The University of Newcastle, Australia

Newcastle Law School Advisory Board

Newcastle Law School’s advisory board brings together the specialist knowledge and legal professional practice expertise of a highly skilled and diverse group.

Members of the Advisory Board include members of the judiciary, lawyers from local and global law firms, members of community legal centres, lawyers from government agencies, members of the Newcastle Bar Association, and sole practitioners.

The Advisory Board has three sub-committees who provide strategic advice on alignment of the Law School’s strategic objectives with external opportunities and community expectations in the areas of equity and diversity, professionalism, and promotion and funding.

The Advisory Board meets three times a year, while the sub-committees continue to work independently on initiatives and report back to the whole Board. Board members are asked to serve an initial two year term, but may be invited to renew their membership or recommend a replacement member from their particular field or area of expertise.

Law School Advisory Board meetings are open to Newcastle Law School staff and may also include invited guests from time to time.

Bronwyn Ambrogetti is the Managing Solicitor of the Hunter Community Legal Centre, a community legal centre based in Newcastle, providing free legal services to vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the Hunter Region of NSW. Bronwyn is committed to improving access to justice for vulnerable people. She has worked in community legal services including the Aboriginal Legal Service, the Intellectual Disability Rights Service and the Hunter Community Legal Centre. Bronwyn has a special interest in legal education. She is a member of the Global Alliance for Justice Education and convenes the Community Legal Education Workers group at CLCNSW which focuses on community based legal education. In 2018 Bronwyn was an International Clinician in Residence at Taungyi and Myitkyina Universities in Myanmar. Bronwyn is on the Board of the Newcastle Women Lawyers Association and Catapult Dance.

Felicity is a solicitor in private practice with Mullane & Lindsay solicitors an established law firm in Newcastle of more than 40 years' standing. She works in the firm's CPE (Commercial & Property and Estate law) group. She is a registered Trust and Estate practitioner. Prior to joining Mullane & Lindsay, Felicity worked as a clinical law lecturer at the University of Newcastle supervising students in the University’s legal centre and teaching litigation and DR skills to students enrolled in the professional program and civil procedure and Dispute Resolution to undergraduates. Whilst working as a clinical law teacher, Felicity was appointed chief investigating officer for a research project into Emotional intelligence. Felicity continues to take an active interest in legal education and research and is also a member of the Newcastle Chapter of the Resolution Institute providing training for local mediators. Her original interest in dispute resolution was ignited following her management role in a pilot program launched by Her Honour Judge Sidis in Newcastle designed to encourage local solicitors to embrace dispute resolution. Felicity is an occasional visiting lecturer at the University and a member of the Newcastle Law Society Committee which organises continuing professional development seminars for the local profession. Felicity is delighted to offer her services to the University and the profession through her membership of the Board.

Geoff Mulherin CSC is the Director of the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, an independent statutory body, which is globally recognised for its work to identify the legal and access to justice needs of the community, what ‘works’ to address those needs, and to support the planning and delivery of appropriate and cost-effective legal services to the community.

Geoff is a Director of the Pro Bono Disbursement Fund, and a member of the NSW Legal Assistance Forum and of the Legal Information Access Centre of the State Library of NSW. His research interests include the planning and delivery of legal services in rural regional remote areas of NSW, and has a growing personal interest in the Hunter region.

Jonathon is a Director in Law Design & Practice, within the Australian Taxation Office. A University of Newcastle alumni post-graduate with 20 years experience in tax education, he is focused on promoting the benefits of alternative dispute resolution techniques across a range of settings

Bachelor of Law/ Bachelor of Arts

Justice Margaret Cleary was appointed as a judge of the Family Court of Australia in July 2010.  Prior to her appointment, Her Honour had been a barrister for 23 years practising in Sydney in Family Law, the Children’s Court and other areas. Her Honour was also a solicitor in general practice for 4 years prior in the Western suburbs of Sydney. Her Honour qualified as a Family Law mediator and arbitrator and conducted private and Court based mediations and arbitrations.

Her Honour is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has an interest in companies in the Family Law context. However, her most enduring interest is a focus on the protection and welfare of children involved in the Court process through disputes within their families.

Richard is a Conjoint Professor of Practice in the School of Law. He is a member of the Advisory Board for the Faculty of Business and Law in addition to his role on the School of Law Advisory Board. In his professional life, Richard was a partner of Sparke Helmore prior to retiring from full time practice in 2017.  He remains a consultant to the Firm.

Outside the law, Richard is currently Chair of Hunter Primary Care Limited and a non-executive director of Rural and Remote Medical Services Limited. He maintains a keen interest as an advocate for sustainable growth and investment in the Hunter region through his involvement with the Committee for the Hunter.

Bachelor of Laws / Diploma of Legal Practice 1998/ Bachelor of Economics 1996

After studying at Newcastle University, Tony worked as a solicitor in Sydney and London for seven years before going to the Bar in Sydney. Tony’s practice at the Bar for ten years focused primarily on employment and industrial law. In 2015, Tony was appointed to the Fair Work Commission. He is now a Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission, based in Newcastle.

Magistrate Nell Skinner was appointed as a Magistrate of the Local Court in 2009. Nell is currently the Magistrate at the Broadmeadow Children’s Court, presiding over cases in the criminal jurisdiction and care and protection jurisdiction. Prior to her appointment, Nell worked as a solicitor for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Legal Aid and the Aboriginal Legal Service.

Marcus McCarthy is a highly experienced construction, corporate and commercial lawyer with over 25 years’ experience in private practice and in-house roles. He is the founder and Managing Partner of Nexus Law Group, an award winning innovative new legal practice structure. Marcus is at the forefront of industry developments in Australia and presents regularly at industry events and seminars. He has a passion for legal technology and practice innovation and is a published author on Australian construction law and Security of Payments legislation. He regularly advises significant clients on complex commercial disputes and corporate law. He also advises clients on capital raisings and growth strategy and recently launched an online smart contracting and business management platform, OpenLaw. With significant management experience outside law, Marcus recognise the importance of general commercial acumen and is working with the Newcastle University Advisory Board to promote student preparedness for the future legal landscape.