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15 December 2022 

The firm has appointed three new Principal Lawyers in Queensland: Maroochydore office leader Mala Heffernan, Brisbane medical negligence specialist Melissa Meyers, and Claire Gibbs who runs the Southport and Palm Beach offices.

Personal injuries lawyer Julian Brown from the Cairns office, and Jarrah Ekstein from the Brisbane class actions team, will be promoted to Special Counsel.

There will be four new Senior Associates: Kirsten Van Der Wal from medical negligence, Strathpine office leader Rachel Davis, Toowoomba office leader Allison Grimley and Zoe Keane from class actions.

Across the state, 10 lawyers will be promoted to Associates across the personal injuries, class actions and super and insurance practices.

Principal Lawyer Michelle James, who heads Maurice Blackburn’s Queensland injuries divisions, congratulated all the lawyers on their promotions.

“We are fortunate at Maurice Blackburn to have many talented and committed people working to deliver great outcomes for our clients,” Ms James said.

“We are particularly proud to see so many female leaders being recognised, with women making up 15 of the 19 promotions in Queensland.

“Our firm remains a strong supporter of women in leadership roles, including delivering 50 per cent gender diversity in our Board appointments since 2018.

“These promotions reflect the talent across many practice areas, particularly our personal injuries team, and we are pleased that 45 per cent of our office leaders have been promoted this year.

“It’s also wonderful to see the spread of talent around the state, with promotions for staff in Browns Plains, Ipswich, Mackay, Maroochydore, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Strathpine, Toowoomba and Cairns.”

Full list of Maurice Blackburn’s 2023 Queensland promotions:

Promoted to Principal Lawyer

  • Claire Gibbs
  • Melissa Meyers
  • Mala Heffernan

Promoted to Special Counsel

  • Jarrah Ekstein
  • Julian Brown

Promoted to Senior Associate

  • Kirsten Van Der Wal
  • Allison Grimley
  • Zoe Keane
  • Rachel Davis

Promoted to Associate

  • Hayley Stokes
  • Omar Sarac
  • Charleton O'Brien
  • Teagan Hickey
  • Jenna Cruikshank
  • Andrew Herzig
  • Rebecca Coulter
  • Jermia Burton
  • Amy Ryan
  • Katharine Wood


Media inquiries:
Chee Chee Leung at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers on 0412 560 584 or

Maurice Blackburn media team

Our media team advises and supports Maurice Blackburn lawyers and clients during all forms of media engagement, including video and television appearances, radio, online and print media.

Please direct media inquiries to, or contact team members directly via the phone numbers below.


Jade Knight

National Manager Public Affairs, Media and communications

  • Brisbane, QLD
  • (07) 3016 0396
    0417 969 438

Michael Cooney

General Manager Public Affairs, Media and communications

  • Melbourne, VIC
  • (03) 9605 2700

Chee Chee Leung

Media Manager, Media and communications

  • Melbourne, VIC
  • (03) 9045 6941
    0412 560 584

Paddy Murphy

Media Manager, Media and communications

  • Melbourne, VIC
  • (03) 8102 2003
    0490 297 391

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