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Why the future of family law is in good hands

Following a record number of submissions in the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 family law category, Lawyers Weekly spoke with several of the finalists in the category to delve into the unique advantages young lawyers bring to the practice of family law.

user iconJess Feyder 28 April 2023 Big Law
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Recently, the finalists unpacked why family law is so appealing to young lawyers. Now, they discuss what young people bring to the table and why the future of family law is in good hands. 

Kate Alroe, senior associate in family and relationship law at Lander & Rogers, noted that the next generation of lawyers brings with them a fresh perspective and innovative ideas. 

“They are technologically savvy and able to leverage technology to improve client experiences by streamlining processes that both reduce fees and improve efficiency,” she explained. 


“They are also committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity in respect to both their colleagues and their clients.”

Ms Alroe continued: “Additionally, many young lawyers in this space are focused on alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and collaborative law, which can help clients resolve their disputes in a more amicable and cost-effective manner. 

“The next generation of lawyers is well-equipped to lessen the emotional and financial cost of their client’s interaction with the family law system,” she stated. 

Kiarah Grace Kelly, collaborative family lawyer at Brisbane Family Law Centre, said that young people have a tendency towards being passionate, and it’s true that Millennial lawyers have a real thirst for learning and further study. 

“I have an LLM majoring in applied family law, and more of my peers also have either that same qualification or have done further study than [that],” she noted.

“Family law gives an opportunity to live your values every day at work, with young people being motivated to pursue social change and having strong convictions, family law just feels right.”

“The family law space is all the more richer for the incredible young people coming through,” she stated. 

Bryan Do, family law associate at Barry Nilsson, also commented: “There have been numerous changes in the past several years with respect to the family law system, including the merger of the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court; greater focus on family dispute resolution and necessity for resolution given the emotion and financial burden of litigation; [and] improvements to the system’s response to family violence.”

“It is clear that there is a shift away from litigation, which has historically been the norm, compared to today’s practice where there is an emphasis towards dispute resolution.”

“We are required to integrate these recent changes into our day-to-day practice and ensure that they are applied in a meaningful manner to generate positive results for clients. 

“At this time, young practitioners are generally more attuned to health, mental wellbeing and sustainability, which complements the direction in which the family law system is shifting towards,” Mr Do illuminated.

Emily Ownsworth, associate in family and relationship law at HopgoodGanim, said: “I believe the future of family law is in very capable hands. 

“It has been my experience that young lawyers practising in family law are dedicated, collegiate and very passionate about what they do.”

Isaac Douglas, associate in family law at Barry Nilsson, highlighted that junior lawyers are looking for purpose in their work and can often be more curious about exploring collaborative and solutions-focused approaches to the practice of family law.

“That focus is increasingly championed by junior lawyers and valued by clients,” he said.

Mr Douglas continued: “The future of family law and, by extension, those who require the assistance of family lawyers, will be served well by an innovative generation of lawyers motivated by helping their clients resolve disputes.”

Camille Saunders-Browne, associate at Schetzer Papaleo Family Lawyers, also spoke to Lawyers Weekly.

“The younger generation are adept with technology and change, and I am excited to see how we will continue to integrate family law with new technologies to benefit the court processes and systems, lawyers and the parties,” she said. 

“I have a particular interest in gender-related issues, and I am proud to have played a part and continue to play a part in the work being done in this space.”

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