Sharing expertise to help new family lawyers

Sharing expertise to help new family lawyers

Friday, 5 May 2017

Our practice partners have, yet again, agreed to contribute their time and expertise to improve legally aided services in family law matters.

Over the last two months we have met with lawyers across the state to talk about a project implementing a recommendation from the Family Law Legal Aid Services Review. The project is to develop practice tools designed to build a culture of strategic, comprehensive and proactive preparation of family law litigation. The feedback we have received has informed the first draft of the tools.

The tools are aimed at less experienced practitioners, or those new to the jurisdiction. We believe however, that they will prove to be a useful resource for all lawyers in their practice, including in managing concurrent trials, and in the supervision of junior lawyers. Use of the tools by panel practitioners will be on an optional basis.

Earlier this year we asked for expressions of interest from internal and external practitioners to help us to review and refine the draft tools (see Working together to support good preparation in family law trials). 

Victoria Legal Aid has now established an advisory group of 19 practitioners from VLA, the family law panel, community legal centres and the bar. Advisory group members include:

Private practitioners

Jennifer McInnes and Rod Connley, Connley McInnes Lawyers, Sale

Alison Trapski, Trapski Family Law, Point Cook

Don Lampe, Lampe Family Lawyers

Peter Lynch, sole practitioner, Preston

Jessica Dowdy, Melville Orton & Lewis, Warrnambool

Carolyn Howe, Howe Legal, Warrnambool

CLC practitioners

Jessica de Vries, Inner Melbourne Legal Service

Amre Levy, Fitzroy Legal Service

Ella Crotty, Fitzroy Legal Service


Paul Glass, Gordon & Jackson’s list

Sarah Mansfield, Patterson’s list

Victoria Legal Aid staff

RoseMarie Holland, Bendigo

Ana TalkoNicholas, Bairnsdale

Emma Smallwood, Melbourne

Annette Murray, Melbourne

Ellyse Borghi, Broadmeadows

Gary Lung, Melbourne

Natasha Griffiths, Ringwood

Jessica Sinclair, Shepparton

Gayathri Paramasivam, Associate Director, Family Law, believes that practitioner input, including from lawyers new to family law practice, is essential to developing effective tools.

‘We would like to thank all the lawyers who attended consultations, as well as those who have joined the advisory group. Many of these lawyers also helped with the redraft of the family law guidelines. 

‘Your input helps ensure we produce tools that assist practitioners in their practice, and ultimately deliver better outcomes for our clients from their interaction with the legal system.’

More information

If you have any questions about the project, contact Project Coordinator Catherine Caruana on (03) 9269 0371.

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