved one, or having the uncomfortable discussion about planning for your own death.

As an accredited specialist in Wills and Estates, Luke assists clients with estate planning, administration and litigation matters.

Luke developed his practice skills ‘in the burbs’ and understands that practical solutions are often more valuable to clients than complicated legal answers. He is a strong believer that problems are made to be solved and brings a calm and considered approach to all matters.

Luke is begrudgingly retired from competitive sport due to a dodgy knee, ankles and hamstrings.

More by accident than design, Luke has travelled to Hawaii several times in the past years. He is disappointed that he has shown little sign of developing a tan.

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Cecelia Irvine-So

Head of the Commercial team, Cecelia works with corporates and NFPs on compliance, contracts and acquisitions.

Regularly advising on commercial matters, including business succession, contracts, acquisitions, structuring and disputes, Cecelia is accredited as a business law specialist by the Law Institute of Victoria and as an adviser by Family Business Australia.

Cecelia’s work with not-for-profits includes corporate compliance, including privacy and child protection compliance and strategy. Cecelia believes in best achieving change and compliance by drawing on the powerful values of the organisation.

Cecelia Irvine-So has a real passion for working with business owners, particularly those preparing to sell their business or pass it on to the next generation of family. Central to the success of her practice are her insights into not only the technical intricacies of business law but also the human dimensions that make each business unique.

A long-time supporter of UNICEF, Cecelia regards small business and micro-finance as central to economic development and prosperity. “Women and kids continue to be disadvantaged by poverty and inequality in access to education and health care,” she says. “The best way to bring a family out of poverty is to help the mother start a business and educate the kids.”

Cecelia regularly shares her expertise with accountants, financial advisors and other audiences via speaking engagements and journal articles.

Photo of Jennifer Jackson

Jennifer Jackson

Dependable, reliable, intelligent and a team-player are three ways to describe Jennifer Jackson. You may say that they are four attributes, and you would be correct. You always get more with Jennifer!

By coming to the law later in life, Jennifer brings a wealth of life experience, and a practical and considered approach to handling legal matters. These are added attributes that make for an effective Estate Planning lawyer.

Jennifer is a valued and well-respected member of the Moores team. She is always willing to contribute and add her voice to discussions. Many of us can also attest to Jennifer’s voice being very melodious.

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Kaizad Kasad

The experts here know to put the emphasis on the first syllable in the first name and on the second syllable in the second name. The rest just call him “Kai”.

Kai heads up our business services team and manages our pricing functions. It was at BigLaw in Sydney that Kai kindled an interest in pricing for value. But he recognised that, while BigLaw might have professed interest in the theories, what was lacking was a commitment to the practice. So he searched for a committed practice, found Moores and moved to Melbourne. Now he is revelling in helping us get better at what we do, day by day.

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Michael Labiris

What do Italian cooking, Karaoke, and playing golf have in common? Possibly very little, unless you are Michael Labiris.

In addition to his proficiency with a 9-iron, Michael is an Accredited Specialist in Wills & Estates and Senior Lawyer at Moores. He is passionate about helping clients resolve disputes quickly and cost-effectively, working across a wide range of contested estate and family trust matters. He also practices extensively in estate planning, structuring and probate.

Michael’s knack of finding creative solutions, his ability to deal with complexity and his sensitive yet pragmatic approach endear Michael to his clients. Michael is outcome focused and quietly celebrates the advancement of his client’s interests with a tap of his golf cap…or a dance move on the Karaoke stage when he scores a big win in a litigious matter.

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Sarah Lacey

Sarah has joined Moores as an experienced Family Law practitioner having been a family lawyer for a number of years prior to her current appointment. With a double degree in Law and Arts (majoring in Psychology) Sarah knows the importance of working collaboratively with clients to achieve sustainable outcomes following a separation and divorce. She understands many clients are experiencing a very personal and difficult time and has the ability to explain in plain language complex legal issues.

Sarah volunteers at the Women’s Legal Service, enjoys reading and pilates. She loves spending quality time with family and friends and is proud of her strong Irish heritage, reinforced by a number of trips to visit family there.

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Lachlan McKenzie

Lachlan McKenzie studied for a double degree in law and behavioural science because he’s fascinated by what motivates people, and why they make the decisions they do.

Specialising in wills and estates, particularly estate litigation, Lachlan works regularly with clients who have recently lost a loved one and are going through a very difficult time in their lives.

Much of Lachlan’s time with clients is spent discussing their past and their relationships. He considers it a privilege to be able to assist them through what is often a deeply personal and cathartic process and to use his legal knowledge to help improve the quality of their life. Clients appreciate his common sense approach to their matters and his ability to explain in plain language what may be a complex legal issue.

A former volunteer lawyer at Melbourne’s Mental Health Legal Centre, Lachlan valued the opportunity to listen to the experiences of people with a mental illness as they navigated the legal system.

Though Lachlan’s days of representing Victoria in under-18s tennis are behind him, he remains passionate about sport, currently playing social touch rugby, golf and footy for the Richmond Centrals. He believes the value of sport to be enormous, being an important physical and social outlet.

Lachlan also loves to travel, whether it’s backpacking around South America, flying to New Zealand to watch the cricket World Cup, or switching off completely in Indonesia’s Gili islands.

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Rebecca Lambert-Smith

Rebecca holds the contribution to the community made by her For Purpose clients in high regard. For this reason, she takes great pleasure in smoothing the way for them - whether it be helping a new organisation get on its feet, complex structuring advice or resolving internal disputes. It’s also why she regularly serves on not for profits boards, including (at the moment) a tertiary institution and a public benevolent institution.

With Rebecca, you know where you stand. She gets quickly to the heart of the matter and then formulates a strategy. There is no obfuscation; no sitting on the fence. Some say that she is direct. They are probably right. However Rebecca is able to combine that quality with emotional intelligence. The result is that she maps a way forward that leaves clients feeling confident and with relationships strengthened.

As you would expect of any good lawyer, Rebecca’s drafting and legal interpretation skills are very fine - just what her clients need to untangle their governing documents.

We wish that we could clone Rebecca. The closest we would be able to get is attempting to convince her twin sister to swap disciplines, leave the medical profession and become a lawyer like her “little” sister. We live in hope.

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Emmalaura Messer

Senior lawyer Emmalaura Messer practices exclusively in family law. Whether the matter involves divorce, child support, spousal maintenance, intervention orders, superannuation splitting or any other aspect of family law, Emmalaura uses plain language to demystify the legal system. “I like my clients to be informed and in control of the process,” she says. “I give clients as much information as I can and guide them to help them make the best decisions they can.”

Emmalaura is equally passionate about volunteering, both as a lawyer and in other capacities. “I’ve volunteered at the Women’s Legal Service for more than five years now,” she says. “They help a lot of women who are disadvantaged or victims of violence. Family law is they bulk of what they do and they’re always in need of family lawyers. It’s good to be able to give back. And it’s great to be able to train and mentor the newer lawyers.”

Volunteering has also given Emmalaura the opportunity to live and travel overseas. “In Cambodia I spent five weeks volunteering at a human rights NGO in Phnom Penh. I got to travel around the country each weekend, and for a week after I finished, and I saw some amazing things,” she says. “The temples were breathtaking.”

In between working, volunteering, travelling and even part-time studying, Emmalaura also fits in market shopping, festivals, walking her rescue dog (a Sheltie/Papillion cross), and brunching with friends – “Brunch is absolutely the best meal of the day.”

But there are some things she won’t be doing again. “Last year I climbed Mount Kinabalu in Borneo. It’s the highest mountain in South East Asia – what were we thinking? You sleep up the mountain and then leave at 2am to make it to the top for sunrise. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I will not be climbing any mountains in the future.”

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Lee Oliphant

Many would argue that managing Information and Communications Technology in a legal practice is fraught. Lee disagrees. He thinks that lawyers are open-minded, creative spirits, committed to risk-taking and collaboration.

Lee has been in his role at Moores for four years. His next big assignment is to deliver a practice management system that has nothing to do with recording time. Perhaps those lawyers at Moores are a little different after all.

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Greg Oliver

Senior family lawyer Greg Oliver guides clients through the often rough terrain of the family law landscape, helping them to develop realistic expectations and make the journey towards a positive new phase in their lives. “One of the things I enjoy immensely about my job is meeting people and learning about the often remarkable lives they have lived,” says Greg. “It’s a privilege to assist people and watch them grow during a time of transition.”

Away from work, Greg enjoys the peace and quiet that hiking offers. “I love the Victorian bush – Bright, Warrnambool, Mallacoota and the Grampians,” he says. “It’s great to go to a place that looks close to what it used to 200 years ago before we got to it.”

The changes not only in the natural landscape but also in the legal landscape prompt Greg to reflect on the practice of law and its place in the community. “I am intrigued and excited about how we can deliver the best possible service to clients and serve as valuable corporate members of society,” he says.

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Daniel Raso

Daniel brings solid experience to project and claims management for clients and to the resolution of general commercial, construction and development disputes. Daniel’s client base spans the education, Government, not-for-profit, transport, IT, development, and telecommunications sectors.

Naturally Daniel can help resolve complex disputes – but he adds most value by helping his clients avoid litigation in the first place through good project management. Daniel’s track record testifies to this approach.

Daniel lives out a strategic and pragmatic attitude which is complimented by his ability to catch a wave or fish (provided mother nature is co-operating). In all situations, it is a successful outcome that holds Daniel’s focus.

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Louise Ricardo

It is not unusual to hear a client say proudly “Louise is my lawyer”. Such is the nature of the relationships Louise builds with her clients.

Complex estate planning and superannuation advice is second nature to Louise. This enables her to share her knowledge with her clients and professional advisors in such a way that long term relationships are developed. Given the area of Louise’s expertise, it is not surprising that clients and advisors regularly contact Louise for advice and guidance. Reassurance, clarity or action is often the outcome of these discussions.

A calm, clear focussed approach is what you get with Louise. That’s why you want her as your lawyer.

Photo of Skye Rose

Skye Rose

The Isle of Skye is a gem of an island off the west coast of Scotland, known for its stunning scenery, lochs and wildlife.

Our Skye Rose is a gem of a lawyer, known for being a strong advocate and provider of practical and strategic workplace relations advice to her clients.

Skye can help resolve complex employment relations disputes - but she adds the most value by helping her clients to avoid litigation in the first place. Skye’s skills are not only recognised by clients, some recent awards demonstrate that she is a leader in the legal sector and is highly-respected by her peers.

Skye is in demand as a speaker and presents regularly on employment and child safety at conferences, workplaces and industry forums. She is also known for promoting charitable endeavours of several human rights organisations in Cambodia and Australia.

Skye demonstrates that having a heart and a sense of humour does not compromise a lawyer’s professionalism and competency.

When she is not being a lawyer, Skye has the enviable ability to combine skills and interests in dancing, hiking and restoring mid-century furniture.

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Tony Rutherford

Tony’s educational and legal experience spans the globe, having started his career with an international law firm in New York before stints in Dubai and Perth. Acting for Martha Stewart and Middle Eastern developers building islands in the shape of palm trees was fun but eventually the prodigal son had to return home to Melbourne.

Now leading the disability and NDIS practice at Moores, Tony has vast experience acting for NFP, government and commercial clients across a number of sectors, including healthcare, disability, education, utilities and transport. Tony helps clients navigate the complexities of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and other issues faced by healthcare and disability organisations. He has an intimate understanding of the challenges and risks faced by these sectors and is focused on providing clients with solutions in the form of clear advice.

Tony combines passion, humour and experience to ensure that the journey for clients is as easy as possible.

Unlike most people, Tony doesn’t complain about the Melbourne weather. Winters in New York and summers in Dubai can give a person good perspective.

Photo of Andrew Sudholz

Andrew Sudholz

Andrew brings a strong relational and pragmatic approach to all that he does. Using his extensive experience and specialist knowledge in property law, Andrew brings a human element to property and commercial clients. Andrew’s view is that behind every transaction are people.

A particular focus for Andrew is the Aged Care and Community Living sector where he regularly works with corporate and community clients in major asset acquisition and divestment projects. Andrew is committed to working closely with private clients who require assistance in a wide variety of legal matters and circumstances.

Andrew demonstrates that professionalism and competency is not compromised by being a lawyer with heart… and a lawyer with a sense of humour.

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Nils Versemann

It is quite reasonable for any client seeking protection for its intellectual property to expect that the lawyer will be attentive to detail. As a registered trademark attorney as well as an experienced commercial lawyer, Nils is tailor made for clients in business who present with these types of challenges and opportunities.

Nils likes to play classical music in the office and every November for the last five years, he has cultivated a growth on his upper lip, ostensibly as a fundraising measure. Sometimes that growth has extended beyond the upper lip to challenge the legal definition of “moustache”.

In the law generally but especially with protection of intellectual property, it is sometimes the unexpected arguments that carry the day. This is one reason why investing in Nils is a good proposition. He gets all the possible arguments onto the table for consideration.

Photo of Hugh Watson

Hugh Watson

Hugh has significant experience in construction and development projects throughout Australia and across multiple industries, including the commercial, not-for-profit, government and agricultural sectors. Hugh helps clients with all manner of construction, supply and maintenance agreements, but he takes particular pride in assisting clients strategically structure and procure their projects to get greater value and efficiencies. Hugh also advises clients on project and claims management during the project delivery phase.

From his formative years at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Hugh now leads the Moores Construction team.

Many say Hugh is a tour de force when it comes to helping clients, but thankfully he reserves the lycra for weekend rides. What cannot be doubted is that Hugh, with his drive for excellence, always aims for a personal best in achieving pragmatic and successful outcomes for his clients.

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David Wells

After 25 years assisting clients resolve disputes, David had an opportunity to reinvent himself as leader of the team at Moores. In his early days as Managing Principal, some mistook his passion for competence, an illusion he was content not to disturb.

Time and experience are usually good teachers. These days, David is not so inclined to sweat the small stuff. As well as helping others to reach their potential, he remains keen on workplace innovation and improving the business model. The world is changing around us and we too need to change if we are to remain relevant. At least that is what he keeps telling us.

Photo of Stephen Winspear

Stephen Winspear

Stephen has worked in Family Law at Moores longer than any other lawyer and as a result, rightly deserves the designation “principal”. Not only has he been team leader at Moores but he has also held leadership roles on various Law Institute committees furthering the cause of Family Law and of Collaborative Law of which he is one of Australia’s champions.

These days he is a mentor and teacher to younger family lawyers as well as writing regularly for journals and training graduates at the Leo Cussen Institute. He considers that this is a very worthwhile way to give back to the profession which has given him so much.