Location(s): Brisbane
Qualification(s): LLB (Hons), Post Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice, Queensland Law Society accredited specialist

Michelle James is a personal injuries compensation Principal in Maurice Blackburn’s Brisbane office and the head of our national Sexual and Institutional Abuse Litigation practice.

Michelle has been working in the legal industry since 1998 and is a tenacious fighter for the rights of individuals. She was admitted to practise in 2001 and is a Queensland Law Society personal injuries accredited specialist.

Michelle is an experienced lawyer with a particular interest in bringing claims on behalf of the survivors of institutional and other abuse, and she is also an excellent communicator with expertise in governance. In addition to representing people who have suffered abuse, Michelle helps clients with compensation claims relating to injuries suffered at work, in a road accident, and through public liability claims.

“I have always had a strong sense of social justice and a willingness to stand up for what is right,” says Michelle.

“It was natural to want to use the law to achieve this end. It has allowed me to advocate, privately and publicly, for those who are unable to advocate for themselves.

“It is rewarding to know that I make a genuine difference in the lives of individuals. I also enjoy using my profile to advocate for positive legal policy.”

When it comes to the sensitive legal area of sexual and institutional abuse, Michelle is specially trained in trauma informed practice which ensures she works with clients to access justice in a way that recognises the complex trauma they have suffered. She stands apart from her contemporaries in the way she deals with the stories of these individuals whose trust has been breached in the most horrific way.

“I am driven by the injustice I witness on a daily basis where lives have been irreparably damaged by the actions of others, and knowing I can effect positive change for them.”

Michelle’s advocacy and leadership have been a feature of her legal career. She was the first woman to be elected President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance Queensland branch, the QLS recognised Michelle’s extensive contribution to the legal industry with the 2013 Agnes McWhinney Award, and she was also listed in the prestigious Doyles Guide in 2015.

Michelle is also a trained adult literacy tutor, including education relating to institutional abuse, and she sits on several legal and community boards and committees.

Memberships & accreditations

  • Queensland Law Society member
  • QLS Specialist Accreditation Personal Injuries Advisory Committee member
  • Australian Lawyers Alliance Queensland member and past president
  • Queensland Building and Construction Committee Board Member
  • QBCC People and Culture Committee Chair
  • Encircle Pty Ltd Director (not-for-profit community organisation)

Awards

  • Queensland Law Society Agnes McWhinney Award winner, 2013
  • Listed in Doyle’s Guide, 2015

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