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Stacks times E D I INS S I H T : E U ISS

Beyond the law - see what our people get up to outside their working lives >>>


branches out

Stacks/Business is branching out this year, offering more complete and wide ranging legal and business services to its clients.

Stacks chairman Maurie Stack said Stacks/ Business will become a major venture for the group, operating out of the regional offices of Stacks/The Law Firm, but drawing on commercial law expertise across the firm. “The advantage Stacks has is that there are highly skilled lawyers experienced in many aspects of commercial law across the 22 offices of Stacks/The Law Firm,” Mr Stack said. “Every lawyer in the Stacks group can call on this expertise to help meet the needs of each individual client. Costs for the client are also kept down because Stacks law offices are largely based in regional centres and don’t have big city rents and costs. “Stacks/Business will become a one stop shop for business clients aimed at improving how their business is run, securing their business and personal assets, planning for future growth and ensuring they are not vulnerable to unforeseen events. “At a recent meeting of the Directors of Stacks/ Business we focused on using our combined experience to develop a presentation for businesses containing three modules: Business Audit, Business Growth and Asset Protection.

“Tony Mitchell is drawing all these ideas into a background paper including a PowerPoint presentation. Our plan is to make presentations to businesses in their work place and combined public presentations with local accountants, financial planners and the like.” Stacks/Business has already won several contracts to work with clients such as Homeworld providing legal advice on commercial law as it applies to their particular business. “Every client has their own particular situation and concerns, their own history and structure. We tailor our assistance for each individual client through local knowledge gleaned from years working in their community.” Mr Stack said the first step for Stacks/Business as it branches out is to provide a fresh business audit for its clients.

“We approach a business audit from a legal point of view. Every business has a series of contracts with their suppliers and their customers. Many businesses do that without the involvement of a lawyer and they go along thinking everything is OK. But they may not realise that there are pitfalls and legal loopholes which could hurt them. “For instance, one thing many people don’t think about when selling a product is to have a provision inserted that you have a title to the goods until they are paid for. “The advantage of that is that if your customer goes belly up, you can retrieve your goods. They are yours until they are paid for. Otherwise people have been left with a big bill and nobody to pay it. “It’s matters like this that business people might not think of as they are drawing up contracts. A legal mind could spot that and save them a lot of pain.”


Maurie Stack with Frank Death of Homeworld | Tony Mitchell, Director Mr Stack said many business people use the same entity to hold all their assets such as their business premises, vehicles, bank accounts and their own home. “This can be structured differently to protect the client’s personal assets and family should the business get into trouble. The business audit is aimed at making sure a client’s business arrangement is legally efficient and safe. “The second focus for new clients is on business growth, talking with them about their vision for their business over the next five to ten years. “We sit down with them and go over where they are taking their business, their opportunities for growth and expansion and examine whether the legal structure they have now will be the appropriate structure as they grow and expand.

“We look at whether a client needs to protect themselves better as they grow. “For instance there might be an advantage in moving from a partnership to a corporate structure. It could be worth looking at setting up a trust for yourself, your family and your firm. We ask about the value of protecting your family assets from debts your business might incur. Many people don’t notice this sort of danger. “I’ve found from going into someone’s business, sitting down with them and talking about how they’re structured and their own personal assets that there are a whole lot of legal issues they hadn’t realised might be a problem.” Mr Stack said there will be a focus on expanding Stack/Business throughout 2012 through advertising, brochures and improvements to the Stacks/Business website.


bEYOND THE lAW...sTACKS PE Pedalling before the law

Family law expert Lesley Young is an enthusiastic member of her local Blue Mountains Rural Fire Service.

Rain, hail or shine, at the crack of dawn Jake Magee climbs on his racing bicycle and cycles more than 150km before heading into his job in office administration at the Goulburn office of Stacks/The Law Firm.

Most weekends she’s out of her hard working Pitt Street law office getting her hands dirty preparing to fight bush fires, undergoing training or meeting other local emergencies. “I love it. It’s great to be able to do something for the local community and it’s a great social life with the other people in our isolated little mountain village. “I’ve met other lawyers and even judges while out fighting fires.” Lesley has lost her own home to fire and knows the devastation it brings.

Jake is a serious up and coming cyclist and we hope to hear big things about him in the coming years. In his first year with the 11 man team GPM Wilson Racing, they finished second in the 2011 National Road Series.

“I joined up almost immediately after that fire. I’ve been involved in fighting just about every bush fire in the Blue Mountains ever since.”

Lawyer Mark Howard, also a keen cyclist, met Jake while on a ride and offered him a job in the Stacks office to help him out. “I’m really grateful to Mark as the admin job starts in the afternoon which allows me to train all morning,” Jake said. Mark hopes Jake’s job with Stacks will help him live up to his potential in cycling. “Jake is doing a great job promoting Stacks in Goulburn and in the cycling community where he is recognised as one of the most promising riders,” Mark said. Jake, 25, is Goulburn born and bred. He came to cycling after trying motor cycling but he loves the relentless physical testing of muscle power in road cycling.


Jake Magee leads the pack

“Cadel Evans winning the 2011 Tour de France for Australia has been a huge inspiration for me. I hope to get to that level over the next few years.”

“We did 150 km on our last ride together,” Jake said. “He’s pretty good. And it looks like others in the Goulburn office are going to join us in the saddle real soon.”

Jake covers up to 800 km a week in his rigorous training schedule. Several mornings a week he does the two and a half hour ride from Goulburn to Canberra, around Lake Burley Griffin and back before he goes to work.

Jake is helping Mark fulfil his dream of success in the masters division.

Lesley Young, MD of Stacks/Family Law

“Jake’s advice and training was key to me winning the B Grade club summer championships in Goulburn, which means I go up to A Grade this winter,” Mark said.

Payback Time

Mark Howard is no slouch on the pedals either, frequently going on weekend training rides with Jake.



Lawyer Michael Laurence is a keen explorer of deserts. For 40 years he’s been packing his swag into his rugged 4 wheel drive and heading into the Outback. “I love the desert. It gives you time to think. I like the challenge, the ability to survive in the wilderness.” Michael was born on a farm in South Africa and came to Australia when he was just four. “I remember finding wonderful rock paintings on our farm and I love seeing ancient art in the deserts. I travelled widely with my family when I was young and was fascinated by Aboriginal rock art and artefacts.”

On top of her growing work in property law, Rebecca Chandler of the Bowral office will spend the next 12 months training as a volunteer counsellor for the Australian Breastfeeding Association. “I ran into a few problems nursing my own baby last year and they were a great help to me. So I decided this was a way to pay them back and help mothers who run into similar difficulties,” she said. After her training is complete, Rebecca will become a volunteer on the hotline and email service that answers nursing mothers’ questions. “It’s not only about breastfeeding. Mothers often need help and reassurance from someone who has been through the stresses and strains of motherhood themselves.” As if that isn’t enough, Rebecca is also renovating a cottage in Moss Vale for her family and her menagerie of dogs, fish and lizards, and in her spare time plays soccer in the Southern Highlands women’s league.

Michael has travelled overland from London to Capetown and driven through the desert backblocks from Perth to Sydney.

Michael Laurence, MD at the Forster office - holding Aboriginal artefact

“I’d heard of ancient rock art in a remote part of Libya and two years ago managed to get a permit to go there. It was fantastic seeing ancient paintings of Roman chariots and elephants carved into the walls of a cave.”

Rebecca Chandler, Senior Paralegal in Bowral


EOPLE OUTSIDE THE LAW OFFICE Jodie Baker Surfboat Captain

BMX Bandit

DRIFTING AROUND You’re speeding towards a corner, you spin the wheel the opposite way to the corner then steer back, kick the clutch to harshly disengage and reenengage the gears, then hit the accelerator hard so your rear wheels slip. You hit the accelerator hard to keep the wheels spinning, sending the car sideways. As you slide around the corner the back wheels are spinning, the car is sliding on an angle and you drift around the corner with wheels smoking. Hopefully you are in control of being out of control. This is what Linda McCarthy, conveyancing clerk in the Leura office, does for fun. It’s called drifting and must only be done on accredited racetracks under proper supervision. “It’s a huge adrenalin rush and you get an enormous sense of pride mastering the skills to drift well.” Linda is one of the few women who drift. She insists it’s not as dangerous as it sounds and is well controlled for safety. Her grandmother is Jack Brabham’s cousin so speed is in her blood. Now her son has just got his Ls and he’s interested in drifting, once he’s mastered going around corners the conventional way.

Melissa Chambers Accounts Manager at the Forster office

Stacks Forster’s accounts manager Melissa Chambers was so fed up watching her young twin sons having fun on BMX bikes she decided to join them. Two years ago, when her boys started school and most mums relish a break, Melissa took up BMX racing – rough dirt bike riding with her long hair streaming from under her helmet. “The twins – they’re seven now – were having such a good time I thought they couldn’t have it all to themselves.” Melissa has become a real speedster and master tactician and is winning races in her open age group.

(Photo: Matthew Mead Photography)

Jodie Baker (front right) captain of her crew - a solicitor at Stacks/Goudkamp

Jodie Baker captains her surfboat at third from the bow, rocketing through the waves just as she is a rising young lawyer at Stacks/Goudkamp.

fearless in our surfboat. A simple mistake or hesitation could turn the boat over causing injury or worse.

For eight years Jodie crashed through waves rowing at local, regional, State and National Surf Life Saving Australia competitions. Hailing from Port Macquarie, Jodie has been a lifelong devotee of Surf Life Saving and loves the challenge of going out in big surf.

“I love the thrills and spills of surfboats. In a funny way the surf experience has been a huge help in my work as a lawyer. I develop trust with my colleagues and we work as a team. I fight for my clients until the end and never give up even when the going gets tough. I love to win!”

“Surf boats require a lot of concentration, impeccable technique, timing, team work and sheer guts. I’m proud to say we ladies were

As if that’s not enough punishment, Jodie’s now building up to compete in Iron Man and marathon events later this year.


When Linda Stafford wraps up her work at Stacks in Forster she likes nothing better than riding her horse Grey with her daughter Emma on her horse Zephyr.

“This is a great place for riding with bush trails and the long Diamond Beach letting the horses splash through the edge of the surf.”

Linda Stafford, Conveyancing Clerk in the Forster office

Linda McCarthy, Conveyancing Clerk in the Blue Mountains office

Rita Fisher - PHOTO SAFARI

Rita’s expedition in Sarawak (Photo: Fisher Fine Art Photography)

When Rita Fisher isn’t running her successful Blue Mountains law offices she goes on expeditions to far flung places, acting as assistant to her photographer husband Rob who specialises in panoramic photography. “It’s real adventure to lock up the office and head off to some remote and strange part of the world, lugging photo equipment as Rob’s ‘Girl Friday’.” “We were in Sarawak staying in a remote native longhouse, sharing a large room with several family members and visitors from nearby villages.

“I knocked my head on something and looked up to see a string bag containing half a dozen skulls. They were from beheaded enemies of the next tribe. “An old man had tattoos of six stars on the back of his hand showing he had killed six men. We smiled and were very nice to him as he worked on a piece of wood with a very sharp chisel.” Rita recalls crossing rickety rope bridges across deep chasms, all in the name of finding the perfect photo. She’s also learned to blow poison darts through a blowpipe, something that might prove useful as she fights for her clients.



Nathan Luke with the Bundjalung Tribal Society

One of the great personal rewards Nathan Luke has found since he moved from Sydney to set up an office of Stacks/The Law Firm in Ballina has been helping the Bundjalung Tribal Society in Lismore. The relationship started off in a small way in 2008 when the Society asked Nathan to provide legal advice on a problem they had that was getting some adverse publicity in the local media. Nathan gave them some wise and practical advice that quickly resolved the problem. Since then Nathan has worked closely with the Bundjalung Tribal Society and the Aboriginal group has gone from strength to strength. The Society manages local Aboriginal Community Housing and Nathan assisted the Society to do what was necessary to become a modern and well-run organisation and achieve great success for their community. Working closely with the Society’s manager Karen Bradshaw, Nathan helped them to pass



requirements to achieve their government PARS registration – the Provider Assessment and Registration System. This opens doors to more assistance providing housing services to Aboriginal communities. Bundjalung is set to become one of the biggest charitable housing providers in regional NSW. “It’s been fascinating for me to be involved in this process. It’s been really rewarding personally and they have become one of my surprise great clients.” Nathan, his lawyer wife Kym and their young family did the ‘seachange’ in 2007 and left big city law offices to set up a law office with Stacks in Ballina. They have both relished the expansion of the type of legal work they now do. “Working with the Bundjalung people has been one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in my legal career and it’s something I could never have done if I’d stayed working in the city,” Nathan said.

New Macquarie Street Law Clerk

Ruth Hudson appears on ABC NEWS, 15 March 2012

Ruth Hudson appeared on ABC TV 7pm news on March 15 explaining the blow to the Australian nuclear veterans delivered in the UK Supreme Court. The British court ruled too much time had passed to allow the veterans to bring a class action against the UK Ministry of Defence over their exposure to radiation in the 1950s nuclear tests in the Australian Outback.

It was a serious blow to the hopes of the 320 Australian nuclear veterans being represented by Stacks/Goudkamp. Michael Giles conducted several media interviews during the day saying Stacks was still searching for a way to continue the fight for justice, despite the UK court decision that was narrowly lost 4 to 3.

Hatches, Matches & Milestones From recent times... CONGRATULATIONS! ◊◊ Nadine Luck, happy new mother to Nelson. ◊◊ Kelly Meagher and baby James, born in March. ◊◊ In Bangkok, Fiona Webster had baby Hamish. ◊◊ Melinda Tubbs had a baby girl, Zali. ◊◊ Megan Grainger braved the Stacks Summit with new baby Caitlyn. Paul Coulter in Chile before joining Stacks

Paul Coulter is the new law clerk at Stacks in Macquarie Street, eager to help all regional Stacks offices with filing documents at court, instructing counsel, appearance work and running papers and messages that need doing in Sydney. Paul, 23, hails from Dorset in England, and comes to Stacks after surviving earthquakes in Chile and a history degree at University College, London.

degree via the wonder of the internet with his university in London. He can see the lecturer’s board in London and speaks with the class live over computer. “The students are scattered all over the world. I am online with law students sitting in South Africa, Singapore, India and many other places. The good thing is Stacks is really into technology and in future lots of universities and legal work will be done this way.

“I was researching human rights in Chile in 2010 when the earthquake hit. It was terrifying but I pitched in with other students to help build shelters and running food supplies to the worst hit areas.”

“The only problem is they stick to British time and my lectures often don’t start until midnight.”

Now he’s a law clerk by day, law student by night. Paul has won a scholarship to do a law

“But I love Australia and I’m already working out how I can come back.”

Paul plans on working in Sydney for the next two years but will have to return to London in 2014 to finish his law degree.

◊◊ In February, Kristan Harmer married her childhood sweetheart Brett.

MILESTONES! • Yvonne Corkery celebrated 25 years service with Stacks in Forster on March 25. • After getting a French law degree, a Masters in European Law, Cali Baldwin of Stacks/Goudkamp has passed her LPAB course and by August should be a practising lawyer. • Alex Kuczerawy of Stacks/Goudkamp expects to finish her College of Law studies and be admitted in June. • Guy Harris expects to be admitted in August. • Tom Goudkamp’s daughter Jackie graduated with a medical degree from Flinders University over summer. Tom is now the proud father of two doctors – his son James has a PhD in law from Oxford.


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The Stacks Times: Autumn 2012  

Read up on new Stacks/Business initiatives and see what our people get up to in their local communities.

The Stacks Times: Autumn 2012  

Read up on new Stacks/Business initiatives and see what our people get up to in their local communities.