Hunters Best Legal Advice: High achievers with heart – Newcastle Herald Feature

Hunters Best Legal Advice

Gillard Family Lawyers solicitor Luke Shearston has passed his Specialist Accreditation in Family Law, becoming the third solicitor at the firm to achieve this prestigious ranking.

Specialist Accreditation is a structured peer to peer assessment process overseen by the Law Society of NSW enabling legal practitioners to be recognised for their expertise.

“Specialist Accreditation is held by less than six per cent of the profession here in New South Wales,” Specialist Accreditation chair Richard Harvey said.

Each year the Law Society runs the accreditation program for a select number of areas of law. The program consists of meticulous assessments on both legal knowledge and its application in practice. For accreditation to be conferred the candidate must pass all assessments.

“We are proud that Specialists Accreditation is such a rigorous process and getting accredited is just the start,” Mr Harvey said. “When a specialist retains their accreditation year on year their clients know the value of the advice they receive.”

Gillard Family Lawyers director Michelle Gillard, herself an accredited specialist in family law, praised Luke’s achievement.

“As of November 1 he can officially advertise his standing,” Michelle said.”It also means that we are now the only firm in Newcastle with three accredited specialists in Family Law. The third solicitor in our firm, Ashley Stevens, is also accredited.”

Gillard Family Lawyers is proudly focused and specialised in all areas of Family Law.

“Family Law matters can cause extreme anxiety for most people,” Michelle said.

“Seeing an experienced lawyer in Family Law will help a person get realistic sound advice and a good understanding of what their options are and where to start.

“An experienced lawyer will give you advice on the likely outcome of your matter. We give clients informative information on their circumstances and how the law will impact them.”

Michelle’s vision from the start was to create a “boutique” family law practice, but she has always been of the view that it is important to give back to the community and is proud to take on Legal Aid cases.

“We predominantly act for private clients but all of us take on some Legal Aid matters on principal,” she explained.

“Regrettably, Legal Aid cases often have issues that aren’t found in everyday or boutique Family Law matters.

“To keep your finger on the pulse you really have to be acting in Legal Aid matters.

“By continuing to take on a small amount of Legal Aid work some of the most vulnerable members of the community will have the benefit of experienced Family Law accredited specialists acting for them.

“In Newcastle one would be hard pressed to find any accredited specialist taking on Legal Aid matters.”

All solicitors at Gillard Family Lawyers have recently finished the Independent Childrens Lawyer training and are in the process of making applications to Legal Aid to join the panel.

Gillard Family Lawyers is located at Bolton Street in Newcastle and offers fixed fee initial consultations for $220.

Appointments can be booked by calling (02) 4910 0740 or completing a new inquiry form on their website. The appointment usually lasts an hour to an hour and half depending on if it is just parenting or property or both.

For more information visit or email

The original Newcastle Herald article can be found here.