May 31, 2024
Doyle's Guide

Editorial Commentary – ACT Family Law, 2014

Market Overview

The ACT family law market is dominated by the sizeable specialist family law firms Dobinson Davey Clifford Simpson Lawyers and Farrar Gesini & Dunn.  In terms of quality, size and depth of expertise no other firm is able to match these two. 

The market’s small size sees our list of recommended firms and practitioners being relatively short and, as the case in other Australian states, usually confined to specialist family law firms rather than the larger full-service commercial law firms.   The band of ACT-based specialist family law firms also provide clients with a wide range of choices in firm style and pricing.

The ACT is also one of the few markets that continues to actively embrace the collaborative law process.  While in the majority of other Australian states practitioners now see collaborative law as trend that has passed or only is now only used on a small number of occasions. 

Firm Capabilities

Dobinson Davey Clifford Simpson are the most widely favoured family law team in the ACT with a reputation for being “hard but fair”.  Philip Davey was “very good on property matters”  and market leader Di Simpson was widely noted for her “quick mind” and “strong advocacy skills”.  Rising star Sally McGuinness was also noted.

Farrar Gesini & Dunn’s work in the area of collaborative law was regularly noted and, in this regard Juliette Ford was viewed as “practical and straight-forward” while Averil Foster is “really starting to make an impact”.   Senior Partner Denis Farrar is widely respected with one peer commenting “nobody would have as much experience on high profile matters as him”.

Certus Law’s Robert Routh is seen as “effective” and “very reasonable and doesn’t labour unnecessary points.”

The contrasting styles of Elringtons’ Carlos Turini and Kevin Robinson placed them as the strongest of the family law practices residing in commercial law firms. 

Mazengarb Family Lawyers have developed a reputation for forceful and assertive representation with Senior Partner Geoffrey Mazngarb labelled a “straight shooter”.

Phelps Reid’s Margaret Reid is one of the ACT market’s most senior and respected family lawyers and viewed as “very resolution focussed”.  Rising star Brooke Crompton was also noted.

Capon & Hubert’s Ken Hubert was seen as a “true gentleman” and “delightful to work with”.

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