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JWS founder appointed to government role

The South Australian government has appointed a prominent commercial lawyer as the newest chair of the state’s legal aid agency.

user iconLauren Croft 08 February 2022 Big Law
Peter Slattery
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Co-founder of national firm Johnson Winter & Slattery (JWS) Peter Slattery has been appointed to be the chairperson of the Legal Services Commission, the peak legal assistance body in South Australia. 

Responsible for leading JWS’ national expansion and growth, Mr Slattery has also held a number of board positions in the not-for-profit sector, and his firm has been heavily involved in the delivery of pro bono legal assistance in the community. As reported by Lawyers Weekly, the firm managed to grow its pro bono practice by over 300 per cent after launching the centralised practice in 2019.

In order to grow their pro bono offering so rapidly, JWS worked with a number of organisations, such as St Vincent de Paul Society Sydney, Mary’s House, and Ronald McDonald House Charities, as well as with Justice Connect, Law Access, Trust Law and Legal Aid to obtain referrals to assist individuals and charities.


The Legal Services Commission is funded by the South Australian and Commonwealth governments and provides more than 140,000 legal assistance services to South Australians each year; and is South Australia’s largest legal practice, which Mr Slattery said he was excited to now be a part of.

“The commission plays a pivotal role in providing access to justice in SA and I look forward to supporting the delivery of its services,” he said   

“In collaboration with multiple stakeholders in the legal sector and more broadly, the commission provides crucial assistance to the most disadvantaged members of our community. I am honoured to assist the provision of those services and the collaborative relationships that underpin them. 

“Whatever the nature of the firm, the goal is always the same: providing the best possible legal assistance to the client and ensuring services are delivered in the most effective manner.” 

Mr Slattery takes over the chairperson role from Jason Karas, who co-founded the Lipman Karas firm and has chaired the Legal Services Commission since February 2020.

“It has been a privilege to serve the commission as chairperson for the past two years and assist its delivery of vital services to those in need,” Mr Karas said.

“I am very pleased to pass the baton to Peter Slattery, a highly regarded SA lawyer with a proven track record of successfully managing the work of a large legal practice. Peter’s experience and expertise will be a great asset to the commission and I wish him the very best with this important role.” 

Commission chief executive Gabrielle Canny added that Mr Slattery would be a welcome addition to the commission – which has an annual budget of more than $40 million.

“This appointment ensures legal aid continues to have a deep and broad range of the high-level skills required at a large legal practice in the 21st century,” she said.