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2021 is the year for milestones: Attwood Marshall Lawyers celebrates 75th anniversary

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From humble beginnings in Tweed Heads to national expansion and building specialist teams across all areas of law, Attwood Marshall Lawyers continues to connect with the community, embrace change and innovation, and forge ahead to celebrate exciting milestones in 2021.

From Post-War Beginnings

Attwood Marshall Lawyers traces its foundations to post World War Two 1946 when the late Eric Attwood set up practice as a solicitor in the Tweed Heads – Coolangatta area.

Mr Attwood subsequently formed a partnership with Bob Marshall and Jack Woodward to form Attwood Marshall & Woodward in the early 1970’s, with their office in Griffith Street Coolangatta (originally located upstairs across the laneway adjoining the pie shop, but later across the road at 31 Griffith St.).

It was in the mid-1970s when Eric Attwood’s son, Richard Attwood, joined the partnership; and following on in 1979, Jack Woodward left the firm to set up his own practice in Coolangatta. Since that time the firm has been known as Attwood Marshall Lawyers. The firm moved from 31 Griffith Street to its existing location overlooking the beautiful Coolangatta Beach on Level 2 of The Strand Shopping Centre in May 1989.

Founding partner, Bob Marshall and Richard Attwood have long since retired, but remain in touch and are proud that the firm they founded continues to flourish. In its heyday, the firm had 8 partners and 100 staff spread over 3 offices. Lately, the firm is in the capable hands of Legal Practice Director Jeff Garrett, who celebrated his 40th anniversary with the firm in February 2021. There are 5 partners and 60 staff in the current rendition of the firm.

Attwood Marshall Lawyers is renowned for holding onto its staff for decades, now boasting a firm of over 60 staff, with offices located at Robina Town Centre, Coolangatta, Kingscliff, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne.

Providing legal services spanning compensation law, Wills and estates, estate litigation, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, family law, property law, business and commercial law, racing and equine law, and criminal law, Attwood Marshall Lawyers lead a purpose-driven workplace, with their renowned intent being to help people and change their clients lives for the better.

“The general perception of lawyers is not always a positive one, but as a firm, our lawyers are all about helping people and advocating for them during what can be some of the most stressful times in their lives. Our staff are trained to listen and connect with our clients so that they have an in-depth understanding about what matters most to them and they can identify the best way to help them move forward with their lives,” explained Legal Practice Director Jeff Garrett.

The firm has been linked to some of the most iconic cases including a famous case involving US Scuba divers Tom and Irene Lonergan who disappeared while on a guided diving excursion off Cairns, which ultimately was the subject of a Hollywood movie. As a result of the inquest, the Queensland Government changed laws relating to the regulation of the diving industry.

Other landmark cases the firm has won include a class action undertaken on behalf of more than 2000 Australian women who had suffered injury following silicon breast implant surgery, a successful case following the death of a young woman who had received the drug ‘Naltrexone’ which promoted by its manufacturer was meant to be a treatment for heroin addiction, and fighting against a billion-dollar company to uphold the legal rights of a social worker who was assaulted at the Manus Island Detention Centre in 2014.

Attwood Marshall Lawyers has also played a key role in educating the community and calling for an inquiry into the conduct of NSW Trustee & Guardian as well as The Public Trustee of Queensland. Attwood Marshall Lawyers’ demand for an inquiry in 2019 was backed by politicians and received widespread support. After years of misconduct, The QLD Public Advocate finally reviewed the Public Trustee’s fees, charges and practices, and shone a spotlight on the fact this institution no longer meets modern expectations or their fiduciary obligations. Attwood Marshall Lawyers are committed to continuing to educate the community about the dangers of putting blind faith in The Public Trustee, and the consequences that can follow.

There is a rich history and connection of the firm with the border towns of Coolangatta/Tweed Heads, as well as the firm acting for many local families and businesses over the past 75 years. Having offices at Coolangatta and Kingscliff has enabled us to serve the communities on both sides of the border during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Likewise, we have had an office at the Robina Town Centre since it opened in 1996, with an office overlooking the lake next to the old Disney shop in the early days. Our current office is on the western side of the Town Centre near the Post office (next to RACQ). This has extended our presence to the central and northern areas of the Gold Coast, as well as the Logan and southern Brisbane areas.

Our Brisbane office is located on the 27th Level of the Santos Building at 32 Turbot Street, but many Brisbane clients prefer to travel to our Robina Town Centre office, as they find it is easier than going into the CBD. Our Sydney and Melbourne offices are visited offices, which hopefully will be available soon when interstate travel opens up.

A Milestone for Every Partner

Jeff Garrett – Legal Practice Director
Jeff Garrett Then and Now
Left: Jeff Garrett signs the roll after being admitted as a Barrister in the NSW Supreme Court in 1991. Right: Jeff in 2021 at the Attwood Marshall Lawyers Coolangatta office.

In 2021, Jeff celebrated his 40th anniversary with the firm.

Jeff originally started work with Attwood Marshall Lawyers as an Articled Law Clerk in February 1981. His master solicitor during the course of his Articles was founding partner Bob Marshall. Although his initial practical work was in the commercial area under Bob Marshall, it was quickly apparent that his forte was in litigation and that has been the predominant area that Jeff has practised in since starting with the firm.

Jeff became a partner in 1991 and later took over the running of the personal injuries department, which at that stage had 17 lawyers. Jeff later became one of the first lawyers to become a dual accredited Law Society Accredited Specialist in personal injury law in both New South Wales and Queensland.

Throughout his career, Jeff has also had extensive experience in commercial litigation matters involving all types of different disputes and issues. It is through his experience in the litigation area that led him to his current area of expertise, estate litigation. The powerful Wills & Estates Department of Attwood Marshall Lawyers has some of the most experienced and knowledgeable lawyers in this complex area. The Wills & Estates department is larger than most local legal firms and practices exclusively in Wills and Estate matters in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, as well as nationally.

Jeff is also the architect behind the firm’s electronic systems and the quest to become a paperless office. He has been the driving force in having the firm certified in compliance with the international quality management system standard ISO 9001:2015, which requires strict adherence to quality assurance practices and an excellent foundation for the planning, control, and improvement of a business.

Jeff became the Managing Partner of Attwood Marshall Lawyers in 1998 and has continued in that role since that time. His experience in running a multi-million-dollar turnover business has enabled him to provide years of practical experience to our various business and corporate clients.

Outside of work, Jeff is an avid thoroughbred racehorse breeder and has a small stud at Mudgeeraba in the Gold Coast hinterland. It is his experience in the thoroughbred breeding and racing industry that has triggered the development of Attwood Marshall Lawyers specialist division in equine law and thoroughbred breeding and racing. Jeff was also an elected member of the Board of the Gold Coast Turf Club for a 5-year period from 2009 and held the positions of Treasurer and Deputy Chairman during his tenure.

Although Jeff still has an active file load in litigation matters, his main focus is on running the business and continually improving the systems and training of our staff to ensure that the firm delivers the best possible legal services and client experience.

Jeff is enthusiastic about innovation and continuously challenges the status quo to ensure Attwood Marshall Lawyers is at the forefront of legal technology.

Angela Harry – Wills & Estates Partner

Angela Harry then and now
Left: Angela Harry when first joining the firm. Right: Angela in 2021 at Attwood Marshall Lawyers Coolangatta office.

In 2021, Angela celebrated her 15th anniversary with the firm.

Angela has been with Attwood Marshall Lawyers since 2006. She is an energetic, vibrant, intelligent lawyer with an amazing recall of her past clients. Angela knows how to effectively and efficiently work with people from all walks of life and passes this knowledge onto the firm’s junior lawyers who benefit from her mentorship.

Angela graduated from the Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelor of Business (majoring in International Business) and a Bachelor of Laws (with Honours). She was admitted as a lawyer of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2008.

Angela enjoys continuing to develop and advance her legal and technical knowledge and has a passion for all areas of the Wills and estates practice. Angela holds a Master of Applied Law (Wills & Estates) Degree through the College of Law, has completed the College of Law’s Certificate in Testamentary Trusts and the Queensland Practice Management Course. Angela is also a member of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP), which is the worldwide professional association for those advising families across generations. STEP promotes best practice, professional integrity, and education to their members.

Angela’s competency spans both Queensland and New South Wales jurisdictions and she provides expert advice and services for Wills, Testamentary Trusts, Enduring Powers of Attorney (QLD & NSW) and Enduring Guardians, Elder Law, Granny Flat Agreements, Deceased Estate Administration and Probate.

As part of her day-to-day role, Angela also takes on the responsibility of training and supervising junior staff in the Wills and Estates Department.

Barry van Heerden – Property & Commercial Partner

Bartry van Heerden
Left: Barry van Heerden when he first joined the firm attending a company function. Right: Barry in 2021 at Attwood Marshall Lawyers Coolangatta office.

2021 sees Barry celebrate his 15th year anniversary with the firm. Barry has become renowned for helping business owners achieve their goals and handling the legal complexities that come with the purchase and sale of medical and dental practices. Over the past decade Barry has continued to develop his department, which has grown to a team of 7 specialist property and commercial lawyers and paralegals.

He qualified as a lawyer in South Africa in 1986 where he practised in commercial law till the end of 2001. In 2002, Barry and his family moved to Australia.

In 2004, Barry completed a Graduate Certificate in Applied Law which was necessary to be admitted as solicitor in Queensland. He then went on to obtain his Masters in Law degree in 2006.

Barry practices exclusively in commercial law with a focus on leases, buying and selling of businesses, business structuring and business succession. Regardless of the size of the business and has acted for mums and dads selling their “corner shop” and multimillion dollar companies selling their business.

Barry believes in personal connection with clients and despite available technology prefers to meet with his clients to discuss and understand their needs.

Jeremy Roche – Compensation Law Partner

Jeremy Roche then and now
Left: Jeremy Roche when he first joined the firm. Right: Jeremy in 2021 at Attwood Marshall Lawyers Coolangatta office.

In 2021, Jeremy celebrated his 12th anniversary with the firm.

Jeremy is the partner in charge of Compensation Law (QLD and NSW) at Attwood Marshall Lawyers. He is a QLD Law Society Accredited Specialist in the field of Compensation Law and remains at the forefront of the compensation law industry.

Prior to joining Attwood Marshall in March 2009, Jeremy grew up in Brisbane and was employed for six years by his father, Dr Kevin Roche, a barrister at the Inns of Court, where he gained invaluable experience at the coalface of compensation law litigation (conferences, mediations, trials). While working under the rigorous tutelage of his father, Jeremy recognised how rewarding it was to help those whose lives had been turned upside down by injury or illness. During this time, Jeremy undertook his law degree at Bond University from which he graduated with Honours, Deans List Accreditation, and various subject prizes. Jeremy has worked exclusively in the field of compensation law throughout his career.

Jeremy’s fervent passion in life is to help injured people (and their families) to rebound from the devastating consequences of injuries caused through no fault of their own. He is particularly staunch in dealing with insurers who deny legitimate treatment expenses or refuse to pay reasonable compensation to genuine claimants. Jeremy is renowned for his unyielding work ethic and achieving exceptional results for his clients.

Across the industry, Jeremy has developed a reputation for finding a way to win the most difficult of compensation cases – often in the face of overwhelming odds. He regularly receives compensation claim referrals from other law firms, businesses and previous clients. He is empathetic, conscientious, personable and is able to communicate and connect with his clients in such a way that his clients fully understand every aspect of their claim. Whilst he is particularly adept at complex or catastrophic claims (e.g. brain injury, spinal cord injury, paraplegia, etc.) he assists people with their claims no matter how big or small.

He specialises in workers compensation, motor vehicle accidents, public liability, medical negligence, historical sex abuse claims, and TPD claims.

Jeremy thoroughly enjoys leading Attwood Marshall’s expert team of QLD and NSW compensation lawyers and paralegals. He spends much of his time mentoring and training other lawyers, paralegals and staff at the firm.  He is passionate about Attwood Marshall’s culture and ensuring that all facets of the firm are aligned with the firm’s intent – “to help people”. Jeremy loves working at Attwood Marshall and could not envisage himself ever working anywhere else. He lives locally with his family and spends his spare time at the beach, watching sport, participating in community events, and enjoying the occasional scotch.

Charles Lethbridge – Commercial Litigation Partner

Charles Lethbridge then and now

In 2021, Charles became a Partner of the firm, a position he describes as being an honour and a privilege.

Charles joined Attwood Marshall Lawyers in 2015 after working at both boutique and mid-tier firms in Sydney and Brisbane. Charles practices in both New South Wales and Queensland and has run matters in a range of jurisdictions including the Supreme Courts of New South Wales and Queensland, the Federal Court, the High Court and the Land and Environment Court of NSW.

Initially from Brisbane, Charles spent a lot of his youth on the Gold Coast and resides here with his family. Charles has the law in his blood following in his father’s footsteps, who ran a reputable law firm in Brisbane for many years until his retirement.

Charles’ father had a very strong work ethic and that was passed on to him, as was his father’s innate ability to connect with people. Both these character traits became enormously helpful in practicing in litigation and dispute resolution.

In 2020 Charles became an Accredited Specialist in Dispute Resolution with the Law Society of NSW. In order to obtain specialist accreditation, Charles had to dedicate adequate time and experience and be recognized and recommended by his peers as an expert in commercial litigation and dispute resolution. Charles had to go through a gruelling series of examinations, assignments, and interviews to prove his expertise in this specialised area of law. The accreditation course has an extremely high failure rate. Those who successfully complete the course are identified as an expert in their field and accredited by the Law Society as such. The specialist accreditation helps people in the community identify which lawyers can be trusted as the industry-leading experts.

Charles’ extensive knowledge and experience combined with his strong negotiation skills, allow him to resolve the majority of his client’s disputes quickly and effectively without having matters escalate to litigation.

Old-fashioned service coupled with smart technology

Technology has drastically changed over the years, and particularly legal tech. Attwood Marshall Lawyers has always been one of the first law firms to implement new technology, even dating back to their early days.

Committed to pursuing excellence in service delivery, Attwood Marshall Lawyers has put a laser-like focus on internal management and client relationships.

“We have taken the steps needed to transform our practice and ensure our quality of work and communication efforts are industry leading”, said Jeff Garrett.

“If there was ever a profession that shined the spotlight on those who did not want to embrace technology advancements, it could be said that lawyers are the professionals who push back on innovation. Lawyers are often renowned for clinging on to medieval methods of document management.”

“However, over the years the legal industry has dramatically evolved in this space and as a firm we have embraced these changes. We have heavily invested in technology, and embedded innovation into the firm’s framework. Although with innovation and digital technology comes convenience, we still strongly encourage face to face communication so that we can provide our clients with the best possible results and build strong, long-lasting relationships”, explained Jeff Garrett.

Attwood Marshall Lawyers – 75 years supporting the community

Our clients are at the centre of everything we do here at Attwood Marshall Lawyers. We understand that when someone needs a lawyer, they are often at a point in their life where something has gone wrong, and they are faced with one of life’s most stressful events. The best way forward is to have someone who understands how to help you navigate your unique legal challenges, support you throughout the process, and communicate with you clearly to give you confidence and peace of mind until you reach a resolution.

We are immensely proud of all our staff, their dedication to advocating for their clients, and our firm’s longstanding reputation for obtaining excellent results.

If you need legal advice, we are here to help. You can call our 24/7 phone line any time on 1800 621 071, or alternatively, contact our department managers directly to discuss your matter today:

Wills & Estates and Family LawContact Donna Tolley on direct line 07 5506 8241, mobile 0423 772 555 or email dtolley@attwoodmarshall.com.au

Compensation Law (including Workers’ Compensation Claims, Motor Accidents, Sexual Abuse claims, Public Liability, Superannuation and TPD Claims): Contact Kelli Costin on direct line 07 5506 8220, mobile 0432 497 383 or email kcostin@attwoodmarshall.com.au

Estate LitigationCommercial LitigationCriminal Law and Equine LawContact Amanda Heather on direct line 07 5506 8245, mobile 0425 260 837 or email aheather@attwoodmarshall.com.au

Property & Commercial Law: Contact Jess Kimpton on direct line 07 5506 8214, mobile 0432 587 300 or email jkimpton@attwoodmarshall.com.au  

Jeff Garrett cutting the cake with Angela Harry, Jeremy Roche, Charles Lethbridge and Barry van Heerden
Jeff Garrett cutting the cake with Angela Harry, Jeremy Roche, Charles Lethbridge and Barry van Heerden
Staff enjoying lunch to celebrate the occasion in the boardroom at the Coolangatta office
Staff enjoying lunch to celebrate the occasion in the boardroom at the Coolangatta office
75 cake
A sweet milestone for Attwood Marshall Lawyers

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