Downs and South West Queensland Law Association

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Downs & South Western Qld Law Association

The Downs & South West Queensland Law Association was originally established in its present form in 1937. In fact, the Association is a little piece of history all on its own, as it is the oldest Law Association of Queensland. The Association is said to have been established in the late 19th Century; however, fell off the radar in the early 20th Century. Eventually, the Association was restarted in 1937 and has remained in operation since that time.

The Association prides itself on being an integral part of the legal community on the Darling Downs and in South Western Queensland. 

The Association provides its members with an array of events which focus on both networking and education through professional development programs and courses. The Association has organised a Family and Succession Law continuing legal education seminar in 2015, as well as assisting to run the Toowoomba Intensive of the Queensland Law Society CLE program. 

Benefits for members include invitations to social events within the region, including the early year Cocktail function, Annual Law Ball, and the end of year Christmas Party. Further, members have access to attend the professional development programs and courses, and access to educational updates.

I've met so many who have opened doors for me and remained in my life both personally and professionally. After a while, networking doesn't feel like 'networking.' It's both serendipitous and unpredictable, and something that just naturally becomes part of your work life and your personal life. 

Narciso Rodriguez

2018 Committee

Executive Committee

Bill Munro


Bill is now serving a second term as President of the Association – the first being in 2000. He was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1978. He is an accredited specialist in Personal Injuries Law.

He sees the District Law Association as playing an integral part in the effective delivery of legal services to the community and for the well-being and governance of the profession within the region.

Bill is anxious to ensure that the traditional values and professional courtesies which have distinguished the profession over the centuries are maintained and at the same time ensuring that the practice of law remains relevant, rewarding and interesting to its members.

He is heartened by the advances in technology which enable continuing legal education to be made available to members throughout the region and by the camaraderie and goodwill which is evident among practitioners, despite the rough and tumble of everyday practice with its associated stressors.

He is committed to ensuring that the views and concerns of members are well known by the judiciary and the government of the day. He recognises that the profession is under scrutiny at many levels of society and is committed to leading the association in this region by seeking to ensure that its members continue as “…ethical, engaged professionals and citizens  who understand the social, economic and environmental influences on and impact of their actions, and who are self-directed, resourceful, resilient and adaptable to change”*.

* University of Southern Queensland School of Law and Justice.

Adrian Hallewell

Vice President

Adrian is the principal of Hallewell Law, a disputes and litigation firm based in Toowoomba.

Adrian has been on the committee on a number of occasions and has previously held the position of President.

Georgia Soutar


Georgia is an active member of the community as Secretary of the South Toowoomba Apex Club and volunteer for the RSPCA.
Georgia practises in the area of commercial transactions and dispute resolution, with a special interest in Wills and Estates.
Georgia lives in Toowoomba with her husband and is originally from Millmerran and has an interest in rural legal matters. 
Georgia received the Toowoomba Young Citizen of the Year Award in 2016 for outstanding contributions to the Community.

Sarah-Jane MacDonald


Sarah-Jane is a solicitor with MacDonald Law, having commenced working with her Father in 2006. Shfinished her schooling and undertook her University studies in Toowoomba and is very committed to improving our region. Sarah-Jane was awarded the Toowoomba Region's Young Citizen of the Year award in 2011 for her community involvement. 

Sarah-Jane primarily practises family law and is focused on working within collaborative law approaches to achieve client and child focused outcomes.

This is Sarah-Jane's third year on the management committee, and first year on the Executive Committee

Naomi Cox

Family Law Representative

Naomi works as a Solicitor at Dean Kath Kohler Solicitors practicing in family law, child protection and domestic violence. Naomi has been involved with the Association and a committee member since 2011.

Catherine Cheek

Immediate Past President

Catherine is dedicated to assisting people through some of the most difficult times of their lives by making her clients feel supported throughout litigation, to standing up for those who have suffered and to achieving the best outcome possible. She takes great pride in achieving fair outcomes for her clients, and is passionate about ensuring that all individuals have access to justice and good quality legal representation. 
Since being admitted in 1991, Catherine has actively campaigned for the individual rights and been involved in a number of significant and difficult cases.
In 2017, Catherine was named Queensland Regional Woman Lawyer of the Year by the Women Lawyers Association Queensland.

Committee Members

Agnes Redulla

Committee Member

Agnes is a solicitor in the Litigation, Dispute Resolution and Insolvency division of Murdoch Lawyers.  She holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Business majoring in Marketing (with Distinction) from the Queensland University of Technology.  She endeavours to achieve the best possible outcome for each client because she understands that her clients face the commercial realities and personal impact of the work she does.  As part of this year’s committee, Agnes strives to play an active role in keeping our legal community connected, and has a particular interest in providing more professional networking opportunities for early career lawyers.  Outside of work, Agnes enjoys dancing, wakeboarding and DIY projects.

Allison Grimley

Committee Member

Allison is a lawyer and regional office leader at Maurice Blackburn Toowoomba. She practices solely in personal injuries law and is dedicated to ensuring that injured person’s in the Toowoomba and surrounding regions have access to quality legal advice. This is Allison’s first year on the committee.

Amie Mish-Wills

Committee Member

 Amie is a lawyer employed by the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service, working as a Senior Advisor for the Workforce team of the DDHHS. Previously the secretary of the Association for the past two and a half years and formerly a Lawyer at Clifford Gouldson Lawyers and student representative at the University of Southern Queensland, Amie is passionate about having an active presence in the legal community and is proud to represent her peers as a member of the Downs and South Western Queensland Law Association.

Caroline Hart

Committee Member

Caroline Hart is an Associate Professor (Law) at the School of Law and Justice, University of Southern Queensland, teaching into first year law, and a third year elective on Regional and Rural Legal Practice – which she really enjoys.  One of the best parts of teaching is seeing her alumni students taking active roles in the community and society.  She has published nationally and internationally, and is regularly invited to speak both in Australia, and internationally (US and UK).  She is the author of Seven Elements of Successful Country Law Firms (The Federation Press, 2018), and contributed to Learning Law (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and The Place of Practice (The Federation Press, 2017).  She works closely with a number of law societies engaging with legal practitioners throughout Queensland and New South Wales.

Carolyn Howe

Committee Member

Carolyn was first admitted in the United Kingdom in 1997, and then Australia in 2004.

Carolyn is currently Special Counsel at Shine Lawyers, and a past President of the Downs & South Western Qld Law Association.

Darren Lewis

Committee Member

Darren lives in Toowoomba and is 6th generation on the Darling Downs. He was admitted as a solicitor on 1994. At Legal Aid Queensland (Toowoomba) since 2006, he practises family law, child protection and domestic violence matters, including appointments as mediator, arbitrator, Independent Children's Lawyer and Separate Representative. He first became involved with the Law Association in 1997 and was President between 2013 and 2015.

Emily Hawthorne

Committee Member

Emily works at Hede Byrne & Hall focusing in the area of Property Law.

Outside of the office, Emily enjoys Kayaking, Hiking and Camping. Whilst at home she likes to relax by cooking and enjoying delicious food or spending some time reading.

Kaylah Vejle

Committee Member

Kaylah is employed by Murdoch Lawyers and practises exclusively in the area of Family Law. Kaylah is passionate about the law and assisting her clients in navigating through what is often a difficult time in their lives. 

In her spare time, Kaylah enjoys being active, playing soccer (previously refereeing soccer) but more importantly spending quality time with her young son, family and friends.

Samantha Walker

Committee Member

Samantha is a solicitor at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers in Toowoomba, and specialises in personal injury law. 

Samantha holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Queensland. She relocated to Toowoomba from Maurice Blackburn’s Cairns office in June 2016 and is slowly adjusting to the change in climate. Samantha is excited to be a part of the committee in 2017.

Samantha is a solicitor at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers in Toowoomba, and practises exclusively in personal injury law.

Samantha holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Queensland. She relocated to Toowoomba from Maurice Blackburn’s Cairns office in June 2016 and now considers Toowoomba home. In her spare time, Samantha enjoys spending time with friends, family and her dog Peggy, reading and travelling. This is Samantha’s second year on the committee.

Sarah Adams

Committee Member

Sarah is an Associate with Murdoch Lawyers who was admitted to practice in 2009.  Sarah works exclusively in the area of family law and is also a registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (mediator).  

Sarah became a member of the Management Committee in 2017 and is looking forward to working with the Committee to assist the local profession generally and to build and develop relationships between lawyers and related professionals that will result in better outcomes for all clients.

Whilst not Toowoomba born, Sarah has lived in Toowoomba since 2009 together with her husband and two small children.  Sarah is an avid (albeit struggling) Crossfitter who enjoys keeping active with her family.