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Avant Law - ACT
Harry McCay

Harry McCay

Special Counsel, Avant Law
Qualifications: B Comm, LL B

Phone: 02 9640 1181
Email: harry.mccay@avant.org.au

Harry has been with Avant since 2001.

In his role as a special counsel, he acts on behalf of members and Avant in civil claims, disciplinary matters, coronial matters, Medicare matters, criminal matters and administrative law cases.

He was named a leading practitioner in the Australian Capital Territory Leading Medical Negligence and Malpractice Lawyers (Defendant) category in the Doyles Guide Insurance Law ranking for 2023.

Avant Law - NSW
Alex Adler

Associate, Civil Claims, Avant Law
Qualifications: BA, LLB

Alex has been with Avant since 2021. Before joining Avant, Alex acted for medical defence organisations and medical practitioners.

In her role as an Associate, Alex assists clients in litigated and unlitigated civil claims, as well complaints concerning professional conduct and disciplinary proceedings.


Judith Alderson

Judith Alderson

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB (Hons) Exempting, (University of Northumbria, UK)
LPAB Diploma Course (University of Sydney)
Admitted as a Solicitor in Australia and in England and Wales

Phone: 02 9260 991
Email: judith.alderson@avant.org.au

Judith has been with Avant since July 2021. Before joining Avant, Judith represented medical professionals and organisations in coronial inquests, HCCC investigations, professional conduct investigations and civil claims. Judith is admitted as a Solicitor in Australia and in England and Wales.

In her role as a senior associate, Judith assists members in a variety of matters including coronial inquests and professional conduct investigations and proceedings.

Birana Bakaric

Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: B. Com (Marketing) and LLB Laws (University of Sydney)

Briana has been with Avant since 2021 and is experienced in acting for medical practitioners nursing staff paramedics and hospitals.

In her role as an associate, Briana assists members with professional conduct complaints; disciplinary proceedings, administrative law proceedings; coronial investigations and coronial inquest hearings; and civil claims.

Email: briana.bakaric@avant.org.au

Andrew Blandford

Special Counsel-Civil, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB / BA Adelaide University

Andrew has been with Avant since 2010 and is experienced in civil litigation.

In his role as Special Counsel, Andrew assists members with claims across a variety of areas of medical practice and specialises in high value and complex claims. He has also published and presented numerous articles and talks in the area of health law.

Phone: 02 9260 9916
Email: andrew.blandford@avant.org.au

Hishani Dassanayake

Hishani Dassanayake

Special Counsel, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB, University of Otago, NZ

Phone: 02 9260 9168
Email: hishani.dassanayake@avant.org.au

Hishani has been with Avant since 2008.

In her role as a special counsel Hishani acts on behalf of members primarily in complex Supreme Court medical negligence litigation. She is also involved in a wide range of other health law related work including Medico-legal Advisory services.

Micaela Giffney

Solicitor, Professional Conduct, Avant Law
Qualifications: BA (National Art School) GradDip Arts Administration (UNSW) JD (UTS)

Micaela has been with Avant since 2023.

In her role as a solicitor, Micaela assists members with a variety of matters including professional conduct complaints and professional conduct proceedings.

Phone: +61 477 952 954
Email: Micaela.Giffney@avant.org.au

Michelle Graham

Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: JD (UNSW)
B HSc (Hons) La Trobe University

Michelle has been with Avant since 2020.

In her role as an associate, Michelle assists members and practices in District and Supreme Court proceedings and unlitigated claims for compensation. She also provides advice to medical practitioners and practices through Avant’s Medico-legal Advisory Service.

Phone: 02 9260 9936
Email: michelle.graham@avant.org.au

Don Grant

Don Grant

Special Counsel, Avant Law
Qualifications: BLegS (Macquarie University),Dip App Sci (Nursing) Wollongong University

Phone: 02 9260 9926
Email: don.grant@avant.org.au

Don has been with Avant since 2017. In his previous career Don worked as a registered nurse in critical and acute care and for over twenty years he has practiced as a solicitor exclusively in health law, including in civil litigation, disciplinary proceedings, administrative law proceedings and coronial inquests.

In his role as a special counsel, Don acts on behalf of members in civil litigation. He is also involved in a range of other health law related work including the provision of medico-legal advice and presentations to medical practitioners.

John Kamaras

John Kamaras

Legal Team Manager, Professional Conduct, NSW
Qualifications: BSc (Hons) (USYD), LLB (USYD)

Phone: 02 9260 9071
Email: john.kamaras@avant.org.au

John has been with Avant as a solicitor since 2001 and has broad experience with most areas of health law but with a specific interest in coronial law.

John has acted for members involved in coronial inquests, medical negligence claims, disciplinary proceedings, Medicare investigations and criminal proceedings. He has also published and presented numerous articles and talks in the area of coronial law.

In his role as Legal Team Manager, John leads a team of solicitors and their support staff, in addition to running matters and providing medico-legal advice and education.

Lydia Kamaras

Special Counsel, Avant Law
Qualifications: BCom/LLB (UNSW)

Lydia has been with Avant since 2002. and has extensive experience in acting for medical practitioners, hospitals, and medical practices.

In her role as a special counsel, Lydia assists members in a variety of matters including professional conduct complaints; professional conduct proceedings; criminal proceedings and coronial investigations and inquests.

Phone: 02 9260 9151
Email: lydia.kamaras@avant.org.au

Lyn Kearney

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: BAppSc (Biomedical Science), Diploma in Law (LPAB)

Lyn has been with Avant since 1999 and has considerable experience in acting for medical practitioners and practices. In her role as a Senior Associate, Lyn acts on behalf of members in civil litigation, disciplinary proceedings, and coronial inquests.

Phone: 02 9260 9155
Email: lyn.kearney@avant.org.au

Ren Li

Ren Li

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB (UTS)

Phone: 02 8199 9539
Email: ren.li@avant.org.au

Ren has been a solicitor since 2007 and joined the Avant team in 2014. He is experienced in coronial law, professional conduct, Medicare and civil litigation.

In his role as a Senior Associate, Ren provides our members with assistance across a range of health law areas including coronial investigations; coronial inquest hearings; professional conduct investigations and proceedings; civil claims; Medicare investigations and hearings; and other administrative law proceedings.

Emma Marel

Emma Marel

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: BComLLB (Hons)

Phone: 02 9260 9104
Email: emma.marel@avant.org.au

Emma has been with Avant since 2019. Before joining Avant, Emma acted for medical defence organisations, medical practitioners, hospitals and health care facilities. She is experienced in representing clients in coronial investigations and inquests, disciplinary claims, unlitigated and litigated civil claims, and investigations and audits.

In her role as a senior associate, Emma advises members in relation to general medico-legal queries, responds to and defends civil and disciplinary (professional conduct) claims brought against members and practices, and represents members in coronial investigations and inquests.

Emma Michaels

Emma Michaels

Solicitor (Civil), Avant La
Qualifications: LLB (Hons I), BSc (Pharmacology)

Phone: 02 8199 9565
Email: emma.michaels@avant.org.au

Emma has been with Avant since 2020. Before joining Avant, Emma worked in law firms in Sydney and London in intellectual property, personal injury, and corporate law.

Emma received first class honours in her Bachelor of Law in which her dissertation analysed offences introduced against health practitioners under the Victorian SafeScript real-time prescription monitoring program.

In her role as a solicitor, Emma assists members and practices in litigated and unlitigated civil claims for compensation.

Melanie Nicol

Associate, Professional Conduct, Avant Law
Qualifications: BA Communication /LLB (UTS)

Melanie has been with Avant since May 2023. Before joining Avant, she represented allied health professionals and organisations in HCCC and AHPRA investigations, civil claims and coronial inquests.

In her role as an Associate within the professional conduct team, Melanie assists members in a variety of matters including HCCC complaints, College inquiries and professional conduct proceedings.

Heidi Norville

Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: BCom/LLB

Heidi has been with Avant since 2023 and was admitted as a solicitor in 2015. She has experience acting for both plaintiffs and defendants in medical negligence litigation.

In her role as an Associate, Heidi provides assistance and support to medical practitioners and practices in litigated and unlitigated civil claims. She appears primarily in the Supreme and District Courts of NSW.

Phone: 02 9260 9904
Email: heidi.norville@avant.org.au

Juliette Paterson

Senior Associate, Professional Conduct, Avant Law
Qualifications: BComms/LLB (Hons)(UTS)

Juliette has been admitted as a solicitor in NSW since 2007. Juliette has been with Avant since 2022. Before joining Avant, Juliette acted for medical defence organisations, medical practitioners, allied health practitioners, hospitals and health care facilities. 

In Juliette has experience in advising clients across a number of health law areas, including coronial investigations and inquests, disciplinary claims, Medicare investigations and audits, unlitigated and litigated civil claims, privacy matters, as well as industrial and employment matters for medical practitioners.

In her role as a senior associate, Juliette advises members in relation to general medico-legal queries, responds to and defends disciplinary (professional conduct) claims brought against members and practices, represents members in coronial investigations and inquests as well as Medicare/Department of Health investigations.

Nicole Sher

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: BA, LLB

Nicole has been with Avant since 2012. In her role as Senior Associate, Nicole acts on behalf of members in a variety of matters including professional conduct complaints; professional conduct proceedings; administrative law proceedings; and coronial investigations and inquests.

Phone: 02 9260 9174
Email: nicole.sher@avant.org.au

Michael Swan

Michael Swan

Legal Team Manager - Civil, NSW
Qualifications: LLB (UNSW),B Nursing (USyd)

Phone: 02 9260 9169
Email: michael.swan@avant.org.au

Michael has been with Avant since 2002.

In his role as a Legal Team Manager , Michael leads a team of solicitors and their support staff, acts and advises members in a wide range of civil actions in State and Federal jurisdictions.

Stephanie Truong

Stephanie Truong

Associate (Professional Conduct), Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB / BSocSc

Phone: 02 9260 9175
Email: stephanie.truong@avant.org.au

Stephanie has been with Avant since 2016 and is experienced in assisting medical practitioners and practices.

In her role as a Associate, Stephanie assist members in a variety of matters including professional conduct complaints; professional conduct proceedings; administrative law proceedings; and coronial investigations and coronial inquest hearings.

Paul Tsaousidis

Paul Tsaousidis

Head of Practice Legal, Avant Law
Qualifications: BA (UNSW). LLB (Sydney University)

Phone: 02 9260 9154
Email: paul.tsaousidis@avant.org.au

Paul has been with Avant since 1999 and has been admitted as a solicitor since 1989. He has extensive experience in acting for medical practitioners; hospitals; and medical practices.

In his role as Head of Practice for Avant Law NSW, Paul leads a team of experienced solicitors and administration staff to provide excellent legal assistance and support to Avant members. He has also published and presented numerous articles and talks across a broad range of health law areas.

Andrew Vandervord

Andrew Vandervord

Legal Team Manager, Professional Conduct, NSW
Qualifications: LLB

Phone: 02 8199 9536
Email: andrew.vandervord@avant.org.au

Andrew has been with Avant since 2013 and has extensive experience acting for medical practitioners and medical practices.

In this role as Legal Team Manager, Andrew leads a team of solicitors and support staff in providing members with assistance in a variety of areas including professional conduct claims; coronial investigations and coronial inquest hearings; Medicare investigations and hearings; and other administrative law proceedings.

John Vijayaraj

John Vijayaraj

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB / BA (Psychology) (Macquarie University)

Phone: 02 9260 9053
Email: john.vijayaraj@avant.org.au

In his role as a Senior Associate, John acts on behalf of members across a broad range of matters including, complaints concerning professional conduct, civil claims, coronial inquiries and Medicare investigations. He has experience in clinical settings such as emergency medicine, surgery and obstetrics, from unlitigated matters to complex catastrophic claims.

John is also experienced in navigating complex factual matrices and can quickly identify issues so that a strategic and member-centric approach is adopted in all matters.

Avant Law - QLD

Claire Bassingthwaighte

Claire Bassingthwaighte

Legal Team Manager, Professional Conduct, Avant Law
Qualifications: BCom/LLB (UQ)

Phone: 07 3309 6839
Email: claire.bass@avant.org.au

Claire was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2003 and the High Court of Australia in 2006.

Before joining Avant in 2008, she worked in private law firms defending public and private hospitals in medical negligence claims and represented the Medical Board prosecuting practitioners.

As Manager of the Professional Conduct Team, Claire now leads a group of experienced solicitors who specialise in defending practitioners in a wide range of complex health law matters including; coronial investigations and inquests, commissions of inquiry, and complaints to regulators. She has represented practitioners in the Coroners Court of Queensland, the Human Rights Commission, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal as well as both the District and Supreme Courts. She also provides general advice as part of Avant’s Medico-legal Advisory service.

Claire is a member of the Queensland Law Society’s Health and Disability Law Committee well as the Occupational Discipline Law Committee. She is a volunteer Judicial Committee Member with community sporting organisations and a member of the Medico-Legal Society of Queensland and Women Lawyers Association of Queensland.

Emma Beale

Senior Associate, Professional Conduct, Avant Law
Qualifications: BPsySc (Hons) (UQ), LLB (Hons) (QUT), GDipLegPrac (COL)

Emma has been with Avant since 2012.

Prior to joining Avant, Emma worked for a global law firm and also in Government, primarily advising in relation to defending claims and complaints against medical practitioners and hospitals, coronial inquests and other regulatory matters.  Emma also has experience in Claims Management, both within Avant and at other organisations.  

In her role at Avant Law, Emma specialises in defending medical practitioners and practices in relation to civil claims for compensation.

Catherine Cheney

Catherine Cheney

Legal Team Manager - Civil
Qualifications: LLB (QUT), BA (Griffiths)

Phone: 07 3309 6803
Email: cathie.cheney@avant.org.au

Catherine has been with Avant since 2003.

Before joining Avant, Catherine worked in private practice and gained extensive experience in insurance litigation.

As Legal Team Manager of the civil team she specialises exclusively in medical negligence litigation and manages a team of solicitors. Catherine supports members responding to complaints and investigations. She has appeared before various regulatory bodies (panel hearings, tribunal hearings, coronial inquests) and supported members in criminal matters.

Anna Gornall

Anna Gornall

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB (Hons) (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Legal Practice Course – College of Law, Manchester, UK

Phone: 07 3309 6845
Email: anna.gornall@avant.org.au

Anna has been with Avant since 2013 and has practised law in England and Australia.

In her role as a senior associate, Anna represents members in disciplinary proceedings before the Medical Board, Office of the Health Ombudsman, Office of the Information Commissioner, and coronial inquests as well as civil claims for negligence, including; catastrophic and dependency claims. She has also represented members in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Anna also provides general advice as part of Avant’s Medico-legal Advisory service.

Sarah Hull

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB /B PsychSc (Griffith), GradDipLegPrac, LLM (QUT)

Sarah has been with Avant since 2020.

Before joining Avant, Sarah worked for a national law from and predominately focused on claims and complaints against medical practitioners and allied health professionals.

Phone: 07 3309 6864
Email: sarah.hull@avant.org.au

Selina Hunt

Selina Hunt

Head of Practice, Legal Qld & SA
Qualifications: LLB (Hons 1)/BBus (Accg) (with Distinction) (QUT)

Phone: 0497 199 628
Email: selina.hunt@avant.org.au

Selina has been with Avant since 2010 and she represents doctors and practices in civil claims, coronial investigations/inquests and professional conduct matters.

As Head of Practice, Legal for Avant Law in Queensland and South Australia, Selina leads a team of experienced solicitors and administration staff to provide excellent legal assistance and support to Avant members.

Since she was admitted to practice law in 2001, Selina has practised solely in insurance litigation, specialising in defending claims and complaints against a wide range of health and other professionals.

Selina was recognised as a preeminent practitioner (2021) and leading practitioner (in 2022 and 2023) in the Queensland Leading Medical Negligence Lawyers (Defendant) category of the Doyles Defendant Insurance Law rankings.

Jennie Jackes

Special Counsel
Qualifications: BA / LLB University of Queensland

Jennie has been with Avant since 2018 and has extensive experience acting for insurers in professional indemnity matters.

Before joining Avant, Jennie worked for many years for a global law firm.

Jennie has represented professionals, primarily medical practitioners, in civil claims for negligence, before disciplinary tribunals and registration boards and in coronial investigations and inquests.

She has extensive experience in all aspects of the management of medical negligence claims.

Phone: 07 3309 6816
Email: jennie.jackes@avant.org.au

Jean-Pierre Kapel

Jean-Pierre Kapel

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB, BBUS (Man), GDip Legal Prac

Phone: 07 3309 6847
Email: jean-pierre.kapel@avant.org.au

Jean-Pierre has been with Avant since 2017.

Before joining Avant, Jean-Pierre worked in a private law practice assisting medical practitioners in the management of medical negligence claims including, catastrophic claims and dependency claims.

In his role as a Senior Associate, he uses his extensive health law experience to assist members in matters such as, disciplinary proceedings before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, coronial inquests, Medicare compliance, and training disputes. He has also assisted in defending complaints to the Queensland Human Rights Commission, professional conduct investigations and disciplinary proceedings commenced by regulators. He also provides general advice as part of Avant’s Medico-legal Advisory service.

Nicola Kent

Nicola Kent

Senior Associate , Avant Law
Qualifications: BA/LLB (Hons) (UQ), Grad Dip College of Law

Phone: 07 3309 6846
Email: nicola.kent@avant.org.au

Nicola has been with Avant since 2017 and has extensive experience in health law.

Prior to joining Avant Nicola worked in private practice providing advice to insurer clients on regulatory matters and civil disputes.

Nicola has developed extensive experience acting on behalf of medical practitioners in disciplinary matters, complex regulatory investigations, coronial inquiries and Royal Commissions. She has represented clients in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the Supreme Court of Queensland. She also provides general advice as part of Avant’s Medico-legal Advisory Service.

Rachel Knauer

Rachel Knauer

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB, BBus (QUT)

Phone: 07 3309 6833
Email: rachel.knauer@avant.org.au

Rachel was admitted as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia in December 2003 and as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2004.

In her role as a Senior Associate Rachel represents members in complaints before regulators, including the Medical Board of Australia and the Office of the Health Ombudsman, in relation to all types of professional conduct matters, including immediate action matters. Rachel has assisted members with investigations conducted by the Queensland Government Department of Health, as well as credentialing and accreditation reviews in both the public and private sectors. She has defended members in medical negligence claims, has acted for members in coronial investigations and inquests, has represented members who have disciplinary proceedings commenced against them in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, and has represented members in all Queensland Courts.

Rachel is a member of the Queensland Law Society and the Medico-Legal Society of Queensland. She also provides general advice as part of Avant’s Medico-legal Advisory service.

Justin le Goullon

Justin le Goullon

Legal Team Manager, Professional Conduct, Avant Law
Qualifications: General Nursing Certificate (Royal Brisbane Hospital), BN, LLB, Grad Dip Legal Prac, MLB

Phone: 07 3309 6843
Email: justin.legoullon@avant.org.au

Justin has been with Avant since 2006. He also holds a nursing degree, and before joining Avant he worked in many roles in healthcare including, administration, risk management and patient safety roles. In his role as a legal team manager, he advises members in relation to matters involving the Coroner, Medical Board, Medicare, Health Ombudsman, employment disputes, professional college reviews and civil claims.

Justine Matthews

Justine Matthews

Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB

Phone: 07 3309 6856
Email: justine.matthews@avant.org.au

Justine has been with Avant since 2019.

Before joining Avant, Justine worked in litigation acting for insurers and employers in circumstances that involved workplace fatalities and accidents. During that time became an expert in recovering insurance paid from responsible third parties across multiple statutory schemes. Justine also has a wealth of experience in employment law.

In her role as a senior solicitor, Justine assists members respond to complaints involving allegations of unsatisfactory and unprofessional conduct, breaches of privacy, inappropriate prescribing, inquiries before the State Coroner and from the use of the Medicare Benefits Scheme.

Justine was listed as a Best Lawyer from 2013-2016 in the area of Workers Injury Litigation, and Doyle’s Guide as Best Lawyer in Personal Injury in 2015.

Felicity Parkhill

Felicity Parkhill

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: Bachelor of Laws (Newcastle) Diploma of Legal Practice (Newcastle)

Phone: 0435 236 783
Email: felicity.parkhill@avant.org.au

Felicity re-joined Avant in 2023 having previously worked at Avant as a claims manager. Felicity has experience in all aspects of health law both in house and in private practice and has practised in the area since her admission as a solicitor in 2011.

In her role as a senior associate, Felicity focuses on medical defence litigation and general medico-legal advice.

Elizabeth Quinn

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: BA, LLB, Grad Dip Legal Prac

Phone: 07 3309 6802
Email: elizabeth.quinn@avant.org.au

Elizabeth was admitted as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of Queensland and High Court of Australia in 2010.

Elizabeth has been with Avant since 2016. In her role as senior solicitor, Elizabeth represents members in disciplinary matters including responding to the Ahpra, the OHO, the OAIC, as well as coronial matters, Medicare matters and referrals to the QCAT. Elizabeth also provides general advice as part of Avant’s Medico-legal Advisory Service.

Prior to joining Avant, Elizabeth practised in commercial litigation and regulatory matters, and acted for doctors, dentists and nurses.

Elizabeth is a member of the Queensland Law Society’s Occupational Discipline Law Committee.

Jasmine Sears

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: BCCJ (Griffith), LLB (QUT), GradDipLegPrac (College of Law)

Jasmin has been with Avant since 2023.

Before joining Avant, Jasmin worked in a Claims Management role assisting health practitioners and medical practices with all areas of civil, disciplinary, and coronial matters. Prior to that time, Jasmin worked in private practice, acting initially for claimants before moving across to National insurance firms. Jasmin has experience in all aspects of personal injuries, including motor vehicle cases, public liability claims, workplace injuries, defence claims, dust diseases, and medical negligence.

In her role as a Senior Associate, Jasmin defends health practitioners and medical practices in civil claims.

Jasmin was listed as a Leading Lawyer in Medical Negligence and Malpractice in Doyle’s Guide in 2016 and 2017.

Phone: 0429 310 057
Email: jasmin.sears@avant.org.au

Katherine Skene

Katherine Skene

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB (Hons 1) (QUT)

Phone: 07 3309 6862
Email: katherine.skene@avant.org.au

Katherine has been with Avant since 2018.

Before joining Avant, Katherine worked in a commercial law firm providing advice to insurer clients on complex disputes, regulatory issues and civil litigation.

In her role as a Senior Associate, Katherine assists members with a range of regulatory matters including, Medical Board and Heath Ombudsman investigations, Coronial inquiries, Medicare reviews and criminal Cases.

Shalina Vanderaa

Special Counsel, Avant Law
Qualifications: BA, LLB, Grad Dip Legal Prac

Phone: 07 3309 6828
Email: shalina.vanderaa@avant.org.au

Shalina has been with Avant since 2006.

Before joining Avant, Shalina defended civil claims against public hospitals.

In her role as a Special Counsel, Shalina defends medical practitioners in a broad range of matters including: civil claims, coronial investigations and inquests, employment disputes and regulatory matters involving the Medical Board of Australia, the Office of the Health Ombudsman, the Department of Health, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and Queensland Health.

Shalina also provides general advice as part of Avant’s Medico-legal Advisory service.

Michael Wade

Michael Wade

Special Counsel (Medicare), Avant Law
Qualifications: B. Com (UNSW), LLB (UTS), Grad Dip Legal Prac

Phone: 07 3309 6809
Email: michael.wade@avant.org.au

Michael has been with Avant since 2007 and has degrees in commerce and law.

Before joining Avant, Michael worked for the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Legal Aid Commission of NSW and the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission.

Michael was also previously a partner in the Health Law practice of TressCox Lawyers.

From 2000 he has worked as a solicitor exclusively defending medical practitioners in a wide range of disciplinary and other administrative law matters. These included; professional disciplinary and impairment-related matters at all levels, coronial inquests and administrative law proceedings.

He is also the Avant inaugural national Special Counsel for Medicare matters.

Susan Woolley

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB/BSci (UQ), LLM (QUT)

Susan has been with Avant since 2021. She has experience in all aspects of personal injuries including, catastrophic motor vehicle cases, workplace injuries, victims of crime compensation and medical negligence.

Susan previously worked in the field of risk management in the context of legal practices.

In her role as a senior associate, Susan combines her biomedical science background with her legal experience.

Phone: 07 3309 6868
Email: susan.woolley@avant.org.au

Avant Law - SA
Kate Bishop

Kate Bishop

Special Counsel, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB, Grad Dip Medical and Health Law (Melb)

Phone: 08 7071 9891
Email: kate.bishop@avant.org.au

Kate has been with Avant since 2010 and has a wealth of experience assisting members in civil proceedings, Coronial Inquests, disciplinary investigations and tribunal proceedings.

She was recognised as preeminent lawyer in the South Australian Leading Medical Negligence Lawyers (Defendant) category in the Doyles Guide Insurance Law ranking for 2023.

Evelyn Iles

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB (Hons), B. Com (Corporate Finance)

Evelyn has been with Avant since 2021 and has experience in representing doctors in civil claims, coronial investigations/inquests and professional conduct matters.

Before joining Avant, Evelyn practised in commercial litigation, personal injury and insurance litigation and worked at a private law firm.

She is passionate about helping Avant members in a time of significant distress and works diligently to achieve a good outcome while providing support.

Phone: 08 7071 9897
Email: evelyn.iles@avant.org.au

Melody Scroggs

Solicitor, Avant Law
Qualification: LLB/BBus (JCU), Cert Legal Practice (Collaw), Masters of Medical and Health Law (Melb) 

Mel joined Avant in 2024 and has experience in all aspects of injury and insurance law. Mel previously worked in the public sector for both the local and state government in both Queensland and South Australia.

In her role as a Solicitor, Mel will assist members with complaints and civil claims.

Phone: 02 9640 1193
Email: Melody.Scroggs@avant.org.au

Avant Law - VIC
Lily Barbouttis

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: BA/LLB (Macquarie University)

Lily has been with Avant since November 2021. Before joining Avant, Lilly acted on behalf of motor vehicle and general insurers defending personal injury claims involving fraud, dual insurance and concurrent tortfeasors.

Lily has experience across various jurisdictions including, the Victorian County Court and Supreme Court, and the New South Wales District Court and Supreme Court.

Phone: 03 9026 5962
Email: lily.barbouttis@avant.org.au

Alexander Donnan

Alexander Donnan

Solicitor, Avant Law
Qualifications: BA/LLB, GDLP, MMC, MHlth & MedLaw candidate

Phone: 03 9026 5937
Email: alexander.donnan@avant.org.au

Alex has been with Avant since 2020.

In his role as a solicitor within the professional conduct team, Alex advises on coronial inquiries, complaints made to the Health Complaints Commissioner, AHPRA investigations and Medicare disputes. Alex prides himself on his communication skills and ability to build rapport with Avant’s members.

He is currently undertaking a Master of Health and Medical Law degree at The University of Melbourne.

Doris Melara Escobar

Senior Associate
Qualifications: Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (University of Tasmania)

Doris commenced with Avant in February 2022. 

Before joining Avant, Doris worked with Ahpra investigating notifications made against registered health practitioners. This role allowed Doris to gain valuable experience and insight in relation to disciplinary matters, regulation and health law. Doris has also previously worked in private practice providing advice to clients in a variety of different areas of law including family law and criminal law.

Doris initially commenced working with Avant’s Medico-Legal Advisor Service, assisting members with a broad range of medico-legal issues.  In her role as a Senior Associate, Doris advises members on a range of professional conduct matters including, Ahpra investigations, complaints made to the Health Complaints Commissioner, Medicare matters, coronial cases and civil matters. 

Phone: 03 9026 9000
Email: doris.melara@avant.org.au


Peter Harris

Peter Harris

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB, BSc (Chem), LLM (Hons) (University of Canterbury (NZ))

Phone: 03 9026 5947
Email: peter.harris@avant.org.au

Peter has been with Avant since 2019. Before joining Avant, Peter completed a Master of Laws, publishing and presenting his research in New Zealand and Australia. He subsequently worked in the Coroners Court in New Zealand, appearing as counsel assisting the Coroner in several high-profile inquests.

In his role as a senior associate, Peter predominantly works on professional conduct cases, including matters before the Medical Board, the Coroners Court, and Medicare. Peter also defends members in a wide range of other regulatory, criminal and civil proceedings.

Madhavi Ligam

Madhavi Ligam

Senior Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: BA (Hons)/LLB, Master of Laws (London School of Economics)

Phone: 03 9026 5975
Email: madhavi.ligam@avant.org.au

Madhavi has been with Avant since 2018. Before joining Avant, Madhavi worked as a solicitor in Australia and New Zealand for DLA Piper, where she acted for health practitioners who were subject to disciplinary proceedings.

In her role as a Senior Associate advises members on a range of professional conduct matters, such as Ahpra investigations, Medicare reviews and audits and Coronial investigations.

Vanessa Nicholson

Vanessa Nicholson

Head of Practice – VIC, ACT & WA, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB (University of WA), LLM (University of Houston)

Phone: 03 9036 5970
Email: vanessa.nicholson@avant.org.au

Vanessa has been with Avant since 2010. She has extensive experience in multiple jurisdictions, and handling complex medical negligence claims, coronial inquests, Ahpra matters and advising on indemnity issues.

Vanessa often acts in high value claims involving brain injuries and currently leads the Avant Law team in VIC, ACT and WA.

She was recognised as a leading practitioner in the Victorian Leading Medical Negligence (Defendant) category in the Doyles Guide Insurance Law ranking for 2023.

Fraser Oakley

Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB / BA - LaTrobe University

Fraser has been with Avant since September 2020. Before joining Avant, Fraser worked in a commercial law firm providing advice to professionals and insurer clients on complex personal injury and professional liability disputes and regulatory issues.

In his role as a Associate, he assists members with a range of matters including, coronial inquiries, Medical Board investigations, Medicare compliance activities and criminal cases.

Phone: 03 9026 5993
Email: fraser.oakley@avant.org.au

Adam Stevens

Adam Stevens

Legal Team Manager (Civil), Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB, BCom (Melb)

Phone: 03 9026 5912
Email: adam.stevens@avant.org.au

Adam has been with Avant since 2018.

Before joining Avant, Adam acted for insurers and insureds in a variety of matters including, pharmaceutical class actions, personal injury claims and medical negligence claims.

He regularly acts in matters in the Victorian County Court and Victoria Supreme Court.

Adam was formally a member the of Executive Committee of the National Product Liability Association. He was judged the Most Outstanding Advocate Hanover Moot (2012).

As a Legal Team Manager, he exclusively specialises in medical negligence litigation and manages a team of lawyers


Caroline Tuohey

Caroline Tuohey

Legal Team Manager (Professional Conduct), Avant Law
Qualifications: BA/LLB (Monash University)

Phone: 03 9026 5906
Email: caroline.tuohey@avant.org.au


Caroline has been with Avant since 2018 and has been representing doctors and allied health practitioners for the past 20 years.

Before joining Avant Caroline practised as a solicitor for Ahpra and the National Boards regulating registered health practitioners. Her experience includes representing health practitioners in regulatory investigations, Medicare and professional service reviews, coronial investigations, compensation claims and Victorian Civil Administrative tribunal proceedings.

She was recognised as a recommended lawyer in the Victorian Leading Medical Negligence and Malpractice Lawyers (Defendant) category in the Doyles Guide Insurance Law ranking for 2022.

Avant Law - WA
Tessa Flynn

Associate, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB and BA

Tessa joined Avant Law in 2021.

Before joining Avant, Tessa was an Associate working on a broad range of personal injuries matters.

In her role as an Associate, Tessa represents members in relation to civil claims, disciplinary complaints and coronial hearings.

Phone: 08 6189 5715
Email: tessa.flynn@avant.org.au

Kate Reynolds

Senior Associate

Kate Reynolds is a dual qualified lawyer and registered nurse. Kate acts for medical practitioners and practices in civil  matters,  professional conduct matters, coronial inquests and Medicare investigations.

Kate has a strong interest in advocacy and mediation. She enjoys actively defending medical matters and achieving positive outcomes for clients.

Kate is currently completing a Master of Bioethics at the University of Sydney.

Morag Smith

Morag Smith

Special Counsel, Avant Law
Qualifications: BJuris/LLB

Phone: 08 6189 5709
Email: morag.smith@avant.org.au

Morag has been with Avant since 2007, starting in the Sydney office before moving to the Perth office.

Before joining Avant, Morag worked in the legal industry representing doctors and hospitals in Australia and in the UK.

In her role as a special counsel, Morag represents members in relation to civil medical negligence claims, disciplinary complaints and coronial hearings.

Avant Law – Workplace Law Team
Sonya Black

Sonya Black

Legal Team Manager, Workplace Law Team, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB (First Class Honours with University Medal), B. Com (UQ)
State: QLD

Phone: 0448 060 907
Email: sonya.black@avant.org.au

 

Sonya has been with Avant since 2012.

Sonya advises members and medical practices across Australia about a broad range of employment and workplace issues in the public and private sectors. She provides practical and common-sense solutions to workplace concerns to minimise disputes.

In addition, Sonya is well equipped to support members and medical practices in employment litigation if that becomes necessary.

Terani Inoke

Senior Associate, Workplace Law Team, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB / BBus, James Cook University
State: NSW

Terani has been with Avant since 2016.

Terani provides advice to members and practices on employment and workplace issues. Terani previously worked in Avant Law’s disciplinary team acting in matters with the Health Ombudsman, Medical Board, Coroner and Medicare. This background helps her to provide practical and strategic advice.

Phone: 03 9026 5980
Email: terani.inoke@avant.org.au

Oliver Wilhelm

Associate, Workplace Law Team, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB, Ba App Sci (Clinical)/Ba Chiro Sci, MPhtySt, Grad Dip Leg Prac
State: VIC

Oliver has a hybrid background with qualifications in law, chiropractic and physiotherapy.

Oliver commenced with Avant in 2022. He advises members and medical practices on employment and workplace health and safety issues.

Oliver has a keen interest the workplace disputes, management of ill and injured workers and workplace safety matters.

Phone: 0407 626 158
Email: oliver.wilhelm@avant.org.au

Lucas Moctezuma

Solicitor, Avant Law
State: NSW

Lucas has been with Avant since 2023.

Lucas advises members and medical practices on a variety of employment issues. He has an extensive background in workplace relations, having worked for a trade union and numerous law firms specialising in employment law.

Lucas has a keen interest in workplace disputes and assisting members and practices in proceedings before industrial tribunals.

Phone: 02 9260 9192
Email: Lucas.Moctezuma@avant.org.au

Daniel Krips

Special Counsel, Workplace Law Team, Avant Law
Qualifications: LLB (Hons), GDLP, B.Int.Studies
State: SA

Danny joined Avant in January 2024, bringing 13 years’ experience in private practice specialising in employment and industrial matters.

Danny has served as a trusted advisor to doctors and health managers in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.  He brings a practical, pragmatic and insightful approach to resolving the issues and challenges that doctors and medical practices face.  Where necessary, Danny can draw on direct experience in managing litigation and formal disputes.

Phone: 02 9260 9045
Email: Daniel.Krips@avant.org.au

Medico-legal Advisory Service
Allyson Alker

Allyson Alker

Associate
Qualifications: BN, LLB

Phone: 02 9260 9076
Email: allyson.alker@avant.org.au

Allyson has been with Avant since 2018 and provides advice to members and practices as part of Avant’s Medico-legal Advisory Team.

Before joining Avant, Allyson developed extensive experience in risk management in the medical indemnity and healthcare fields. Prior to obtaining her law degree, she worked for a number of years as a registered nurse and midwife.

Kate Gillman

Kate Gillman

Head of Medico-legal Advisory Service
Qualifications: BA LLB
State: NSW

Phone: 02 9260 9087
Email: kate.gillman@avant.org.au

Kate has been with Avant since 2011, having previously worked in the major claims legal team of United Medical Protection between 2004 – 2006.

Before joining Avant Kate was a partner in a London law firm specialising in medical negligence litigation for the NHS, and worked in a law firm in Singapore, advising doctors and medical practices. She has also had experience working in the public sector, for the Northern Territory Attorney-General’s Department and the Commonwealth Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Kate is the head of the medico-legal advisory service, overseeing Avant’s 24/7 advice line. She has published articles and given presentations on a wide range of medico-legal topics, and is currently the assistant legal secretary of the NSW Medico Legal Society.


Jane Hassell

Jane Hassell

Senior Associate
Qualifications: Bachelor of Laws/ Legal Practice (Honours), Bachelor of Arts
State: SA

Phone: 08 7071 9890
Email: jane.hassell@avant.org.au

Jane has been with Avant since 2008 and has over 20 years of experience working as a solicitor.

Before joining Avant, Jane worked in various large law firms in South Australia, New South Wales and the United Kingdom, specialising in professional indemnity claims and particular medical negligence matters.

When starting at Avant, Jane was the sole solicitor in Avant’s Adelaide office. In 2010 she moved to Sydney to work as a Senior Claims Manager. She is currently working in Adelaide as a Senior Associate in the Medico-legal Advisory Service team.

Miranda Kehoe

Senior Associate
Qualifications: LLB / BA (Hons)
State: QLD

Miranda has been with Avant since 2008, representing members in civil and professional conduct matters. She is currently a senior associate with the Medico-legal Advisory Service.

Before joining Avant, Miranda was in private legal practice. She appeared in trials before the Supreme and High Courts. Miranda also worked in London and the United States for doctors and other professionals, including claims adjusting multi-jurisdictional class actions. Her experience includes a stint with the Medical Board.

Phone number: 07 3309 6823
Email: miranda.kehoe@avant.org.au

Rebecca Kovacs

Rebecca Kovacs

Senior Associate
Qualifications: LLB, BS

Phone number: 03 9026 5919
Email: rebecca.kovacs@avant.org.au

Rebecca has been with Avant since 2017 and practising in health law for over 10 years. During this time Rebecca has represented medical practitioners in regulatory investigations including Ahpra, Medicare and Coronial Investigations.

Rebecca’s experience includes acting as in-house counsel for Ahpra and the 15 National Boards regulating registered health practitioners and defending public health services in medical negligence litigation.

Tracy Pickett

Tracy Pickett

Senior Associate
Qualifications: BA, LLB

Phone number: 07 3309 6830
Email: tracy.pickett@avant.org.au

Tracy has been with Avant since 2015 and has over 24 years of experience in medico-legal complaint management.

Before joining Avant, Tracy acted for healthcare professionals indemnified by the major Australian medical defence organisations and Queensland Health.

In her role as part of the Medico-legal Advisory Service, Tracy has a keen awareness of members' needs and seeks to provide prompt, effective and proactive solutions to their varied medico-legal concerns.

Tracy was named, by her peers, the Leading Queensland Defendant Medical Negligence Lawyer in 2020 and 2021 Doyle’s Guide.

Tracy was recognised as a pre-eminent practitioner in the Queensland Leading Medical Negligence Lawyers (Defendant), category of the Doyles Defendant Insurance Law rankings for 2023.

She is a director of the AEIOU Foundation, past president of the Medico-Legal Society of Queensland, former director of Queensland Doctors’ Health Programme, and currently a member of Uniting Care Human Research Ethics Committee.

Megan Prideaux

Megan Prideaux

Senior Associate
Qualifications: BA (Hons), LLB, Grad Dip in Health and Medical Law (Melb)
State: SA

Phone number: 08 7071 9896 or 0478 305 989
Email: megan.prideaux@avant.org.au

Megan has been with Avant since 2010 and has extensive experience in regulation of health professionals and medical negligence.

Before joining Avant, Megan worked both in private practice and within the government.

In her role as a senior associate in the Medico-legal Advisory team she provides members with advice on a broad range of medico-legal matters relevant to daily medical practice.

Katherine Raftesath

Solicitor
Qualifications: LLB (hons), Dip Arts, Grad Dip Ed

Katherine re-joined Avant in 2021 having previously worked here as a solicitor when it was United Medical Protection.

With a background in health litigation, Katherine has worked in London for an NHS panel firm.

Katherine is a solicitor in the Medico-legal Advisory team and enjoys the variety of work that this offers.

Phone number: 02 9260 9021
Email: katherine.raftesath@avant.org.au

Melanie Robson

Melanie Robson

Senior Associate
Qualifications: LLB (Hons.), BA (Media and Communications)

Phone: 03 9026 5960
Email: melanie.robson@avant.org.au

Melanie joined Avant in 2015 and has over 10 years’ experience in health law. She currently works as a senior associate in the Medico-Legal Advisory Service.

Prior to this role, Melanie specialised in employment law including contract disputes and negotiation, alleged misconduct and bullying claims. She has also represented medical practitioners in civil disputes, AHPRA investigations, Medicare reviews and coronial inquests.

Melanie came to Avant from her position as Senior Advisor/Solicitor and Privacy Officer at AMA Victoria, where she liaised on behalf of medical practitioners with external stakeholders including WorkSafe Vic, AHPRA, Medicare and public and private hospitals on a range of medico legal, policy, compliance and regulatory matters.

Sharon Russell

Legal Team Manager
Qualifications: Dip Law (LPAB), B App Sc (Phty)

Sharon has been with Avant since 2022 and has extensive experience in health law.

Prior to joining Avant, Sharon worked as an in-house solicitor providing advice to insured medical practitioners and practices in relation to civil disputes, regulatory matters and other health law issues.

Sharon has developed extensive experience acting on behalf of medical practitioners in civil disputes, disciplinary matters, complex regulatory investigations, coronial inquiries and other health law matters. She provides general advice as part of Avant’s Medico-legal Advisory Service.

Email: sharon.russell@avant.org.au

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