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

2021 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.

Miranda Woodland


Miranda is a Lawyer and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner at Catholic Care Toowoomba. Based in Toowoomba, Miranda has previously worked as Lawyer for the Office of the Child and Family Official Solicitor and as a Criminal Defence and Family Lawyer for the Toowoomba Community Legal Service.

Alex Edwards


Alex was admitted in 2019 and currently practises in our Wills & Estate Department, under the guidance of Sarah-Jane MacDonald. Alex grew up in the Toowoomba region; having completed her high school studies locally and obtained her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Southern Queensland. Alex is well established in our region and recognises the importance of our small community mentality and the benefits of connections.

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

Emily Hawthorne

Committee Member

Emily works as a solicitor at Reynoldson Law practising in Commercial and Property Law. This is Emily’s third 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.

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.

Anna Fanelli

Committee Member

Anna is a Constructions and Disputes Lawyer at Enterprise Legal. Prior to joining EL, Anna worked as a solicitor in one of the largest class action practices in Australia, allowing her to gain an extensive knowledge of and experience in dealing with the Australian judicial system.

Meagan Murrell

Committee Member

Meagan practises exclusively in Family Law and is an Associate at Wilsons The Family Lawyers. Meagan returned to Toowoomba, and the Committee, in late 2019 after spending some time in Sydney. Meagan is passionate about assisting her peers in creating and maintaining strong collegiate relationships within the region, and is particularly focused on encouraging and empowering young lawyers to achieve their goals.

Sarah De Wit

Committee Member

Sarah is a lawyer in the Commercial Litigation, Dispute Resolution and Insolvency team at Murdoch Lawyers. After graduating from Griffith University, she began her legal career in Melbourne before returning to Toowoomba in 2018 to finalise her practical legal training. While her experience is varied across different areas of law and jurisdictions, since 2018 ISarah has practiced exclusively in debt recovery, commercial litigation, building and construction law and employment law. She joined Murdoch Lawyers in July 2020.

Max Sutton

Committee Member

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 a Bachelor of Arts (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.