Committee

We are pleased to have a diverse, highly-credentialed committee team.  Committee members are drawn from all branches of legal practitioner, legal academic and community organisations.

Ross Lee

President

Ross Lee has been a lawyer for over 20 years, following an eight-year insurance career as an underwriter and loss adjuster. Ross values ‘duty before self’ – keeping in touch with clients, cost efficiencies and results.

In civil litigation, Ross is dedicated to assisting people in small business, building & construction, property, insolvency and estate disputes. Legal risk management for small business and bodies corporate is a special interest. Ross is an accredited mediator which is of great assistance to clients resolving disputes effectively. Ross has a strong practice in general insurance, life insurance and compensation claims. He is one of few lawyers accredited as an ANZIIF Certified Insurance Professional (CIP).

Ross comes from a long line of service and is the founding president of My Community Legal Inc.

David Cole

Vice President

David has devoted around 20 years in the pursuit of justice throughout Queensland focused on Commercial Litigation, Criminal Law, Family Law and Traffic.

David was a permanent member of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) when he decided to pursue a career in law.  After graduating in 1999 with a Bachelor of Laws (University of Queensland), David worked with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) before deciding to combine his interests in military and law with a Graduate Diploma in Military Law (University of Melbourne) and a Master of Laws (Australian National University).

Following his diverse interest in international issues and law, David studied European Union Law, International Trade Law with Russian and East European Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School, London.  David worked for Crown Law as a Prosecutor before establishing his own Chambers in Brisbane.

His work as a Prosecutor gave him vital insights into both sides of the law which subsequently proved valuable when advising clients facing criminal charges.  This experience, as both Prosecutor and Defence Counsel, later proved to be an additional benefit to law students at Bond University and Southern Cross University during his time teaching at these institutions.

After leaving Crown Law, David returned to work for Defence as a Senior Legal Officer in Administrative Law and continues his long association with the RAAF.  He also maintains a keen interest in Military Law and Veteran Affairs.  David assists Robina Community Legal Centre clients by extensive experience in many aspects of  law.

David’s calm and professional demeanour and formidable knowledge of the law, reassures clients while he advises them to the best of his ability.

In his spare time David enjoys a spot of fishing, and there is rarely ‘the one that got away’.

George Pharmacis

Treasurer

George Pharmacis is the Principal of Pharmacis Canning Lawyers, originally Canning Lawyers, serving the Gold Coast for over 20 years. George holds a Bachelor of Laws (Bond) and Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Bond). Having achieved a First Place in Electronic Banking Law, he went on to Corporate and Commercial Law Specialisation and General Legal Practice Specialisation.

George specialises in Criminal, Domestic Violence, Family Law, Wills, Estate Planning and Probate, Litigation and Dispute Resolution and he is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court and High Court of Australia.

Although George has been practising law for many years it is his strong commitment to the community that benefits his clients the most.  George has adopted the Latin phrase ‘Esse quam videri ‘ (To be, rather than to seem) as his motto, which sums up his personal character and business practice particularly well. Using his innate ability to quickly assess and weigh up a client’s options, George focuses on achieving the best outcome for the client while endeavouring to avoid expensive time consuming litigation.

George’s many years’ experience managing multi-national production companies around the world provided him with exceptional managerial and interpersonal skills. The manufacturing industry is an unforgiving master, demanding quality control and non-negotiable deadlines, as does the Courtroom. George is prepped and ready for anything, thinking outside the box and calling on his entrepreneurial expertise to present a totally professional service. Many of you might remember the Surfers Paradise Rodeo of 1997, hosting a crowd of 5000, and organised by George. Orchestrating such an event also demonstrates George’s ability to ask the right questions, assess information quickly, meet the client’s needs in rapid time and follow through to completion.

George is fluent in Greek and has a keen interest in Community Legal problems guaranteeing the client receives advice that is relevant, strategic and in their best interest.

In his free time George is a keen practitioner of Kung Fu in which he is a fifth degree Master having studied the martial art for over 25 years under the renowned Grandmaster Henry Sue and maintains the Kung Fu school at Bond University.

Sarah Mouritz

Secretary

Sarah comes from a background in the mining and energy resource sector and now advise a range of clients across various industries in employment law. Specifically, advising clients on modern award compliance, operation of enterprise agreements, contract preparation and negotiations, unlawful discrimination, corporate restructuring risks and strategies, management of ill and injured employees and dismissal.

She also has extensive experience representing and defending clients in unfair dismissal and general protections claims before the Fair Work Commission.

Sarah feels she has become a day to day resource for many of my client’s businesses and strongly believes that clients should not be afraid of their lawyer! She aims to provide practical and commercial solutions to all client employment needs.

Brent Blond

Committee, Social

Brent Blond was called to the Bar in 2002 and practices in Information Technology Law, Family Law, Criminal Law, Civil litigation, Mediation.

Brent holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Business (Information Technology) and is studying a Masters in Law in Intellectual Property.

He is an Accredited Mediator, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and an accredited Independent Children’s Lawyer.

Brent regularly appears in State and Federal jurisdictions, in Queensland, NSW, WA and Victoria

Greg Betts

Commmittee, Community Engagement

A former Gold Coast City Councillor from 2004 to 2016, Greg now has a consultancy offering services in town planning, business development, and stakeholder engagement.  He holds a Masters degree in Urban Planning from Bond University and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  Previous Board experience includes being a member of the Gold Coast Tourism Corporation. 

Due to Greg’s extensive experience as a City Councillor, he has a highly developed understanding of governance matters and committee and Board processes.  He enjoys serving the community through his work with the RCLC.

Dawn Francoeur

Committee, Compliance

Dawn Francoeur is a Commercial Litigation Lawyer on the Gold Coast.

Prior to moving away from the snow and cold of Canada Dawn worked as a litigation paralegal for over 10 years.  Completing her Juris Doctor in 2011, Dawn was admitted as a Solicitor in 2012 and commenced her career in Commercial Litigation.

Dr Samuli Haataja

Committee, Griffith University Engagement

Dr Samuli Haataja is a lecturer at Griffith Law School.

Samuli’s publications include:

Cyber Attacks and International Law on the Use of Force: The Turn to Information Ethics Stuxnet and international law on the use of force: an informational approach The 2007 cyber attacks against Estonia and international law on the use of force: an informational approach Research Handbook on International Law and Cyberspace (Book Review) Technology, Violence and Law: Cyber Attacks and Uncertainty in International Law.

Jennifer Nielsen

Committee, Southern Cross University Engagement

Jennifer Nielsen is a long-term member of the School of Law and Justice’s academic team. She has held several leadership roles in the School including Head of School from 2009-2011, School Director of Research and Research Training 2011-2013, and LLB Course Coordinator from 2005-2007.

As well as being an active researcher, she has taught across the School?s undergraduate curriculum, teaches into the LLB Honours program, and is Principal Supervisor to several PhD candidates. She is active in the community and is the current Chairperson of the Committee of Management, Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre.

In 2001, she was awarded `Volunteer of the Year’ by the NSW Law & Justice Foundation for her long-term commitment to improving access to justice in the region, particularly for socially and economically marginalised people. Before joining Southern Cross in 1994, she practised as a solicitor in New South Wales and Victoria, and worked in academic positions with both the Monash Orientation Scheme for Aborigines and the Faculty of Law at Monash University.

Miranda Podleska

Committee, Bond University Engagement

Miranda is an admitted Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland and High Court of Australia.

Miranda holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Tasmania, Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Australian Securities Institute and Diploma of Law from the New South Wales Legal Profession Admission Board. She completed her Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at Bond University.

Miranda commenced her professional career in banking and finance and prior to entering legal practice she worked exclusively in building and property development for over a decade.   Miranda’s key areas of legal practice are commercial and property law and her extensive experience gives her a sound understanding of the needs of clients who operate in the business and corporate sector.

Miranda joined Bond University in 2017 and teaches Property Law Practice, Banking and Finance Law and Corporate and Commercial Practice in the Centre for Professional Education.

Amanda Tomlinson

Committee, Compliance

Amanda is an Accredited Family Law Specialist and Senior Associate Lawyer with RobertsLaw Solicitors in Mudgeeraba, where she has practiced in Family and Estate Law for more than 12 years.  Amanda holds a double Bachelor of Laws degree, granted with Honours, and Bachelor of Business (Accounting) degree.  She also holds a Post-Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from Bond University.

Whilst Amanda has a particular interest in complex Family Law property matters, she is also dedicated to achieving equitable legal solutions in all facets of both Family and Estate Law.

Amanda has been involved with the Robina Community Legal Centre since its trading inception in February 2014 and is one of the Centre’s advice session supervisors.

Adeline Yap

Committee, Social

Adeline Yap is the My Community Legal’s association vice president and founding secretary. She is also a commercial solicitor at a law firm situated on the Gold Coast.

As a Gold Coast resident, Adeline is committed to this area.

Adeline enjoys being active and attending networking events.

Andrew McConaghy

Honorary Accountant

At McConaghy & Co, we believe in providing quality accounting, taxation and business consulting services to our clients in a timely and efficient manner.

We have experience of working with an expansive and diverse client base comprising of all entities including individuals, partnerships, companies, trusts and superannuation funds. Our client base covers many different industries including, but not limited to, building and construction, retail, real estate, information technology, finance, hotels and healthcare.

We are a family business with a reputation for retaining our client base, many of whom are also family run businesses. We understand the needs and priorities of our clients. The practice has been located in the same premises in Bundall since 1987. We have seen many changes to the Gold Coast and our surrounding neighbourhood but are still proud to provide the same high quality service as on day one of the firm.

We aim to provide the highest level of service and personal attention to all our clients at a realistic price. We will achieve growth by sustaining long term business relationships and maintaining our excellent reputation for quality work and advice. Andrew McConaghy is assisted by senior accountant Alanna Loveless.  Alanna has been with the firm since 2006.