Council & Executive

Council

The governing body of the Society is its Council. The Council is comprised of six office bearers, together with sixteen Metropolitan Members (eight female and eight male), three Members representing practitioners from country areas, two Members representing newly admitted practitioners; and the Attorney General and the Deans of the Law Faculties of the University of Adelaide, UniSA and Flinders University as ex-officio Members. 

The Council elects one of its current or former office bearers as the Society’s representative to the Law Council of Australia. The person elected is ex-officio a Member of the Council if not already a Member of the Council in another position.

Therefore, there can be up to thirty-one Members of Council (or more, if the Council co-opts additional Members).

The Council has delegated to the Executive most of the powers associated with management of the affairs of the Society, reserving policy and some other powers to itself.


Executive

The Executive of the Council of the Law Society is comprised of a President, the Immediate Past President, a President-Elect, two Vice Presidents, a Treasurer and two other Members drawn from the non ex-officio Members of Council.

President

 


Justin Stewart-Rattray is the Principal of Stewart-Rattray Lawyers. He was admitted to practice in 1993 and has over 28 years of experience, of which approximately 20 years has been as a practitioner either alone or in small practice. Justin has established a solid practice in all aspects of business law, specialising in debt collection and litigation; both commercial and in insolvency. He has worked for a broad range of businesses across a range of industries both State and national, big and small.

Working closely with liquidators and bankruptcy trustees, Justin has been involved in large complex commercial and insolvency litigation. He is also experienced in restructuring and commercial property matters such as drafting and terminating leases.

Justin is a past Member of the Society’s Professional Standards Scheme Committee and the Audit and Risk Management Committee and has presented seminars for the Society on debt collection and insolvency related matters. He has been a Member of the Society’s Council since January 2019. He was the male Vice President of the Law Society in 2020 before stepping up to President Elect in 2021.

Justin’s motivation to seek election and ultimately act as President in 2022 was to give something back and help the Society ensure the wellbeing of the profession in South Australia. He is keen to maintain the viability of the South Australian profession, especially in the current uncertain times from the perspective of sole practitioners and smaller firms.

Away from the law, Justin is an avid cyclist both on the road and on a mountain bike. He completed the Flinders Ranges outback epic Mountain bike race in 2018 - a very long 15.5-hour day in the saddle. A former twice ironman triathlete, he has also been known to don running shoes and compete in off road runs such as the local Yurrebilla Trail ultra-marathon, also finishing this worthwhile and challenging event twice. 


It is a privilege to be President of the Law Society in 2022 and an honour to follow in the footsteps of those who came before me and served the profession with such distinction. After 27 years of practice I am proud to be in the position to give something back to the profession.

My main objective, put simply, is to support the profession as much as I can and enhance the reputation, prosperity and stability of lawyers in South Australia.

The pandemic has created significant personal and professional challenges over the past two years and I am keen to help guide the profession through these uncertain times and return to  a greater sense of normality I will do all I can  to help the profession prosper and interact again properly with clients, colleagues and others.

More specifically, some of my key goals include:

  • Increasing work for South Australian lawyers through exploring networking opportunities and winning back some work from various sectors and interstate;
  • Reducing regulation on lawyers (particularly small business) in what is still a recovery period, while still maintaining the high professional standards that are essential to the proper functioning of the justice system;
  • Improving the public perception of the legal industry and highlighting the many “good news” stories that the profession has to tell; and
  • Strengthening the legal profession and justice system by lobbying for specific reforms and investment as highlighted on the Society’s Key Election Issues Document.

As we head into a State Election year, it is important that we maintain and build good relationships with all sides of politics, but remaining strictly apolitical as we agitate for greater investment in the legal profession, increased access to justice, and a legislature that is consultative and makes laws that respect the rule of law and protect the integrity and independence of the justice system. 

The wellbeing and resilience of our profession has been tested in recent times, but has endured. We need to keep being mindful of the stresses of legal practice and look after each other accordingly.

In that vein, I am keen to ensure the Members know the Society is responsive to their needs and I am always keen to hear the views of any Member on any topic.

I plan to be accessible and I look forward to working with Members to represent their voice and stand up for the profession.

Office Bearers


James was admitted to practice in December 1985.  James then worked as a graduate law clerk, Associate to a Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia and a para-legal at a magic circle firm near St Paul’s, London, and at a boutique firm in Covent Garden.  In 1988, James returned to Adelaide to join a long-established Adelaide firm of commercial solicitors.  James became partner in 1996.  In 2019, James joined a global law firm as senior partner upon the establishment of that firm’s Adelaide office.  James has experience in all aspects of commercial litigation with an emphasis on contracts, insolvency and disputes involving land.  James has frequently appeared as counsel.   James has conducted trials in the Magistrates Court and the District Court.  James has presented argument in the Supreme Court on interlocutory and appellate matters and in the Federal Circuit Court and the Federal Court on interlocutory matters.  In 2021, James commenced practice as a barrister at the South Australian independent bar.  James was elected to Council in late 2018.


Melanie is a Senior Solicitor who has practised exclusively in the area of family law since 2016. Melanie has a special interest in complex settlements involving family trusts and other corporate structures. She is admitted as a barrister and solicitor in the Supreme Court of South Australia and the High Court and Federal Courts of Australia. She commenced with Norman Waterhouse in April 2022. 

Melanie was admitted to practice in 2011, graduating from Flinders University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice and Bachelor of International Studies.  Melanie is currently completing her Masters of Law (Applied Law) majoring in Family Law at the College of Law.

Melanie has been an active member of the Law Society since her admission in 2011, becoming a member of the Young Lawyers’ Committee in 2013 while practising in a rural location. Melanie ultimately co-chaired the Young Lawyers’ Committee from 2017 to 2019. She was also a member of the Society’s Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Working Group in 2018 and 2019. In 2019 she was appointed to Council before becoming a Member of Executive of Council in 2020.  Melanie has also been a member of the Family Law Committee since 2019.

Melanie is also a regular contributor to Advertiser Newspaper’s Family Forum articles and has presented and chaired various CPD events held by the Society.

Outside of the law Melanie enjoys yoga and reading and spending time with her young family. She has a keen interest in South Australian wine and the Adelaide Hills.



Alex Lazarevich has experience in commercial litigation since 1995. Prior to commencing at the bar in 2004, Alex worked in Minter Ellison's commercial disputes section, at a boutique commercial law firm, Johnson Lawyers, and at the Attorney General's Department. Alex has an interest in all areas of commercial and industrial law including property, trade practices, building and construction and insolvency. Recent papers he has authored include topics on caveats, sale of land and businesses, voidable transactions in insolvency, enforcement of mortgages, litigation management and franchise law.



Fraser Bell is a Partner at Thomson Geer. He leads the group focusing on all aspects of environmental and planning law, climate change, and contaminated land.

Fraser was admitted to practice in 1988 after graduating from the University of Adelaide. Prior to joining Thomson Geer in 2007, he was a partner at Finlaysons.

In addition to his role as Treasurer of the Law Society, Fraser is: Chair of Bellberry Ltd; Chair of Adelaide Unicare; Chair of East Waste; a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) SA/NT Council; a current Executive Committee Member of the SA Branch of the Waste Management Association of Australia (President 2002 – 2003).

Fraser was a Member of the Law Society Council from 1988 to 1989 and re-joined the Council in 2018.

Away from the law, Fraser enjoys playing tennis and golf and enjoys music and the arts. 







Rebecca is a Special Counsel at HWL Ebsworth Lawyers in the litigation team, with a particular focus on intellectual property, media, defamation, privacy, and competition and consumer law.  Rebecca's background also includes building and construction law, corporations law, property law and contractual disputes. She is admitted as a barrister and solicitor in the Supreme Court of South Australia and the High Court and Federal Courts of Australia.

Rebecca was admitted to practice in 2011, graduating from Flinders University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce (Finance).  In June 2015 Rebecca completed her Masters of Law (Applied Law) with the College of Law, majoring in Commercial Litigation. Rebecca has been recognised by Doyle’s Guide as a Rising Star in Intellectual Property, Technology, Media and Telecommunications Law nationally in 2020, and was included in the 12th, 13th and 14th Editions of Best Lawyers™ Australia for Litigation.

Rebecca has been an active member of the Law Society since her admission in 2011, becoming a Junior Member of the Law Society Council in 2011.  After her two year term concluded at the end of 2013, Rebecca had a one year break from Council before becoming a Metropolitan Member of the Council in 2015. She has been a Member of the Executive of the Council since 2016, and was the 2021 Law Society President.  Rebecca’s other Law Society positions have included:

  • Deputy Chair (Former Chair), Legal Technology Committee;
  • Member, Corporate Governance (previously Governance Compliance) Committee;
  • Member, Ethics & Practice Committee;
  • Member, Wellbeing and Resilience Committee;
  • Former Member, Audit & Risk Committee;
  • Former Member, Chair, and Deputy Chair, Women Lawyers' Committee; and
  • Former Member, Investments Committee and MCPD Regulatory Committee (prior to those Committees' disbandment).

Rebecca sits on the board of the MS Society of SA/NT, and is a member of the Women Lawyers' Association of South Australia, Spence Club Inc, National Council for Women SA, and the YWCA.  Rebecca was the scholarship participant in the YWCA’s 2015 SHE Leads Program, and has previously been a member of the YWCA’s Nominations Committee, a member of the WLASA Committee, and sat on the Flinders Law School Advisory Board and the Board of the Spence Club Inc. She is a co-founder of Women At The Table, a not for profit group established in 2017 to foster business and career opportunities for South Australian women by creating networks across industries and professions, and is a regular speaker and writer on various legal issues.

Rebecca’s personal interests include reading, yoga (especially Anti-Gravity) and exploring the best of South Australia's hospitality at our restaurants, bars and wineries.


Members of Council

 Mr Guy Biddle  Finlaysons
 Mr Christopher Charles  Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement
 Mr David Colovic  LK Law
 Mr Tim Dibden   Tim Dibden Barrister & Solicitor
 Mr Edwin Fah   Johnson Winter & Slattery (SA)
 Miss Nour Harb   Tindall Gask Bentley
 Ms Melissa Jones  Jones Legal Consultants
 Ms Marissa Mackie   Anthony Mason Chambers 
 Mr Lochlan MacNicol        Work Visa Lawyers
 Mr Raffaele Piccolo           Anthony Mason Chambers
 Ms Loretta Polson   Polson Legal
 Ms Emma Shaw  Legal Services Commission
 Mr Matthew Young           Torrens Chambers 
Ms Sarah Minney, Northern & 
Western District
Minney & Associates
Mr Peter Ryan, Central District 
Rudall & Rudall
Mr John Kyrimis, Southern District Kyrimis Lawyers
 
Ms Alexandra Douvartzidis  HWL Ebsworth Lawyers
Ms Alexandra Kenny 
WRP Legal & Advisory
Professor Judith McNamara University of Adelaide
Professor Tania Leiman Flinders University
Professor Vickie Waye University of South Australia
The Hon Kyam Maher MLC Attorney-General