Carolyn Devries

CEO and Principal Lawyer

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Carolyn grew up on a farm in central west NSW and most Sunday afternoons were spent with her family checking the sheep in the paddocks. She enjoyed helping out and watching the sheep, marvelling at how one or two would break away from the pack and take a different path to the rest of the herd. Her mum and dad would tell her to go and bring back the rogue sheep. She always did as she was told but secretly she cheered on the rebel sheep and admired their tenacity.

At the age of 17, Carolyn packed her bags and moved to the city to study law. After graduating, she accepted a job at a law firm, like most of her peers, and settled into her new career. She quickly became frustrated and disillusioned with the legal system, confronted by the fact that so many people weren’t eligible for Legal Aid but then couldn’t afford the alternative of paying the high fees charged by law firms. Carolyn was determined to find a way to help and change the system. After much research Carolyn began to envisage the concept of a ‘non profit law firm’, and in 2009, in true reminiscent style of a breakaway sheep, Carolyn took the ground breaking step of establishing Australia’s first non profit law firm, New Way Lawyers.

Carolyn’s skill set is perfectly suited to her role as CEO of Australia’s first non profit law firm. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She is admitted to Practice in the High Court of Australia, the Supreme Court of Queensland and the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Carolyn also holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Masters in Human Services, specialising in the management of non profit organisations.

Carolyn has been publicly recognised and awarded for her work in establishing New Way Lawyers. In 2012 she was a finalist in the Queensland Telstra Business Women’s Awards being nominated for the Community and Government, Innovation and Young Business Women’s categories and she was the winner of the Community and Government Award. She is a recognised voice in the legal and community sectors and she regularly speaks at conferences and events. 

Carolyn and the team at New Way Lawyers also initiated a Facebook group called Lunch with a Lawyer, to improve access to free family law information for those in difficult family circumstances.

Although modest about her achievements, when asked about her work with New Way Lawyers Carolyn often refers to the famous stanza of the Road Not Taken poem by Robert Frost. I shall be telling this with sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence, two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference. Carolyn shares that her deepest desire is that her divergent career path on the road less taken will make a difference and help families who are facing difficult legal situations who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access legal services.

Jennifer Claridge

Managing Lawyer

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Jennifer will proudly share with you that she was born and raised “in the bush”. Her family was living in Broken Hill when she was born and she has fond memories of growing up in this country town.

When you meet Jennifer one of the first things she will ask you is “would you like a cup of tea”. Jennifer loves her tea, Irish Breakfast is her favourite, and she prides herself of making a perfectly brewed cup. Having grown up in the bush she is a believer in the philosophy that a lot of problems can be helped by a chat and a cup of tea. Anyone who has seen Jennifer at our Capalaba office will agree that she makes a good cup of tea and she is a good listener.

Jennifer’s approach to resolving complex legal situations extends beyond just having a chat and a cup of tea. She is a highly experienced Lawyer having practiced exclusively in the areas of family law and estate law for the past 8 years. Her experience is backed by formal qualifications of an Associate Degree in Law, a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and she is admitted to Practice in the High Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of Queensland. Some examples of matters that Jennifer has recently resolved include:

  • A complex will dispute where a parent left insufficient provision for two adult children with significant health needs.
  • A difficult parenting matter where two young children were left orphaned after their mother and father passed away and needed to be placed in the care of an aunt.
  • A complex property and spousal support settlement between a husband and wife which involved a business interest with a third party

Jennifer is a strong communicator and presenter and she has presented information sessions on various family law and estate law topics to community groups. She has also presented a webinar on technical aspects of estate law to other lawyers within the legal profession.

Linda Maitland

Special Counsel

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In the famous song written by the Cruel Sea some wise words are imparted ‘ Better get a lawyer…Better get a real good one. Your gonna need a good one to get you out of this one’. With Linda you can be sure that you have found a good lawyer, in fact she is a really good one. She is smart, savvy and an unwavering advocate for her clients. She is also incredibly caring and kind. In addition, as a mum of 4 she brings a practical and common sense approach to family law matters.

Linda has the qualifications to back up the claim that she is a really good lawyer. She holds a Law Degree and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from Bond University and she is admitted to practice in the High Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of Queensland. She has practised exclusively in family law since becoming a lawyer and is a member of the Queensland Law Society and the Family Law Practitioners Association.

Some of the matters that Linda has successfully resolved include:

  • A property settlement matter involving a challenge to the terms of a Binding Financial Agreement.
  • A complex parenting matter involving issues of international relocation.
  • A complicated property settlement matter requiring the split of an international pension fund.

Linda enjoys sharing her wealth of information and experience with other families through our community legal education and information sessions.

Laura Kennard


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According to a well-known quote “people who love and care for animals have some of the biggest hearts around,” Laura certainly has a big heart then, as she is a proud mumma to three fur babies, a rescue dog named Bambi and two cats named Rio and Arlo.
Laura’s natural ability for love and care extends not only to animals but also to everyone around her. She has a way of making people feel important and special and is always ready with a listening ear and a word of encouragement. This makes her a perfect fit for her role as Legal Secretary of our Burleigh Waters office.
In addition to her warm and caring personality Laura has extensive experience in customer service and office administration across a range of different industries. She has also previously worked in the health services field.
Laura has recently graduated from the Southern Cross University  with a Bachelor of Laws and is in the process of completing her Practical Legal Training through the College of Law.

Molly Jayan

Senior Associate

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Molly is a secret foodie. Despite having a stash of LCM bars in her drawer to keep her going through the workday, she has a gift for knowing where to find the best dishes for almost every type of cuisine. She can recommend exceptional dishes for all palettes, from the budget conscious through to the higher end.

Molly’s approach to helping clients with their family law matters shares a lot of similarities with her approach as a closet foodie. She knows how to bring the best service offering to her clients, sourcing and tailoring an offering that is what they are looking for and within their budget.

Molly is a bit like a ‘Michelin star restaurant’ in the family law field. She has all the qualifications and experience that make her a respected and admired practitioner by both clients and colleagues alike. Molly holds a Bachelor of Laws and is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Victoria and the High Court of Australia. She was also previously admitted as a lawyer and barrister to the Malaysian Bar, prior to moving to Australia. Molly skills are further enhanced by her national mediation accreditation through the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators and completion of the Parenting Coordinators Course. Molly’s previous international experience, combined with her ability to speak Malay, Bahasa, Indonesian and some Cantonese, and her inherent cultural sensitivity, further strengthen her qualifications.

Molly’s background and experience means that she regularly works on very complex family law matters. Some of the matters Molly has successfully resolved include:

  • A complex property settlement matter where one of the parties had numerous international companies, trusts and self managed super funds;
  • A property settlement matter where assets owned by a third party were included as part of the net property pool available for division between the spouses;
  • A parenting matter where a child had special needs and one parent was better placed to be primary carer due to those special needs.

By nature, Molly is caring and empathetic. She builds a strong rapport with her clients and understands the stress and difficulty associated with separation. Molly believes that resolution should be encouraged through negotiation, mediation and dispute resolution, however when this isn’t possible, Molly is tenacious and leads her clients through the family court process, in the most cost effective and timely manner possible.

Ryan Cropper

Managing Lawyer

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Ryan likes to whistle while he works. Some favourites on his play list are ‘Baby Shark’, if he has been listening to this with his daughter, while other times it is ‘That’s Life’ by Frank Sinatra.

According to the little known version of the folk song called ‘Whistle While You Work’ whistling is a wonderful way to bring joy and happiness to the workplace. “When there’s much to do, don’t let it bother you, forget your trouble, try to be, just like the cheerful chickadee, and whistle while you work.” Ryan’s friendly and good natured personality, in addition to his whistling, always brings such a warmth and care in his role as Lawyer.

To top it off Ryan’s intellect and growing knowledge adds to the depth of experience within our team. Ryan has completed a Bachelor of Laws from the Southern Cross University and has also completed his Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice through the College of Law. Ryan has been exclusively practising family law and estate law since his admission as a lawyer.

Ryan has a wide range of experience working on challenging family law and estate law matters, and some of the recent matters he has worked on include:

  • Obtaining an order for a parent to have sole parental responsibility and care of their daughter due to family violence concerns.
  • Contesting an application for a protection order and having the application withdrawn.
  • Securing an arrest warrant against a parent who failed to appear at Court after relocating interstate with the child.

      Chevy Panlilio

      Administrative Assistant

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      Chevy has an incurable case of Wanderlust.  She has travelled and spent time abroad in many exotic locations, her favourite location so far, being India. Her passion for travel stems from her love of meeting new people, tasing exotic foods and enjoying new experiences.

      Drawing on her travel experience, as well as her professional education and experience, which includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and four collective years working as an executive assistant, Chevy has a diverse skill set. Chevy is a part of administrative team and provides general administrative and accounts support within the team. She is also one of the friendly voices our clients hear when they call.

      Catherine Arriola

      Administrative Assistant

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      Catherine is a booklover and enjoys reading all kinds of books, from fiction to non-fiction. Two of her favourite titles are the Alchemist by Paul Coelho and Atomic Habits by James Clear. Cath’s avid reading, along with her Bachelor Degree in Political Science, and previous experience as a Paralegal, adds depth to our administrative team.

      Cath provides back of house support to our legal team and clients,  diligently preparing and organizing the many emails, documents and paperwork that is received at and sent from our office. Cath’s focus and attention to detail is appreciated by team members and clients alike.

      Alex Agulto

      Administrative Assistant and Marketing Coordinator

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      Alex is always bubbly, positive, and full of energy, mostly due to her natural personality, but sometimes enhanced by the coffee she loves to drink throughout the day. Alex loves a good cup of coffee (or 2 or 3 some days), and her favourite blend is an espresso macchiato.

      As part of our amazing administrative team, Alex brings not only her zest and caffeinated buzz to all that she does, but also her technical skills and experience. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, and extensive experience in customer service and marketing roles, Alex provides front line support responding to enquiries from clients and suppliers alike.

      With a full coffee cup at the ready Alex will not only answer your call and attend to what you need, but she will also leave you feeling more upbeat for the rest of the day.

      Sarah Stevens

      Legal Secretary

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      All of Sarah’s favourite things in life tend to start with the letter ‘f’; family, friends, fun, fashion and food! She has a particular knack for combining all these things together into a fabulous fusion.
      To top it off Sarah is also quite simply fantastic in her professional sphere.

      Sarah provides a friendly welcome to anyone who calls or drops into our office. She provides a listening ear to new clients who are looking for legal assistance and provides assistance responding to all other general enquiries.

      Sarah brings a particular finesse to everything that she does thanks to her education and previous experience. She is currently completing a course in Community Justice Services (Justice of the Peace [Qualified]) and has previous experience working in the areas of criminal law, conveyancing and wills and estates.

      Maxine Mohammed

      Corporate Specialist - Finance

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      Maxine enjoys art, particularly the visual arts. One of her favourite artists is Mall Licudine, appreciating the layered details and creative themes of her masterpieces.

      The approach that Maxine brings to her work as our Corporate Specialist of Finance shares many similarities with her favoured artist, encompassing both a high level of detail and a flair of creativity.  

      Maxine studied at the Queensland University of Technology and graduated with a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) and through this study developed her strong technical skills and a keen eye for detail. She also holds a Graduate Diploma in Education and is registered with the Queensland College of Teachers, and thanks to her outside work with children Maxine brings a solid theoretical understanding of working with families in a community setting. Maxine’s blend of corporate and community perspectives make her the perfect fit for all the work that is done at our New Way Lawyers Corporate Office. 

      Joanne Auyeung

      Managing Lawyer (Corporate Services)

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      Joanne brings methodical wisdom and extensive expertise to the corporate team. Having been with New Way Lawyers for over 6 years, Joanne has worked in most aspects of the firm.  A lawyer, Joanne brings a rich wealth of family law knowledge and oversees client care, projects and supports the New Way team to provide quality services to our community. Passionate about providing compassionate, empathetic and accessible services, Joanne’s caring nature is felt by the team and clients alike. 

      Angie Herranz

      Client Care Chaplain

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      There are lots of things we could tell you about Angie, or words that we could use to describe her, but quite simply we only need one word (okay let’s go with two). She is ‘truly amazing’. Everyone who meets Angie attests to this.

      Angie is our Client Care Chaplain, and she is incredibly experienced in helping people who are journeying through the difficult process of separation and divorce. Having worked as a Chaplain for over a decade in a variety of settings she has a wealth of knowledge, allowing her to connect people with the practical support and services they need. But most of all she provides a listening ear and space for our clients to share the ups and downs of what they are experiencing. Angie is always ready to empathise but also offer hope and encouragement.