Downs and South Western 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 organises regulara continuing legal education seminars since 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

2019 Committee

Executive Committee

Sarah-Jane MacDonald


Sarah-Jane is a solicitor with MacDonald Law, having commenced working with her Father in 2006. She finished 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 fourth year on the management committee, and second year on the Executive Committee.

Naomi Cox

Vice President

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.

Amie Mish-Wills


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. 

Georgia Stafford


Georgia is an active member of the community as volunteer of both the South Toowoomba Apex Club and 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.
This is Georgia's second year on the Committee. 

Max Sutton

Family Law Representative

Max is a Solicitor at Best Wilson Buckley Family Law, practising in all areas of family law. Max holds a Bachelor of Laws and International Relations from USQ Toowoomba and was admitted as a Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Queensland and the High Court of Australia in 2017.  Max is looking forward to active involvement in the local legal community and is proud to represent his peers through essential collegial support for regional practitioners.

Bill Munro

Immediate Past President

Bill 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

Committee Members

Catherine Cheek

Committee Member

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.

Catherine is a Special Counsel at Clewett Lawyers practising primarily in the area of personal injury litigation. She is also has a particular interest in representing older Australians in elder abuse matters.

She has been a member of the Downs & South Western Queensland Law Association committee for over 9 years and is a Past President of the Association.
In 2017, Catherine was named Queensland Regional Woman Lawyer of the Year by the Women Lawyers Association Queensland.

Emily Hawthorne

Committee Member

Emily works as a solicitor at Hede Byrne & Hall Lawyers practising in Personal Injury Law and has previously worked extensively in Commercial and Property Law.

This is Emily’s second consecutive year on the Committee, and she again looks forward to engaging with all members of our legal community, and focusing on ensuring the professional enjoyment of all members practising in our region.

Emily has a particular interest in regional early career practitioners and is on the Downs and South West Queensland Law Association sub-committee for early career lawyers. 

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.

Wes Seewald

Committee Member

Wes is a solicitor working for Aden Lawyers in their Toowoomba and Pittsworth offices. While maintaining a busy case load in a diverse range of legal matters, Wes specialises in criminal defence as well as civil and commercial litigation. 

Prior to moving to the Darling Downs region in 2018, Wes practised extensively in far north Queensland. As a dedicated advocate for social justice with a passion for human rights and equality before the law, Wes enjoys assisting people from all walks of life with difficult legal problems. Having been heavily involved in various committees and not for profit organisations, including a term as president of his university law student society, Wes recognises the benefits of an active and engaging law society to the profession and the community broadly and is enthused to be part of the Darling Downs Law Society team for 2019.

Sue Westall

Committee Member

Sue is a well known Toowoomba Family Lawyer, with over 10 years’ experience in private practice.  She specialises in children's issues, divorce, child support and property settlements matters, and her clients appreciate her real passion, empathy and practical common sense advice in in helping them solve parenting and other family law problems.

Sue also has also been trained in Collaborative Practice and is keen to develop this growing area of non-litigious family law practice (read more about Collaborative Practice here).

When she’s not at the office, Sue spends her time trying to keep up with her teenage daughters and two dogs, and confesses to being a cricket tragic.